Lights, camera, halving as Bitcoin cinema hits Warsaw

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Bitcoiners from around the world descended upon Poland’s capital, Warsaw, from April 18 to 21 for a weekend of films, networking, group activities and the much-anticipated Bitcoin halving.

The second edition of the family-friendly Bitcoin FilmFest hosted several film premieres and screenings, including a biopic of Carl Menger, founder of the Austrian school of economics and “grandfather of Bitcoin;” Gods of Their Own Religion, a dystopian story in the not-too-distant future about a city living under the jackboot of a technocratic empire; Dirty Coin, which addresses the widespread misconceptions about Bitcoin (BTC) and its reputation as a “dirty coin” due to its energy consumption and alleged role in facilitating illegal activities — and several others. 

Bitcoin FilmFest saw the iconic Kinoteka venue transformed into a Bitcoin-themed theater. Source: Cointelegraph 

The festival took place in Warsaw’s famous Palace of Culture and Science, a stunning display of Stalinist-Gothic architecture known locally as “Stalin’s Palace.” The building is a reminder of the troubled history of Poland, which spent over 50 years under repressive communist rule.

The palace symbolizes soviet grandeur and propaganda — built in the middle of devastated post-World War II Warsaw when residents faced unimaginable struggles. It’s a true product of statism, and it is fitting, then, that it should host an event focused on educating about Bitcoin and building a decentralized economy outside of the government-controlled fiat system.

The Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw. Source: Cointelegraph

The festival also featured the documentary My Trust in You is Broken, which highlights the dangers of trusted third parties and chronicles the story of decentralization, focusing on Nicolas Dorier’s contribution to the Bitcoin ecosystem. His innovation, the BTCPay Server, played a major role in progressing Bitcoin acceptance worldwide.

There were also short films and mini-documentaries, such as Lekker Feeling, which is set in Mossel Bay, South Africa, where an organization called Bitcoin Ekasi partnered with a local surfing group to create new opportunities with Bitcoin.

Bitcoin FilmFest co-founder Tomek Kolodziejczuk told Cointelegraph that the event has evolved into much more than just movies about Bitcoin: 

“Most Bitcoiners say The Matrix is a Bitcoiner movie. But then, what is a Bitcoiner movie? That’s a big debate, right? Is it just a film that includes Bitcoin, or maybe a film that has nothing to do with Bitcoin but was crowdfunded with Bitcoin? Or maybe it’s a film that somehow aligns with Bitcoin’s values of decentralization, autonomy and independence, like maybe a movie that is anti-system, right?”

The event had several satellite meetups, networking gatherings and leisure activities for all — including children. Each morning, the festival hosted an “Amondo morning,” which included a cinema meetup for kids and young people. On April 21 was “Cartoonfest,” a series of short kid’s films and cartoons with narratives about Bitcoin and sound economics.

Buying flats with sats

One such satellite event was “Sats4Flats,” a private event for Bitcoin and real estate professionals that included a discussion on Bitcoin, real estate and tokenization. Participants also shared real estate investment opportunities and brainstormed how to make purchases using Bitcoin.

An example of an apartment for sale advertised by Sats4Flats, with its price in BTC. Source: Sats4Flats

The Sats4Flats event also saw the launch of a new Bitcoin real estate community in Poland, with several presentations from special guests. Sats4Flats founder Maciej Kordala introduced the new initiative, which he said aims to attract the interest of investors and developers in the traditional Polish real estate market.

Tick tock, next block

One of the highlights of the weekend was the Bitcoin halving — an event occurring every four years that halves the block reward for Bitcoin miners, hard-coding Bitcoin as a scarce and ultimately deflationary asset. The festival included a “European Halving Party,” which saw attendees celebrate the halving in the wee hours of the morning on April 20. 

Related: Bitcoin halving 2024 — Done and dusted!

This year’s halving came at a time of euphoric optimism in the Bitcoin community, which has seen some big wins in recent months. In January, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission approved spot Bitcoin exchange-traded funds in the country, which was followed soon after by a new all-time high of over $73,000 for Bitcoin. All of this is happening in the context of an increasingly tense and uncertain macro climate.

The event coincided with the Bitcoin halving and included a European Halving Party. Source: Cointelegraph

Bitcoiners who spoke to Cointelegraph at the event shared their beliefs that the current system is broken. One attendee shared the story of how Bitcoin has enabled him to build wealth in a “broken system that no longer works for the average person.” This was a common theme at the event. Kolodziejczuk told Cointelegraph, “It makes people ask the question: Is something wrong with the system? And then this question brings them to question the fiat structures and fiat system and then to Bitcoin.”

Kolodziejczuk said the long-term plan is to keep growing and building a culture around Bitcoin. He added that they plan to keep the event in Warsaw and that there’s still a lot of untapped potential, particularly in the traditional film industry. The Bitcoin FilmFest team is “trying to build this bridge to more Hollywood or legacy filmmakers who are getting orange-pilled, with more networking between producers, investors and actors,” Kolodziejczuk said, adding:

“With each next edition, it will be more for filmmakers who are interested in Bitcoin. This is the boiling pot of what fosters the growth of Bitcoin cinema that happens in Warsaw, and let’s continue. It’s just the second edition, right? But the plan is definitely long-term.”

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