Life on Bitcoin 2016 Update

Posted by Austin Craig on May 5th, 2016

Hey everyone. It’s been a long, long time. There’s good news and bad news. You deserve an apology, an explanation, and an update. Let’s start with the difficult part.

I’m sorry. I’m genuinely, personally sorry the project has stalled, dragged, and taken so much longer than anyone ever anticipated. You supported this, and you deserved better.

I wrote a long version of the ugly story, detailing the many roadblocks and challenges faced (including an extortion attempt). But in the end, the details don’t really matter. It comes down to this: The project stalled because our team failed. After crowdfunding, we began filming, and it became clear that the Life on Bitcoin team didn’t all have the same vision. We also didn’t communicate well, we weren’t aligned on responsibilities and delegation, and we were naive about the lengths necessary to complete and distribute a feature documentary.

As the project dragged, tensions rose, and the scope sprawled. The production company hired for the project stopped making progress. Individual team members left for other projects. This was a long term venture, and they felt the imperative to pay immediate bills. Most of the team (including Beccy) have full time jobs. The core team dwindled to just a couple of us, hustling to try to get it all done and released. In the end, I (Austin) am the last one working on this. It’s not a comfortable position to be in. I alone didn’t have the skills to complete most of what needed doing over the last year, and the budget had already been spent in production. But my face and name are all over this project, with thousands of dollars contributed from thousands of backers. As much as I wanted to, I didn’t have the option of walking away.

With what little budget was left, I hired an independent editor and worked to complete the film. And we did finish it. And as the people who’ve seen it will tell you, it’s a good movie. Audiences have been overwhelmingly positive in their reviews, regardless of their prior knowledge or views of bitcoin. It’s a great introduction to the subject and its world-changing potential. I’m proud of that. My hope was that completing the film could be the end of the road. It turns out making a movie is just another mile marker, before the monumental task of marketing and distribution for a first time filmmaker.

I knew nothing about the film festival process and the strategies to succeed there. I knew nothing about the myriad paths to distribution a film can go through and the many parties involved. All of this was originally the responsibility of other people. I was just planning a crazy life experiment, not managing every piece of a feature film business. And nobody would have predicted that, compared to the management of this project, living on bitcoin would be the easy part.

For the past year and a half, I’ve been editing, re-editing, seeking feedback, figuring out usage rights, researching, attending film festivals, screenings, and marketplaces, emailing distributors, aggregators, and sales agents, and generally trying to navigate a notoriously complex and difficult industry. In my spare time, unpaid. It was the best job I could do.

Here is the good news. The movie is good, and we finally have a sales agent to get this out to the world. They’ll be at the Cannes film market next week to get this in the hands of media groups around the globe.

I’ve repeatedly underestimated what it would take to get each step completed, so I’m hesitant to say when we’ll ship the Kickstarter rewards like DVDs. One of our core team-members has long experience in product fulfillment, and will be on the job. It’s coming.

If you have questions, requests, complaints, threats, hopes-fears-dreams-ambitions you want to share, email me personally at austinmichaelcraig[at]gmail[dot]com.

Screenings, a Surprise, & DVD Shipping!

Posted by Austin Craig on September 24th, 2015

Things have been busy. Here’s the rundown.

We’ve screened the film at several festivals, conferences, and special events. It’s gotten an overwhelmingly positive response every time.

Most recently, we showed Life on Bitcoin here in our own home town of Provo, Utah. I (Austin) hold a small film festival every year, and thought this would be the perfect opportunity to show the movie to the community that had been so supportive of our experiment. It’s not only exciting because it’s where we live, but it’s also where half the movie took place and was filmed.

We were thrilled to see such a positive response, and to hold a short Q&A afterward.

Image compliments of Jarvie Digital

Image compliments of Jarvie Digital

Image compliments of the Daily Herald

Image compliments of the Daily Herald

That festival kept me occupied till Saturday Sept. 5. Beccy also hosts an event at the same time, so we were both slammed with things to do. Sunday we rested. Monday we packed up our house. Tuesday we moved into a new apartment. Wednesday we unpacked. And Thursday morning around 4:00 AM, we got the call that our son was about to be born.

We haven’t talked about it here much, but Beccy and I have been the in the process of adopting for about a year. It’s a long, challenging, sometimes uncomfortable process, but we really can’t tell you how happy we are to welcome such a perfect little baby boy into our home, our lives, and our family.

