Movie review: ‘Human B’ shows a personal journey with Bitcoin

The human side of Bitcoin (BTC) is rarely explored in legacy or mainstream crypto media outlets. Even within the Bitcoin space, Bitcoin is “number going up” technology, while slogans like “Bitcoin to the moon” and “have fun staying poor” are rattling around like coins in a jar.

Bitcoin documentaries tend to sensationalize Bitcoin as a panacea for the world’s problems rather than presenting a nuanced view of Bitcoin’s impact on the individuals who make up the decentralized movement.

Furthermore, as the price per Bitcoin has inflated, exploded and popped over the past five years, a steady stream of new people are pouring into the Bitcoin space. Human B follows the journey of a man named Jan as he becomes a determined Bitcoin believer. The film revolves around Jan, the “normal citizen” who learns more about fiat, or money issued by the government, during a break between jobs.

Jan was an editor and musician prior to his journey into Bitcoin.

In the film, Jan explains that fiat money is ‘bad’ because it has no boundaries. Fiat money is designed to lose its purchasing power over time.

“In the beginning I was very annoyed because I thought: how can this be? Why am I just casually discovering this when all the experts are wrong?”

The revelation sends him down the proverbial Bitcoin rabbit hole and he sets off on a trip to Miami, Florida. “I’m not the first to encounter a mob,” he admits, but “I feel like this is about something very crucial.”

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The film also interviews a number of key figures in the industry, including Marc Friedrich, a German best-selling author; Alessandro Ceceres, a Venezuelan who is now a marketing manager at Luxor; and Anita Posch, a Bitcoin activist. These interviews provide valuable insights into the motivations and goals of the people driving growth in the Bitcoin economy, as well as their thoughts on the future of this emerging technology.

An artful, nuanced take that eschews clichés, lazy pop culture memes and lame cutaways to sound bites from Michael Saylor, Max Keizer or Jack Mallers, directors Aaron Mucke and Eva Mühlenbäumer take a soft approach to the storyline. Set to a gentle rhythm, the story uses humor, character and charisma to bring Satoshi Nakamoto’s invention to life.

Pierre Corbin, a Bitcoin consultant and documentary filmmaker, shared his thoughts on Human B with Cointelegraph: “I liked how the beginning shows the Bitcoin culture and the passion of the people who work in the space, while they are all intellectuals. It is shown for newcomers who are not maxis and understand Bitcoin pop culture. I could show it to my family and maybe they would finally understand why I’m obsessed.”

In the chaos of the COVID-19 pandemic, the film takes viewers from Germany to Austria, to Mexico and finally to Miami, where El Salvador’s Bitcoin law is first announced. And while the focus of the film is on protagonist Jan, who slowly plans and then executes his journey to the Bitcoin 2021 conference in Miami. The documentary collects idiosyncratic interviews with well-known German Bitcoiners.

A pseudonymous household name among Bitcoin circles, Gigi stars as a giggly, eccentric man dressed in a greenscreen suit. For those new to Bitcoin, Gigi is a software engineer and Bitcoin author whose true identity is not known.

Gigi in his element.

He bounces around an art studio explaining complicated Bitcoin concepts with graffiti. The German paints Bitcoin equations on white walls while wearing a chroma-key bodysuit, sunglasses suitable for a Matrix remake, and over-ear headphones. He chuckles at the viewer and explains that Bitcoin uses “meme warfare”.

Gigi sits on a Matrix chair and takes the viewer through meme warfare.

Elsewhere, a relaxed Anita Posch – another German-speaking Bitcoin lecturer – describes her love of using Bitcoin in Africa. She tells personal stories as the camera follows her bike through rolling Austrian hills, like the story behind the Bitcoin tattoo on her wrist. She explains that the lightning bolt – a nod to the Lightning Network – stands for “energy,” when asked by those who haven’t yet understood Bitcoin.

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The tattoo scene is a nice hint to one of the film’s underlying messages: Bitcoin is being misunderstood. Rooted under the headlines, mudslinging and memes dominating the Bitcoin space, Bitcoin’s profound impact on human lives is slowly paying off. From Senegal to El Salvador, from Switzerland to Indonesia, stories of how Bitcoin has changed lives for the better grace the world – but those stories live beneath the headlines.

Posch cycles through Central Europe.

Support and analysis from mainstream reporter Friedemann Brenneis elaborates further details on why Bitcoin is so misunderstood. He pins media headlines to a board, demonstrating that, contrary to popular reports that Bitcoin is dead, there is “more to it than the media reports”.

Brenneis takes stock of mainstream media stories.

As Corbin told Cointelegraph, Human B is the kind of documentary you could show to friends or family who weren’t sold on Bitcoin and maybe they’ll finally get it. Plus, the animations and narrative details are well-crafted yet educational. Corbin highlighted one of these creative details: “For example, when the fiat monetary system is explained and the banker makes the loans by pressing ‘Enter’ repeatedly.”

All in all, amidst a sea of ​​Bitcoin documentaries that sometimes feel like propaganda or a clarion call for more Bitcoin adoption, Human B is a thoughtful, personal report. It recently reached 250,000 views on YouTube and is also available on Vimeo.

The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the authors only and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.