Liliana Pertenava, author, director, and executive producer of Crypto Rush, began it all when in 2017 she decided to invest her personal savings into a small Ethereum mining farm. With an initial investment of $48 per unit, the value of the cryptocurrency rose to more than $300 within two months! She posted about her investment on social media. At the same time, Liliana was looking for a theme for a documentary. When she learned how many people were interested in the topic, she thought it’s a perfect idea to create a documentary on the subject. She didn’t waste time getting started.
The first destination of the journey was the US — the country where strict regulations meet high entrepreneurial spirit. Liliana, with a small camera crew, went to the largest mining farm at the time in Wenatchee, Washington. She then visited the Consensus Conference in New York to see how banks and big financial players felt about the blockchain industry. That community appeared to be truly differentiated and complex.
Work on the movie’s plot line and script started with Konstantin Bushmanov (creative producer), Iliya Kovalev (film advisor and Oxford research fellow), and Valeria Davydova (associate producer). Over the summer, the team discovered several crypto hubs: where the highest concentration of blockchain companies and events in the field are, and where crypto legislation is in the forefront. The crew created an itinerary for further filming.
With an itinerary in hand and helpful tip-offs in mind, Liliana decided to head to Germany. She had mentored the Berlin branch of the Techstars Accelerator for several years, so knew the German capital would be an important tech hub to feature in the film. There, Liliana met Meinhard Benn – crypto-payment company founder and early bitcoin enthusiast, he has advised to visit China and try to film crypto-enthusiasts there.
The next stop was Switzerland. Apart from being the banking capital of the world, Switzerland plays host to many companies and projects actively involved in cryptocurrency. Several years ago, the Ethereum Foundation materialized in the canton of Zug – home to major crypto brokers. The Crypto Valley, an association of blockchain and crypto companies, is also located here.
Liliana, with a newly enrolled director of photography Anton Petrov, interviewed a number of crypto and blockchain entrepreneurs. This included a team of young entrepreneurs who built a large mining facility with their bare hands while helping to restore an isolated village in the Alps, and a designer and investor from Vietnam who earned millions on early startups.
In January 2018, the crew went back to the US. This time Liliana and Anton filmed in San Francisco, Las Vegas and New York, speaking to startup entrepreneurs, activists, and tech-journalists. The camera was also lucky enough to accidentally capture famous Hollywood actor, Luke Evans. This is the closest we have been to Hollywood, so far…
In Vegas, the crew headed to the office of the esports platform, UNIKRN, to interview its founder and CEO, Rahul Sood. As a long-time entrepreneur, Sood recently discovered the power of blockchain for the esports community. His support of Crypto Rush movie has also made further filming possible, of which we are truly thankful.
Asia was a must-see destination due to its large crypto and blockchain community, and the scale of its regulatory and startup activity across various countries. The crew visited extraordinary and beautiful places, including South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, and China.
Many of the world’s largest ICOs are held by Singapore companies. Startups here can easily communicate closely with the government on relevant business topics. While enlightening and eventful, we could only spend one day of shooting here. Albeit brief, we managed to discover several economic trends of tomorrow.
China is the true ‘bitcoin capital’ today. It is where the largest mining powers are. Although mining has now been restricted by the Chinese government, Liliana interviewed those who still have faith in the field. In Hong Kong, the sheer number of crypto projects and investors amazed us. The filmmakers then travelled to Shenzhen, “the world’s hardware capital”, and Shanghai, China’s financial and marketing center.
Russia was our final stopping point before hitting the editing floor. The crypto legislation in Russia is still in development, so the business is mostly in a gray area with many talented developers and entrepreneurs working abroad. Today, Russian scientists are rapidly developing a next-gen innovation called quantum blockchain. Naturally, we didn’t miss a chance to speak about it with the Russian Quantum Center.