Morgan Spurlock, most famous for his documentary Super Size Me, spent a week last year living on nothing but Bitcoin (instead of McDonald’s food) for his show CNN show Inside Man. The episode aired last night and covered all the basics of Bitcoin with relative accuracy.
The show opened up with a speech by Andreas M. Antonopoulos in which he explained the value of Bitcoin to those in economies which have suffered at the hands of hyperinflation. Spurlock is encouraged to use Aegis Wallet for Android by a nameless person at the Bitcoin Center in New York City. Strangely enough, the Aegis Wallet website is down and the Play store statistics say it has only ever been installed 500 to 1,000 times. By comparison, the Blockchain.info wallet has been installed between 100,000 and 500,000 times.
Cash for Digital Cash
Then Spurlock buys his first Bitcoin in those long-gone days when it was worth $630. At the Bitcoin Center, there is a human being who shouts out bids and asks and matches up people buying at in-person. The actual transactions take place peer to peer, as you’d expect, though, with no apparent need of an escrow. The seller was fortunate enough to be paid directly in cash, making that transaction truly untraceable.
His first Bitcoin in hand, Spurlock ham-handedly goes about trying to spend it. It’s unfortunate he had not done his research, as there are a number of services that list businesses and services that accept Bitcoin, such as AirBitz. (As a side note, the CEO of AirBitz, Scott Morgan, is running for the open seat on the Bitcoin Foundation.)
Mining Operation Visited
Spurlock booked a trip to Geneva, New York using Bitcoin via Expedia and an unnamed air travel company. Once there, he worked for a day at Coinminer, assembling new ASIC rigs and “getting the honors” of flipping the switch on a new rack of mining rigs. For his labor, he is paid 0.3BTC.
In the same town the mining operation lives in, he tries to spend some of his newly earned Bitcoin but is unable to find a vendor who accepted it. At this point the informed viewer might be thinking: this show would be totally different if he had some guidance on where to spend his bitcoins!
Now somewhat well-versed in Bitcoin economics, Spurlock wants to see the other side of the Bitcoin economy. At the time, Silk Road 2.0 was still in operation, and with former FBI agent Chris Tarbell at his side, he purchased a knock-off Rolex watch which Andreas Antonopoulos would later dub “a faux-lex.” By show’s end, he was wearing the article of dubious legal standing, shipping from Hong Kong for about .45BTC.
Interview with Andreas Antonopoulos
The community was fortunate that the show’s producers decided to end with a segment interviewing Andreas Antonopoulos in which the positives of Bitcoin were thoroughly extolled. Given that this might be the first time many people even hear the word Bitcoin, through watching the show, the eloquent words of Andreas are doubly important.
“I hope that you’ve had a glimpse into how money could work in the future. […] It’s also a real, robust industry with thousands of companies, millions of dollars being invested, and jobs, thousands of jobs. […] This space is growing faster than the Internet was [in 1994.] This is the third wave of the Internet. […] If you think of it a bit as the third wave of the Internet, you can see that this is going to be pretty big.”
Images from Shutterstock and Wikipedia.