We built a crib Wednesday night, and out little boy was born just a few hours later, right on his due date.

Right after he was born, and wide awake. 7 lbs. 2 oz. and growing.

Beccy giving him his first bottle.

He’s a mellow little guy, even tempered, but very active and squirmy and curious.

At the hospital, right after he was born.

We know you’re eager to get receive your rewards and see the film, and we’re happy to say it’s right around the corner. DVDs should be shipping within a month. Digital copies will be available immediately before DVDs go out.

Thanks for your support. We’re excited to get this out there, and couldn’t have done it without your support.

– Austin Craig

The Premier of Life on Bitcoin

Posted by Austin Craig on July 28th, 2015

It was an eventful week last week. We premiered our movie. The world premier was a huge hit. On July 18th, we screened at the Plug and Play Tech Center in Sunnyvale California. An eager crowd turned out. The reception of the film was very positive, we’re happy to say.

We were thrilled to partner with the BitGive Foundation, with a portion of all proceeds going to their efforts to improve global health and the environment. We were also thrilled to have ChangeTip involved, who provided food and drinks, as well as their service that was perfect for tipping any and everyone involved at the premier.

Just a few days later, we screened again, this time at the Internet Archive.

The Archive is an incredible organization in an incredible space. Their aim is exactly what the name says: They intend to archive… the Internet. They’re building the Library of Alexandria, 2.0. The setting is fitting to this lofty goal. They occupy an old Christian Science church in the Mission District of San Francisco.

Beccy at Archive

After you’ve recovered from the stone columns and the open chapel space, complete with stained glass windows, you might be struck by another interesting thing at the archive. There are little statue people flanking both sides of the chapel. That’s because the archive’s founder, Brewster Kahle, wanted to commemorate all employees who have worked at the Archive for three years or more with their own likeness, in a four foot statue.

Internet Archive Little Poeple

Here is Brewster explaining why they do this.

We were thrilled to be at the Archive, and very excited again at the warm reception the film had.

Brewster kicked things off with e brief introduction.

We had the help of, who sponsored the food and drinks. If you haven’t tried them yet, I’ll add my plug here. I ordered The Age of Cryptocurrency from from Purse as my first purchase, and when the book showed up, it was signed! Really awesome service, and if you’re a regular Amazon user, they’re very worth checking out.

We’re so happy to get this movie in front of people. Stay tuned, friends. More screenings being lined up and announced soon, and before long, this film will be available to stream right into your home.

Thanks for helping make all this possible, team. We couldn’t have done it without you, and our hope is that all our efforts combine to spread the promise of this technology. Stay tuned to our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages for updates. More and better coming soon.

Premier and Bay Area Screenings

Posted by Austin Craig on July 3rd, 2015

We are so thrilled to finally share our finished movie with you!

The premier will be at the Plug and Play Tech Center in Sunnyvale California, in the heart of Silicon Valley. 30% of all proceeds will go to our partners, the BitGive Foundation, to help in their efforts to improve global health and the environment.

Get Tickets to the Premier in Sunnyvale by Clicking Here.

Just a few days later, we’ll screen again, this time in San Francisco at the home of the Internet Archive. The Archive is an incredible organization, and we’re thrilled to be partnered with them. This event will double as a fundraiser for the Archive and their work on preserving the digital world.

Get Tickets to the San Francisco Screening by Clicking Here.

Special thanks to for providing the food and drinks for the evening.

We want to thank everybody who has helped us bring this film to life, from our Kickstarter backers, to the people who contributed directly in Bitcoin, to our sponsors and the people who helped us along the way as we lived on bitcoin. We learned a lot, about ourselves and this new technology. We’re thrilled to finally share it with you.

We have many more screenings in the works. If you’d like Life on Bitcoin to screen in your city, drop us a line and let us know.

Premier and Screenings in Your City

Posted by Austin Craig on June 16th, 2015

Screenshot 2015-06-13 at 10.33.02 AM

We launched the Life on Bitcoin Project on Kickstarter on June 10, 2013. That was 2 years and 6 days ago. We’re glad to finally show you the movie that’s had so much work put in to it.

We’ve spent the last few weeks planning and coordinating the premier and screenings across the US. We hope to show the film internationally as well, followed by global availability online.

Here are the cities we’re headed to so far:

San Jose
San Francisco
Los Angeles
San Diego
Salt Lake City
New York
Washington D.C.

We’re still planning screenings, and we’d love to come to your town.

