According to my meticulous calculations, we are about 3,542 to-be-mined Bitcoin blocks away from the lifting of the red, velvet curtain at the Crypto movie premiere on 12 April. That means approximately 44,280 Bitcoin will be rewarded between now and the premiere, and at current market prices, that cryptocurrency cornucopia could be worth some USD 175.3 million – a not-so-paltry sum that would actually be a nice global box office rake for this fintech flick.
Lionsgate Home Entertainment might agree with me. You see, a closer examination of Crypto’s production team reveals that Lionsgate is the big name distributing the movie to US theatres. Yes – that Lionsgate!
With thematic thespian thrillers including American Psycho, Crash, The Bank Job, Divergent, and Robin Hood as titles in their hallowed Hollywood history, Crypto could logically be the next blockbuster-to-be in that series. Perhaps Patrick Bateman checks his digital wallet every morning after doing 1,000 crunches, or maybe Jason Statham’s Terry Leather character is now drilling into safety deposit boxes looking for crypto enthusiasts’ 24 seed words.
It’s a damn good thing US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin occupies his present position in a building adjacent to Donald Trump’s White House. In a not-so-distant past, Mnuchin founded Dune Entertainment which financed the X-Men franchise and Avatar. He also served as Executive Producer of The Lego Movie, American Sniper, Entourage, and Wonder Woman, among many notable others. Had he not taken the road less taken, Mnuchin could be the one producing Crypto, rather than advocating cryptocurrency regulations at the Group of Twenty. The irony is almost too thick to contemplate and appreciate.
While we’re on the subject of the glowing New Yorker who inhabits the building next to Mnuchin’s office, is it my imagination or does the 2-minute, 17-seconds trailer for Crypto resemble certain aspects of the slow motion train crash-of-a-movie at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue that the entire world is tuned into every day?
Let’s start with the obvious and see what we can easily glean from this trailer.
In the opening scene of the trailer, Kurt Russell – looking like a withered scarecrow – solicits help in a farm field from a sharply-dressed mystery man with a lipworm who seconds later appears to be sitting behind a monitor and evaluating an ICO called Delta Coin. Incidentally, a quick review of Etherscan suggests there actually is a token called Delta Coin with a total supply of 5,000,000,000 DTC that is held by a mere six addresses. With the most recent transaction some 176 days ago, we may have to wait for the full movie to learn if the token was created for the movie. Alas, I digress.
We soon learn that the Wall Street wunderkind was at the top of his class at – ahem – Wharton, before engaging in crypto due diligence and that Mr Lipworm prevented his firm from transacting business with a large counterparty, leading to pre-release speculation that Mr Lipworm might be infiltrating financial institutions as an undercover investigator.
Moments later, our protagonist gets reassigned to a role in Albany, New York, that oft-forgotten, upstate New York micropolitan-of-a-state-capital where BitLicense was created by the New York State Department of Financial Services, much to the recent satisfaction of Robinhood Crypto and Libertyx. Donald Trump’s ongoing feud with policymakers in Albany and prosecutors in the Southern District of New York is not lost upon those of us on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean either.
We soon learn that Mr Lipworm is indeed an Anti-Money Laundering Officer and after bro-hugging it out with a childhood friend, Mr Lipworm is next browsing a digital wallet where he encounters USD 10,463,502 million(!!!) in cryptocurrency. Assuming principal photography for Crypto took place in 2018, many of us might consider USD 10 million to be a slow week of ICO deal-making, practically a blip on the radar that even the flimsiest of unicorns-to-be or tenbaggers could relegate to “Chump Change” in the Use of Proceeds sections of their white papers. My, how times have changed!
Mr Lipworm next apprises his AMLO apprentice that there is – gasp – no KYC or AML associated with the digital wallet they are scrutinising. A few bad Brooklyn accents later (is there such as thing as a good Brooklyn accent?), our hero is video conferencing with the Office of Foreign Assets Control and informing them of a “serious problem” involving money laundering by the Russian mafia.
While we don’t see the action in the short clip, it is quite possible that the agent on the other end of the video conference marched right into Mnuchin’s Treasury office and informed our resident movie buff-cum-Treasury Secretary that Russia was evading US sanctions – in Albany, New York of all places.
Crypto’s trailer doesn’t reveal whether the laundered money was to be used to purchase a penthouse in Trump’s scuttled Trump Tower Moscow project. In life-imitating-art creative liberty, many readers and viewers may be hoping that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation might arrive at that exact conclusion. Again, I digress.
A couple of hayseeds soon find a napkin with a threatening note about an upcoming meeting and are forewarned that “COPS = RIP.” We can only guess that the good law enforcement agents of New York State are not loading up on XRP (Ripple) in their public pensions.
Some sort of kidnapping – it’s a bit unclear if Kurt Russell himself is being used as cryptobait – soon transpires and we next see a couple of gangsters working their magic on someone’s neck with a stun gun. Whilst we do not hear their accents in the trailer, the credits to the movie list an Olga N. Bogdanova as a Russian dialect coach, so one can only assume that Mr Goldie Hawn was jacked from his upstate farm and shanghaied to Grozny or Siberia – or maybe that was Poughkeepsie.
A few opaque plot twists later do little to reveal the denouement, so we can wrap this trailer analysis without a spoiler alert.
Back when Donald Trump was just getting started in giving New York City’s skyline a facelift, Gordon Gekko taught us that “Greed is Good.”
A bit underwhelming by comparison Crypto’s tagline is that “Fear is the Ultimate Currency.”
The motion picture’s rating forewarns us that there are violence, sexuality, and drug use. Naturally there is! How else could a cryptocurrency trader make it through a 7-day trading week without some fisticuffs, a gratuitous orgy or three, and some booger sugar?
While we likely won’t see cameos by Don Jr, Ivanka, or Kushner, Trumpgate may not be too far from moviegoers’ minds at times. Maybe Mr Lipworm is the OFAC stable pony who manages to find collusion with the Russians after all.
Let’s just hope Goldie remembers where Kurt keeps his seed words.