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How Blockchain and Crypto Influence the Film Industry

— February 18, 2022

Blockchain technology provides a new level of protection for creative ideas through its immutable ledger whose records can neither be changed nor deleted. 

Nowadays, blockchain and cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are synonymous with technological progress. It’s not only your friend in tech or finance; the need to modernise processes across all industries is increasing every day throughout the world. Unfortunately, those who don’t – or can’t – keep up risk being rendered obsolete by the transformation that’s occurring. But what does this mean for creative industries such as the movie business? How does blockchain and its applications impact on fields that are already constantly adapting to continuous progress?

Film Industry Facing Tough Times

It’s a wild time for the film industry. The last decade has seen a drastic shift in its landscape: In the US, Disney movies now account for around 40% of domestic grosses. Netflix, on the other hand, is forging a path to entertainment dominance. In the first quarter of 2021, Netflix had 207.64 million paying customers, though its total viewer pool is estimated to be well over 300 million users worldwide. In 2020, Netflix earned total revenues of $26.39 billion. In contrast, Paramount Pictures, a film production company over a hundred years old, has an estimated net worth of $4 billion. 

At the same time, COVID-19 had a violent impact on the media and entertainment industry, slashing its revenue by $81 billion in 2020. Both movie theatres and film sets were forcefully shut down at the start of the pandemic, which led to a striking loss of almost $4 billion at the US box office.

Hundreds of long-awaited movie productions were delayed due to the risks involved with filming during a global pandemic. No Time To Die, the new James Bond film, was actually supposed to be released in April 2020; instead successive delays meant it didn’t appear in movie theatres until September 2021.

Cryptocurrency Funding in the Movie Industry

Though the film industry is merely a century old, it’s astounding how fast film production techniques and technologies have evolved throughout the decades. It wasn’t too long ago that the first non-silent feature films were produced (The Jazz Singer, 1927), yet today we can watch movies sporting jaw-dropping CGI effects on 8K screens while immersed in Surround Sound. It’s fair to say that the movie industry is embedded in progress and innovation, at a spectacular pace.

However, there’s an area in which the film industry falls short: financing. Indie filmmakers, for example, have very limited financing opportunities available: scarce grants with ruthless competition and strict criteria, as well as risky debt financing that has put more than one budding filmmaker in an awkward position. 

The advent of the Internet and platforms like GoFundMe, Kickstarter, or even Facebook, have given voices that would usually have limited reach the opportunity to get financing. Nowadays, there are also some exciting new ways of generating revenue through art. A digital artist called Beeple recently sold an NFT collection worth $69 million. This is a game-changer for kick-starting platforms: users are now able to offer up digital merchandise that can actually become valuable instead of some mp4 file or image that can’t be bought or sold. 

It’s not only digital art though, movie giants like Quentin Tarantino are using NFTs to give fans access to priceless memorabilia. People will be able to purchase uncut Pulp Fiction scenes as non-fungible tokens, as well as handwritten scripts and commentary on the OpenSea NFT marketplace. This is groundbreaking in terms of connecting fans to filmmakers, while protecting each party’s identity and assets. 

Crypto has also allowed users to invest in films they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to. How? Thanks to initiatives like Ethereum Crowdsale. The creator of the movie Braid managed to gather $1.4 million to finance the film’s production using ethereum. This is a revolution in itself. Using blockchain technology to finance films allows for anonymous and secure transfer of money, terms to be agreed upon and met thanks to smart contracts, plus transactions that are both rapid and relatively low in cost.

How Filmmakers Benefit from Blockchain Adoption

Copyright Protection

Filmmakers know how crucial it is to be able to protect creative ideas like scripts. It’s also difficult: ideas can easily be stolen, plagiarised, and exploited, which is why it’s important to protect them with copyright. Blockchain technology provides a new level of protection for creative ideas through its immutable ledger whose records can neither be changed nor deleted.

Laptop and notebook; image by Aman Upadhyay, via
Laptop and notebook; image by Aman Upadhyay, via

This also does a great job at preventing piracy and identity theft – no one other than the creator of the script or film will be able to use the work thanks to the immutable character of the blockchain.

More Efficient Distribution of Creative Works

Creating a successful film is a challenge nowadays. There’s crushing competition from online platforms such as Netflix, and many reasons to fail. Distribution plays a very important part in how well a movie does, especially when it aims to have a global reach. Blockchain has proven to be of great use by removing intermediaries and allowing extra options like booking tickets to movie screenings via the blockchain. 

Giving a Voice to Fans and Enthusiasts

Token-based voting systems are efficient platforms for fans and enthusiasts to voice their opinions. The process has even been known to strongly influence decisions in certain movies like Deadpool and Sonic the Hedgehog, which were only produced thanks to fan pressure. 

Blockchain: Transforming the Future of Film Distribution

Blockchain and cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin have been making waves. They’re giving the film industry an opportunity that extends far beyond the financial gains of crowdfunding: the blockchain gives a fair and equal voice to fans worldwide, allowing anyone to buy and sell merchandise as real assets that can be worth millions. It’s not just about the money though – blockchain technology is paving the way for an engaged and vibrant community of loyal fans connected to filmmakers in a very specific way.

Crypto ushers security into an industry that isn’t usually synonymous with it, creating new opportunities regardless of age, gender, social status, and nationality. Blockchain has the power to reduce fraud and increase transparency by removing the need for middlemen, further protecting intellectual property rights along the way.

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