This isn’t quite a review of The Rise and Rise of Bitcoin, because I’ve already done a capsule review of the documentary, back during this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, for Movies.com. Since then, I’ve also summed up what I like about it in a list of the best documentaries about the Internet. Yet given the negative take from Dan Schindel here at Nonfics, I wanted to reiterate my positive appraisal. First, here is the original criticism from Movies.com:
If you’re one of the hundreds of millions who still don’t know exactly what bitcoin is, even if you’ve heard of it but don’t know the details, this documentary by Nicholas Mross is a necessary introduction. What’s great about the film is that it’s not simply an informative look at the digital currency. Mross is there with miners, investors, traders, regulators, merchants and more involved with bitcoins from the beginning, having benefited by the fact that his brother was one of those on board early. And unlike a lot of docs of this sort, this one has really defined narratives for most of its characters. It’s not necessarily an open and closed story, as bitcoin isn’t dead, but it’s pretty close. Imagine if someone had been there making a documentary on Tim Berners-Lee before the world became familiar with the World Wide Web or on Mark Zuckerberg when he was first developing Facebook. Thanks to Mross’s film, which will prove to be a really valuable historical artifact one day, we’ll never need the bitcoin version of The Social Network.
And now here is what I wrote for the Internet docs list:
Most documentarians would love to be on top of a story as early as director Nicholas Mross was for the start of bitcoin. Fortunately, he was kinda just making a film about his brother, who got in on the craze early as a “miner.” The filmmaker wound up exploring the digital currency deeper over the course of its first big year, coming across other substantial characters and narratives that can properly go down in history thanks to this doc. I’ve compared it to the idea of having a film chronicling, first-hand, Tim Berners-Lee at the start of the World Wide Web or Mark Zuckerberg during the beginning of Facebook. It’s a necessary and comprehensive introduction.
This post was originally published on October 6, 2014.