It’s no secret that we live in a digital world. We can watch TV on our phones whenever we want, or keep track of far we’ve walked throughout the day on our watches. Mailing physical letters has been outdated for a while now, but the ease and quickness at which emails can be shared now is crazy. To the point, almost every aspect of our lives can and is handled by a digital means.
It’s strange, then, that one of the chief areas that has secluded itself from the digital community is the financial district, which is arguably the most important part of our day to day living. Yes, there are Apple Pay and Samsung Pay and Willy Wonka Chocolate Pay and many other forms of pay that can be done online and through your phone. But, the thing that each of these processes have in common is that they all still rely on credit cards, which were never meant to be digital. So, what does that mean? What does a true digital form of payment look like? Well, there's a new documentary coming at you that has all the answers.
Lifeon Bitcoin, which was directed by Travis Pitcher and Joseph Lebaron, follows a newlywed couple, Austin and Beccy, who have just returned from their honeymoon. The prospects of returning to the real world and testing your now binding love is never an easy experience, but here our pair has decided to take a Bitcoin challenge, which means that for 90 days they will be paying for all expenses (rent, gas, food, internet, phone bill etc..) strictly using Bitcoin.
Now, what is Bitcoin? The movie does a thorough job of explaining it, so I won't go into detail about it it here, but in short it is a form of payment that is handled wholly online. There are no banks, no credit companies, and no physical backup. It can be exchanged for cash and purchased with cash, but it is a fully separate entity from the paper in your bank account. The movie intercuts our couple's journey with interviews from Bitcoin founder's, financial and computer experts, authors and even a "Bitcoin evangelist" to explain how the whole process works, as well as the risks and rewards involved. Their are those that applaud the effort to shake up what they call a “flawed” and “broken” system, and there are those are more than sceptical about the legitimacy of this new company's longterm prospects. This divide in opinion over Bitcoin is a good primer on the journey ahead of Austin and Beccy, as they attempt to live normal life with a nonnormal currency.
The film is well made, and the leads are more than likable. The road we share with them, both figurative and literal, speeds by at a supremely entertaining pace, and when all's said and done we feel like we have truly been part of this process with them. The directors keep the camera moving in imaginary ways allowing us a view into every rook and cranny of the couple's struggle through their challenge.
Life on Bitcoin is a movie as much about teamwork, trust, and the ever needing strive for improvement in our lives as it is about this new product. It does spend a solid amount of very effective time explaining the ins and outs of Bitcoin, but it's always careful to bring the story back to Austin and Beccy. It’s still in a mostly experimental state, but if Bitcoin can make anywhere near as firm a bond as the movie does with us, then it should have no problem finding a home in the near future.