Banking on Bitcoin, a new documentary on bitcoin and all the social, economic and political questions it raises, will be released on January 6th, 2017. We had the opportunity to interview Christopher Cannucciari, the producer of this documentary. This is certainly one of the most interesting interviews we have conducted here at Bitcoin Chaser, so we hope you enjoy it as much as we did.
The Interview With Cristopher Cannucciari
Bitcoin Chaser: What inspired you to produce Banking on Bitcoin? What kind of goal did you have in mind with this movie?
Christopher Cannucciari: I was first “wowed” by the idea of money being used in a novel and very un-money sort of way during my time filming of a documentary in Kenya. It was in 2008 and the country was in chaos due to political upheaval. Banks were closed and people had no way of getting money from one place to another. Out of the chaos there was this grassroots idea of trading phone credits to pay for everything from bread to your electric bill. The idea had been around for a few years prior, but it really took off when the need arose. Kenyan telecom took notice of this and co-opted the technology for their own profit. After that experience I was on the lookout for something as big to happen worldwide. With the rise of Bitcoin in 2013 I wanted to see if Bitcoin would be allowed to flourish on its own or if it would be regulated away or co-opted into a pre-existing institution.
Bitcoin Chaser: From the trailer we get the notion that you are exploring the bitcoin phenomenon from the currency/accounting perspective. Why do you think bitcoin is a currency?
Christopher Cannucciari: Bitcoin is much more than just a currency.
Beyond Banking on Bitcoin
Bitcoin Chaser: Do you think bitcoin should be seen as a commodity rather than a currency? Why?
Christopher Cannucciari: That’s not really up to me. Yes it can be substituted with other currencies and yes its limited quantity makes it possible to be commodity like. Obviously if you are looking at it from the outside the easiest way to peg it is against what is most familiar. That you can put a dollar amount on a Bitcoin helps most people become interested. The other layers take more time to discover. BANKING ON BITCOIN uses this idea as a primer to open up the bigger questions.
Bitcoin Chaser: How do you think that the interests of the different groups within that improbable coalition of contrarians, libertarians, VCs and programmers will affect the future of bitcoin?
Christopher Cannucciari: That’s a great point. Cryptocurrency wasn’t invented with Bitcoin. The Cypherpunks and Chaum before them have been working on Cryptocurrency since the early 80’s. It has taken a confluence of events, technologies and disparate groups to come together to make Bitcoin what it has become.
Regulation and Anonymity
Bitcoin Chaser: The trailer also touches upon the whole idea of unregulated markets. What do you think bitcoin or cryptocurrency regulation should look like?
Christopher Cannucciari: I truly believe that people fear what they don’t understand and it can become easy to manipulate opinions early in the life of a new technology. Mainstream use and even awareness of Cryptocurrency is still in its infancy, so regulatory measures will just slow Bitcoin’s inevitable growth, not change its ultimate outcome. Money and its regulation have historically been contentious and the Blockchain, unfortunately, can’t change human nature.
Bitcoin Chaser: Given the advantages of cash – anonymity and untraceable transactions – how will bitcoin fare in a world in which people are increasingly aware of the data traces they leave behind?
Christopher Cannucciari: We chatted about this throughout the filming. I went so far as to interview the brilliant Economist, Kenneth Rogoff who wrote a book on the subject “The Curse of Cash.” He makes a very strong argument for a cashless economy, but I feel this can really only work as a hypothetical. There will always be a demand for a cash-like token. Unfortunately we didn’t have enough space in the movie for this discussion, but I agree it’s a strong part of the Bitcoin story.
The Future of Bitcoin and Cash
Bitcoin Chaser: Do you think that governments will use blockchain technology to make countries go cashless?
Christopher Cannucciari: That could surely happen. To what extent, would be interesting to see.
Bitcoin Chaser: How successful do you think the bitcoin experiment is right now?
Christopher Cannucciari: I’d say it’s very successful. We’re still talking about it and it still attracts brilliant minds despite the many storms it has weathered.
Bitcoin Chaser: How do you think the world of bitcoin will look ten years from now?
Christopher Cannucciari: Good question. I really don’t have any clue. Maybe it’ll be the official currency of the Moon?
Bitcoin Chaser: How do you think bitcoin will change art and culture?
Christopher Cannucciari: Bitcoin is a powerful new technology. Artists have always been attracted to new technologies and pushing them beyond their intended uses.
How can I watch Banking on Bitcoin?
Users will be able to buy Banking on Bitcoin in the US, Canada, UK, Australia and Ireland through iTunes. In the rest of the world, users will be able to use Vimeo to purchase the movie, and Amazon will also be selling it in the UK. The movie will come with appropriate subtitles for all the other countries around the world.