Over the last few years, cryptocurrencies have been a hot topic. And while Bitcoin tends to dominate most conversations on the subject, there is so much more to this technology than cryptocurrency alone.
Blockchain technology, which is the medium through which Bitcoin and others cryptocurrencies are sent and received is changing the world. From decentralizing art ownership to rebuilding foreign economies, blockchain’s potential is endless. One of the more surprising industries Bitcoin is shaking up is the film industry.
Until recently, unless you had the right contacts or an overflowing wallet, financing something as expensive as a film or television series was nearly impossible. While the entire “indie” film genre typically meant lower-budget films, even those budgets were more than the average person can afford.
But the crypto space has allowed for new opportunities to raise capital, which means more artists and entrepreneurs are able to fund projects they are passionate about. And, more importantly, they are able to fund projects with strong themes of individualism, economic liberty, and decentralization, something not seen often in Hollywood.
As Forbes explains:
“What does this mean for those trying to raise capital? It means the landscape has completely changed. In 2017 VCs raised a total of $200 million dollars in capital for blockchain and crypto technology. ICOs (initial coin offerings), which are a new vehicle for raising investment capital using tokens and cryptocurrency, raised $3.8 billion total. This freeing of the capital markets created a $3.6 billion increase in the amount of money raised. The effects of this spread across all industries. One sector in which it could really be a game changer is entertainment.”
Being able to fund Hollywood films may not seem like a high priority for many. But the implications are far-reaching. Whether we like it or not, pop culture plays a huge role in our lives. The content we consume by watching films or television shows impacts our worldview in a way that other forms of content may not. When we watch a film or series we are transformed into another world where we are almost entirely engrossed in the character’s hero’s journey. We experience each triumph and failure right alongside the characters on the screen. Sometimes the scenes portrayed are so powerful, we are encouraged to enact some sort of change in our own lives. That is the power of art.
While one may learn more concrete knowledge from an economic textbook, few people seek out economic texts for pleasure. But almost everyone consumes media of some sort. And unfortunately for those who favor more of a decentralized, individualistic view of the world, Hollywood films seem to have an agenda that is often incompatible with individual liberty.
The Power of the Purse
Having the “power of the purse” yields a lot of control over the subject matter portrayed in films and television series. For example, Hollywood’s anti-individualistic tendencies mean that many films coming out are biased and molded to further an agenda. While everyone has an agenda of their own, it is always good to be able to combat ideas with alternative ideas. But when only one side has the power to fund these projects, only one side gets heard. But now that cryptocurrencies are presenting new ways to raise money, this is changing.
The forthcoming series, Hardfork is unlike any other series around today. Set in a dystopian future, the series incorporates blockchain and cryptocurrencies into its storyline. The series tells the story of a radical group of rebels who utilize blockchain technology in order to hack the powers that be in order to bring the entire system down. But its content alone isn’t what makes it so spectacular. Hardfork is also the first series whose funding is being raised solely in cryptocurrency.
Utilizing the Steemit.com, a crypto-backed platform for artists of all varieties to share their work, the producers began raising the funds for HardFork. After raising 30k, the producers used a portion of those funds to create a teaser to share in order to build hype for the project. After the first teaser debuted in Portugal last year, the project gained a significant following. From that point on the momentum began to build.
As the series’ director told Forbes:
“We met people in Lisbon who had been following the HardFork series for months and were just as excited about it as we were. This new fundraising vehicle allowed us to create an audience around the project as we were raising capital. That’s ultimately what distributors want to see, that you have an in-built audience. So it was really a win-win for us.”
All this buzz resulted in the cryptocurrency team from DASH contributing almost a million dollars to the HardFork project. So, not only is this project able to utilize crowdsourcing among the crypto community, but they are also able to further their message of decentralization and individualism. A rare concept to be portrayed on a mainstream show.
Eric Vance Walton, the co-creator of the project said, “There’s no reason this funding model couldn’t be adapted to work for any creative project, whether it be music, a major motion picture or even theater.”But the funding is, of course, only one component. The show is actually using its platform to teach viewers the seemingly complex details of blockchain technology. As Walton continued:
“It seems the main barrier to adoption is understanding. The HardFork series is providing an example for others to follow and raising awareness about the fascinating technological advances in this space, while aiming to bring down those barriers in a fun and engaging way.”
We are still in the very early years of blockchain technology and already it is having an enormous impact on the way information is spread and how projects are able to be funded. One can only imagine what the future holds.