Posted on 05-14-2020.
Writing about crypto-themed documentaries is a relatively rare occasion. Most of them, however, obviously focus on Bitcoin, which is arguably the easiest target for research. Still, if you compare the number of documentaries on Bitcoin with the number of documentaries on the Nazis, it will become very clear that even 80 years later the ominous regime in Germany evokes much greater interest in the general public than cryptocurrency. With that in mind, it should be at least somehow pleasurable to a crypto-enthusiast that a documentary on cryptocurrency made it to the shortlist of Raw Science Movie festival in the U.S. Not Academy Awards, yes, but not the Honorary Mention Festival in Mongolia either. https://vimeo.com/ondemand/cryptorushmovie/408839328 The documentary in question is Crypto Rush is produced and directed by Liliana Petrenava from Russia. But, I have to warn you, having watched it, I was left with a somehow ambiguous feeling. As a post-feminist and a person who dwelled in the Russian city of St. Petersburg for years, I am sincerely happy for her. She has made a solid effort along with her team and produced a solid result. Knowing first-hand what a pain in the ass it is to put a giant project together, I do applaud her. But as an artistic person, being an experienced writer and musician, I was left with a longing for more. Anyway, what is this movie all about? The director-slash-protagonist, Liliana Petrenava, travels the world, from Russia to the U.S. to Switzerland to China to South Korea, to unfold the history of the crypto-revolution as it’s being made while pointing out the bitcoin price at the given moment. She meets different people, asks interesting questions, and shows the difference between the realities where the new crypto-entrepreneurs of different sorts have to exist, and to which they must adjust in order to survive. That is plainly awesome. So, let’s start with what’s really good about Crypto Rush. First of all, it’s one of those cases when you can show a documentary to your fellow whose knowledge about cryptocurrency amounts to the same grade as Jon Snow’s, and make them interested. Enticing your former classmate into investing in Ethereum has never been that easy, and I’m no kidding. It might be too much to process for your grand-dad, though, if his experience with computers has never gone beyond posting excruciatingly embarrassing fake quotes on Facebook. But a former classmate is almost a safe bet. Secondly, even if you have found out about cryptocurrency long before the schizoid rush of 2017, this documentary can make you feel legit nostalgic without any viewer’s remorse. It would be a view of a seasoned bastard recalling how young and naïve he or she was just three goddamn years ago. That being said, there is one huge problem with Crypto Rush. I saw some people who watched it questioning the selection of speakers, some of whom have gone bankrupt like David Carlson, and some others even passing to a better world like Toni Casserly. And that, come to think of it, is quite a realistic depiction of what 2017 looked like in crypto. The film, in some sense, depicts the madness of 2017 in its crazed primordial beauty, and that’s definitely a massive positive side to it. The real problem is that the film seems to have no focal point. It has no backbone that could serve as a foundation for the events depicted therein. Is it a documentary about mining? Yes. Is it a documentary about crypto-industry in China? Also yes. Is it a documentary about the problems women have to face in the crypto-world? Yes again. Each of those topics could have made a solid central idea for a standalone documentary. And I would have watched every single one of them. Each of those topics honestly deserves very serious and scrupulous research. Each of them could provide very valuable insight into the inner workings of the nascent crypto-industry. Each of them has a social significance, especially when it comes to the women’s role in crypto. Still, all you get after watching the entire film is a series of snapshots from around the world that tell very different stories. Stories that don’t seem to relate to each other within the conceptual fabric of the film. They might be very interesting on their own, but in that case, all of them look poignantly underdeveloped. So, in the end, Crypto Rush is very good as an itinerary. It’s very suitable for seducing your former classmates into making a crypto-investment. It’s a very valuable document depicting the crypto-craziness reaching the gold-rush scale, to which, I assume, the title refers. It is a very lifelike snapshot and a valuable historical document that, I think, future generations of filmmakers and historians will have to watch to make their understanding of 2017 more complete. But, and it pains me to say so, the film as a whole fails to deliver a solid idea, which, I am sure, the director had in mind. After watching Crypto Rush, you are left wondering what they actually intended to say. What they actually said is like, there is a nascent crypto-industry, and here are some people involved in it. And that’s it. The film ends with the protagonist/director selling her share in the ETH mining rig. After that, it points out that the Bitcoin price at the time is ‘whatever.’ And that, likely, is the most honest depiction of what the general public felt about cryptocurrency at the time. The director included, as it seems. So, after all, should you watch it? If you’re dying to have your ex-classmate neck-deep in crypto, yes. If you want to see how high hopes and aspirations came to face the harsh reality, yes. If you want to get a quick glimpse of what the crypto-industry was like when its promise seemed invincible, yes again. If you want to understand what the crypto-industry actually is, no. Written by Jenny Aysgarth Editor-in-chief at forklog.media Follow us on Twitter and Facebook and join our Telegram channel to know what’s up with crypto and why it’s important.