COIN chronicles the rise of a visionary founder in crypto who harnesses the power of an emerging technology to promote a mission of global economic freedom. Available now to rent or buy on all major platforms!
In January, 2013, my teenage son, Cameron, introduced me to a new form of digital internet money he discovered while surfing Reddit. It was called Bitcoin. Cameron had used some of his savings to buy one Bitcoin for $367.51. And he wanted to share a few bits with me.
Despite thinking Bitcoin was just another of Cameron’s crazy Reddit discoveries, I took an interest. Not because I cared about Bitcoin, because I cared about my son. His attempts at explaining digital wallets and block chains made my head hurt. But, we were connecting, and that’s what mattered.
So, we sat down at our kitchen table to download a wallet from the app store onto my iPhone. “Download that one,” he said. “It's the easiest.” So, I did, and moments later, a tiny fraction of a Bitcoin appeared in my wallet. I closed the app, and never opened it again.
Fast-forward to 2019, when I learned that Brian Armstrong, the co-founder of Coinbase, had seen my documentary, AlphaGo, and wondered if I’d be interested in making a film about cryptocurrency. I could focus on any aspect I wanted and would have final cut.
First thing I did was search my iPhone for the digital wallet Cameron had helped me download years earlier. Sure enough, it was Coinbase! And it still contained my bits!
My next instinct was exactly the same as when Cameron shared those bits with me: This film could be another opportunity to connect with my son, who had since sprouted into a beautiful, philosophical, Pit-Viper-wearing, grown-ass, young man. I thought, How cool would it be to make a film about cryptocurrency that Cam could’ve shared with me years earlier? In other words, a crypto film even your parents could understand.
So, I dove deep into my research to unearth an unexpected cryptocurrency story, one with humanity, with soulfulness. But the only stories I came across dealt with crypto scammers or speculators driving Lambos. Neither had the heart I was looking for.
But then I thought of my first conversation with Brian Armstrong, when I was considering embarking on the crypto film journey. During my brief phone conversation with Brian, I confirmed the creative terms. “If I make a film about crypto, it can be about any crypto-related topic I want.” “Yes,” Brian said. “And I’ll get final cut.” “Yup,” he said. “And you’ll introduce me to your parents,” to which Brian replied, “What?”
See, if I was to make a crypto film, it had to have humanity. I began to think about Sergei and Larry building Google in a garage, and Jobs in the early days of Apple, and how incredible it would be to have been a fly on the wall, documenting those origin stories with unvarnished, real-as-dirt humanity.
I soon found myself at the kitchen table of Brian’s childhood home with his parents for the first COIN interview. And from there onward, I was fortunate to interview a variety of contributors, with clear and compelling perspectives on crypto, from the worlds of business, technology, human rights, hip-hop, finance, and architecture.
I am grateful for my son Grayson’s cinematography, as showcased in the film’s climactic scene at the Goldman Sachs trading desk, my daughter Sophie’s advice on how not to sound like a “dad” when interviewing Nas, my wife Andrea’s patience for three years, listening to me workshop ways to explain this complicated technology to a general audience, and of course Cameron’s crypto curiosity.
Hopefully, a crypto film now exists that even our parents can understand.