Hol­ly­wood’s first blockchain movie prom­ises an end to piracy

Arab News - - BUSINESS -

A few years be­hind Wall Street, Hol­ly­wood is turn­ing to the tech­nol­ogy be­hind cryp­tocur­rency bit­coin to dis­trib­ute movies in a devel­op­ment hailed as the be­gin­ning of the end for piracy.

Lead­ing the charge is “No Postage Nec­es­sary,” a ro­man­tic indie com­edy about a luck­less hacker that is be­ing dis­trib­uted via peer-to-peer video net­work app Ve­vue, run­ning on Qtum, the most ad­vanced blockchain in the world.

Jeremy Cul­ver (“An Ever­green Christ­mas”) wrote, di­rected and pro­duced the re­lease from US pro­duc­tion house Two Roads Picture, shot on 35mm film.

The movie gets its US the­atri­cal re­lease and world­wide blockchain de­but in June and will also be avail­able to buy on­line us­ing cryp­tocur­rency.

“We are thrilled to pro­vide movie lovers around the world with a new way to ex­pe­ri­ence their en­ter­tain­ment by turn­ing the blockchain into a fea­ture film dis­tri­bu­tion chan­nel,” Cul­ver said in a state­ment.

“Al­though this is a first for the in­dus­try, we hope it will sig­nal a shift in the way con­tent is shared and con­sumed.”

A blockchain is es­sen­tially a shared, en­crypted “ledger” that can­not be ma­nip­u­lated, of­fer­ing the prom­ise of se­cure trans­ac­tions that al­low any­one to get an ac­cu­rate ac­count­ing of money, prop­erty or other as­sets.

The tech­nol­ogy pub­licly records the unique al­phanu­meric strings that iden­tify buy­ers and sell­ers, al­low­ing more trans­par­ent and se­cure peer-to-peer pay­ment sys­tems.

Blockchain made its de­but in 2009 as a ledger for the lead­ing cryp­tocur­rency bit­coin and is al­ready used in food safety, fi­nance and sea freight.

Its ad­van­tages, ac­cord­ing to Cul­ver, in­clude im­mutable proof of in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty rights, trans­par­ent roy­alty pay­ments, and, since all blockchain data is re­sis­tant to du­pli­ca­tion, a fu­ture in which movies are “no longer pi­rated.”

“No Postage Nec­es­sary” tells the story of cyn­i­cal, sin­gle com­puter hacker Sam — played by “Vik­ings” and “Black Mir­ror” ac­tor Ge­orge Blag­den — who makes ends meet by steal­ing mail while dis­guised as a postal worker.

He hap­pens upon a let­ter writ­ten by a heart­sick Josie (Charleene Closshey) to her late hus­band and fallen marine, and the ten­der mis­sive awak­ens some­thing in Sam.

He con­spires to meet the beau­ti­ful, young war widow and she warms to the idea of a new chance at love — but not be­fore Sam’s past comes knock­ing in the form of an FBI agent look­ing for miss­ing bit­coins.

Closshey, who com­posed the score and was part of the fe­maleled pro­duc­tion team, said she and her col­leagues rec­og­nized the op­por­tu­ni­ties around the ti­tle the mo­ment they read the “timely and rel­e­vant” script.

“Al­though the film makes light of a mis­guided cy­ber-ge­nius who can hack a multi­bil­lion-dol­lar cor­po­ra­tion within min­utes, these types of tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vance­ments are be­com­ing a nor­mal part of ev­ery­day life for so­ci­ety as a whole,” she said.

Cul­ver is hop­ing blockchain can help “No Postage Nec­es­sary” go vi­ral, as movie­go­ers who up­load a re­view as soon as they leave the the­ater will be able to un­lock Ve­vue to­kens as re­wards.

“Up un­til now, the tech­nol­ogy just hasn’t been ready — there wasn’t a plat­form to sup­port the vi­sion,” he said, not­ing the serendip­ity of a movie about bit­coin be­ing the first to re­lease on the blockchain.

“But in­no­va­tion own tim­ing.” cre­ates its

Fol­low­ing the movie into blockchain tech­nol­ogy will be sci-fi an­thol­ogy “New Fron­tiers,” ef­fec­tively five sci-fi movies filmed around the world and stitched to­gether into one fea­ture film.

Funded and dis­trib­uted on the blockchain via a part­ner­ship be­tween XYZ Films, Ground Con­trol, and Sin­gu­larDTV, pro­duc­tion is al­ready un­der­way with a re­lease ex­pected be­fore the end of the year.

“De­cen­tral­ized,” a movie from the LiveTree ADEPT blockchain plat­form, is set for re­lease in au­tumn, star­ring Amari Cheatom (“Django Un­chained“) as a skep­ti­cal eco­nom­ics pro­fes­sor learn­ing about the tech­nol­ogy.

The fea­ture from video shorts spe­cial­ist Christo­pher Ar­cella will serve as a pi­lot to a tele­vi­sion se­ries cov­er­ing many top­ics in the com­plex tech­nol­ogy and com­put­ing sec­tor.

“The story is writ­ten to pro­vide an ed­u­ca­tional nar­ra­tive in a fic­tional set­ting to help peo­ple com­pletely un­fa­mil­iar with the tech­nol­ogy gain some ini­tial foot­ing,” a spokesman for ADEPT said in a state­ment.

A num­ber of is­sues need to be re­solved be­fore blockchain tech­nol­ogy be­comes main­stream, with the anonymity of trans­ac­tions con­cern­ing reg­u­la­tors seek­ing to crack down on money laun­der­ing and fi­nanc­ing of ter­ror­ism.

Pop cul­ture writer Amy Roberts said Cul­ver’s state­ments re­veal a wide­spread fal­lacy that the mere pres­ence of a blockchain can guar­an­tee the in­for­ma­tion in it is re­sis­tant to al­ter­ation.

“Bit­coins, for ex­am­ple, can­not be copied as they are just en­tries on a ledger — not dig­i­tal files per se — whose au­then­tic­ity is in­cen­tivized and man­aged by thou­sands of in­di­vid­ual peer op­er­a­tors world­wide,” Roberts wrote in a com­men­tary for the Film Daily on­line mag­a­zine.

“But me­dia or other data, even if ref­er­enced on a blockchain, can al­ways be du­pli­cated. A blockchain is sim­ply a database.”

The com­edy ‘No Postage Nec­es­sary’ will make its blockchain de­but in June. (Two Roads Picture Co.)

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