Launched in 2009, Bitcoin (BTC) is the most prominent—and valuable—cryptocurrency in the world. Its price exceeded $50,000 on August 23 for the first time since May due in part to further adoption from mainstream financial services companies. BTC’s success has also spawned thousands of other digital tokens known as altcoins.
Because cryptocurrency is still a relatively new market, there are many who aren’t entirely familiar with the technology and how the tokens are created, distributed, and traded. Common terms and phrases associated with crypto include blockchain, fork, gas, initial coin offering, mining, and cold wallets. Below are four documentaries to better understand these terms and crypto technology.
Available on Amazon Prime Video, Banking on Bitcoin (2016) is a 90-minute documentary directed by Christopher Cannucciari. It’s perfect for those looking to learn about the origins of crypto, as it details every significant BTC milestone from 2008 to 2015. It involves interviews with crypto proponents who speak about the mechanics of the technology and how BTC went from a “dark web” decentralized finance token to a legitimate investment opportunity.
The film also touches on the mystery of the BTC creator Satoshi Nakamoto and whether or not that’s a real name or pseudonym. It also touches on the potential of crypto for people living in countries with unstable governments. “2.5 billion adults in the world do not have access to bank accounts,” notes Wall Street Journal writer Michael Casey. “Technology like Bitcoin or cryptocurrency has the capacity to bring those people into the financial system.”
Blockchain is the technology that powers cryptocurrencies. Thus, one cannot truly understand crypto without knowing the history of blockchain and how it works. Produced by Alex Winter, Trust Machine: The Story of Blockchain dives into these and other topics critical to the origins of crypto.
The Netflix Explained series has 35 episodes across three seasons covering topics such as the wealth gap among races, K-pop, eSports, and coding. Episode 5 in Season 1 covers the growth of cryptocurrency and its potential to shape the future. There is a lot of vital information packed into the 14-minute episode, making it an ideal watch for those without any cryptocurrency knowledge whatsoever.
The Rise and Rise of Bitcoin presents a comprehensive view of the popular cryptocurrency from its infancy until about 2014, when the film was released. It also introduces crypto adjacent topics such as the blockchain network and the concept of decentralized finance. It was directed by Nicholas Mross and is available on Amazon Prime.