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‘Trust Machine: The Story of Blockchain’ (review)

Cryptocurrency as a concept has been gaining a lot of attention over the last few years, with more and more people getting educated about this new wave in digital money. However, there are still many people who do not know the first thing about these terms, and probably think ‘Bitcoin’ and ‘blockchain’ are the same thing.

Thus, educational documentaries and films looking into the development of this currency movement are extremely important, and ‘Trust Machine: The Story of Blockchain’ is one of them.

Director Alex Winter, who is a former actor himself, having appeared in movies such as ‘Download’ and ‘Deep Web’, does a great job in making sure that this movie will stay relevant for a long time yet. Winter made a reputation for being able to guide people to understand topics that they are unfamiliar with, and that is the case in this movie as well.

The public’s attention has largely been focused on Bitcoin ever since its release, and especially so following a huge rise in its price in 2017 and then the subsequent crash.

However, it is blockchain which does all the magic behind the scenes, as a system where open ledgers of transactions can be split across multiple computer networks, thus not needing a central server and decentralizing transactions.

This is the true beauty of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, with the result being that transaction costs are minuscule, and transactions are anonymous and safe as well.

Blockchain is now being adopted across many other sectors and industries for a variety of uses. One of the sectors which has embraced this technology is the online gambling and casino industry. There are many new online gambling portals which are offering players the option to play btc slots, by using blockchain to secure transactions, and also giving them the option to make payments and receive winnings in the form of cryptocurrencies. Thus, this shows how cryptocurrencies are making their way into mainstream finance, and the movie also charts this journey. However, unfortunately, cryptocurrencies are still associated with fraud and illicit activities, as they first came into the limelight following the Silk Road scandals.

The film also follows the case of Lauri Love, who is a British activist accused of stealing secret government data by the United States. Winter uses this case and that of the late activist Aaron Swartz to show how governments and other power centers will do anything to clamp down on threats to their existing monopolies, and this leads into how central banks and banking corporations have been opposing cryptocurrencies ever since they first came into existence, for the very same reasons. This is a shame, as blockchain has many other beneficial uses as well. Ethereum has shown the value of smart contracts, and its possibilities are endless. It can help combat identity theft, control electric grids and transmissions which would allow power to be brought back immediately in the wake of major disasters, for example; it can also fix the issues of piracy, by allowing users to be able to pay artists directly through micropayments. It can even help solve world crises, as UNICEF is looking at blockchain as a way to give refugees official identities separate from those of the countries which they are fleeing, which would remove a whole host of trouble and bureaucracy for those fleeing war and violence.

All of these examples are laid out in this documentary, which paints a picture as to how blockchain can be a huge benefit to people all over the world. It is a must watch for those interested in the space, as well as anybody just generally curious about the fuss being raised about cryptocurrencies and blockchain.


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