Last month came the news that crime writer Dennis Lehane (Mystic River, Shutter Island) was at work on the screenplay for a drama about illegal online drugs bazaar The Silk Road and its recent high profile FBI takedown. It now transpires that Alex Winter is heading in the same direction but approaching from a different angle. The Downloaded director is planning a documentary that will take in The Silk Road but centre on the online currency Bitcoin.
Bitcoin was first posited in an academic paper in 2008, and became operational in 2009. Officially an "experimental online currency", it has avoided most of the pitfalls that previous similar experiments have encountered; achieved some degree of legitimacy (sites like Wordpress and Reddit accept it, for example); and been the subject of financial speculation, making it an attractive proposition compared to the euro and the pound... for those with the nerve.
Its detractors, however, accuse it of being a form of investment fraud, and the fact that it's an unregulated and relatively anonymous form of transaction makes it a favourite currency for illegal onine operations like the aforementioned Silk Road. With that site's shutdown the FBI came into control of about 1.5% of all the Bitcoins in circulation.
"The true story of Bitcoin has all the twists and turns of a cyberpunk thriller," said Winter and his team (producers Marc Schiller and Glen Zipper) in a statement. "Through Bitcoin we will enter the secret world of The Silk Road as we follow a group of computer hackers creating a 'dark web', which has led to the rise of a new class of cyber drug lords that’s currently playing out in headlines around the world."
Appropriately, Winter and co. are heading online to seek Kickstarter funding for the project. They will, naturally, be accepting Bitcoin pledges.