“And Zen Ve Vill Ruul Ze Vörld”

Ten years ago we launched our first animated movie about Bitcoin

Today is a day of anniversaries: one year ago El Salvador officially made Bitcoin legal tender. And I can also celebrate a little jubilee: ten years ago my film production company Bitfilm.com launched its very first movie about Bitcoin. The premiere of our promotional video for Bitcoin Germany was celebrated at Berlin’s legendary (now defunct) beer and burger bar Room 77 – the first brick-and-mortar place on this planet that accepted Bitcoin.

Film premiere at Room 77 in September 2012

Bitcoin.de had already sponsored our Bitfilm Festival in 2011: they offered to pay each winner of our film contest the prize money of 200 euros in Bitcoin or euro. Today it’s hard to believe that every filmmaker preferred to be paid in euro rather than receiving 100 Bitcoins – today worth around 2 Million euros.

Bitcoin.de – The Movie

After this first cooperation, Bitcoin.de asked us to create a promotional video for their Bitcoin marketplace. It is not exactly an exchange, as it would be very difficult to get a license for that in Germany. Instead, Bitcoin.de is a kind of matchmaking service between Bitcoin buyers and sellers. Back in 2012 Bitcoin was still hardly known. So the film had to explain what Bitcoin was before it could go into the details of the platform.

The famous “What is Bitcoin?” movie

Probably everybody in the Bitcoin world knows the excellent animated movie What is Bitcoin? It was created by a student from Film Academy Ludwigsburg, more than ten million people have watched it on YouTube. This production was our benchmark. The challenge was to reach out to Bitcoin newbies without boring the insiders – and of course without copying What is Bitcoin? So, we decided to focus on the “Germanness“ of the client, who use the slogan “Bitcoin Marketplace – Made in Germany”. Our concept was to play with all kinds of stereotypes about Germans.

The film‘s protagonists, the Bitcoin scientist Dr. Münzmacher and his robot Herrmann, explain Bitcoin‘s advantages with such a heavy German accent that the average SS officer from American war movies sounds like an Oxford graduate. Herrmann successfully prevents Dr. Münzmacher from boring his audience to death with his German thoroughness. In return his boss smacks Herrmann‘s tin head when he dreams of world dominance in the best mad scientist B-movie style (“And Zen Ve Vill Ruul Ze Vörld!“).

Storyboard / First character designs

The film was not really “Made in Germany”, but the result of an Indo-German cooperation. Diligent animators from Bangalore created the two teutonic characters and even resurrected the city of Berlin in times of hyperinflation. Without working with Indian freelancers it would have been impossible to realise the film for a relatively modest budget.

Modest back then, of course we paid our Indian animators in Bitcoin. I hope they did not convert their earnings directly into rupees…

By Aaron Koenig