Send a request here.

Oh, and if you haven’t seen the trailer…

Official Trailer and Release Plans

Posted by Austin Craig on May 26th, 2015

After two years of work, we’re excited to share the trailer and our release plans.

It’s been a long weird road. Making a feature film was much harder (and took much longer) than any of our team expected. But it’s done, and we’re really happy with the results.

We’re planning on taking Life on Bitcoin on a limited engagement tour to select cities. If you’d like to see our film in your town, head over to our site and let us know.

There’s no way any of this could have happened without your help. Thanks for backing us all the way through to the finish. We’re excited to show you what we have.

– Austin

Thank you, Hal Finney

Posted by Theron Harmon on August 30th, 2014

Thursday morning, Hal Finney, one of the greats in the worlds of bitcoin, cryptography, computer science, privacy, and in the larger world of the internet, died after many years living with ALS.

Hal was there at the beginning. He was the recipient of the first bitcoin transaction sent to him by the enigmatic Satoshi Nakamoto. He helped build bitcoin. Even before bitcoin, Hal played a major role in the early cypherpunk movement and in PGP encryption.

He was a man who championed liberty, even as his body succumbed to ALS – trapping his brilliant mind inside.

We are also honored that Hal was a supporting backer of the Life On Bitcoin film project. In his memory, we are donating $100 to the ALS Foundation.

Here is a short video Austin made to honor Hal.

Further reading:  

An April 2014 audio piece
from March

Austin and Beccy Become First Dish Customers to Use Bitcoin

Posted by Theron Harmon on August 14th, 2014


This morning in Central Park, New York City, Beccy and Austin became the inaugural DISH and Dish Anywhere customers to pay their bill in bitcoin.

“We’ve used bitcoin for MANY different purchases, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more smooth, easy interface.

And after using DISH for just a few days (they installed ours last Friday) I can tell you that you’ll be impressed with their offering. TONS of movies, channels, and the ability to record and watch anything from any smart device, anywhere. We’ve been recording and watching our favorite shows while we’re 2000 miles away from home!”

Learn more about DISH and bitcoin on their blog

Watch our blog for a full update on the post-production status in the next few days.


#LifeonBitcion Update: 3 Months Since

Posted by Austin Craig on February 13th, 2014

We concluded our experiment as we returned home from Singapore, on November 2, 2013. In total, Beccy and I lived on bitcoin for 101 days. It’s now been exactly that long since we finished. A lot has happened in that time.

When we finished, a single bitcoin was worth roughly $200, BTC China was fast rising to become the world’s largest exchange, neither nor Newegg had announced any bitcoin plans, and Mt. Gox appeared to be healthy and happy. The price of bitcoin had been on a steady rise.

And kept rising.

As the price of bitcoin rose, media interest in our film rose with it.

Max Keiser was ahead of the pack, as he often is. He invited us to be on his show in London. Having just taken three weeks off work for our global trip, Beccy stayed in the States, and Austin went to London.

While there, The Wall Street Journal arranged a followup interview after we talked with reporter Paul Vigna in New York three weeks earlier. Austin also met up with with the fantastic staff from Coindesk. They were kind enough to name us one of the best bitcoin merchant pioneers of 2013.

NPR’s “Here & Now” interviewed us for their national broadcast, as well as the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

We had interview requests coming in daily from a wide variety of media outlets, from local to global, niche to general interest. Austin even went to New York again for an interview. Some never aired, but hopefully will soon.

From the Wall Street Journal, to Al Jazeera, to NPR, a lot of major media outlets wanted to hear our story.

From the Wall Street Journal, to Al Jazeera, to NPR, a lot of major media outlets wanted to hear our story.

When the price dropped at the beginning of December, media requests slowed a bit, but our lives didn’t. The Inside Bitcoins conference in Las Vegas was a unique experience. It was fascinating to be with such a large group who not only understand bitcoin, but believe in crypto-currency’s future, both as a financial opportunity, but a force for good in the world.

Throw into the mix Beccy’s seasonal business, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years, and we had a full calendar for the last couple months of 2013.

We even squeezed in a screening of the footage our crew is working with.
Life on Bitcoin Screening
From 200 hours of raw footage of me and Beccy, the editors cut down to about 3 hours. We’ve seen a chronological run through of the major points that will be in the documentary, but there’s plenty still to work on. They’re now cutting the narrative together, weaving in the story of bitcoin itself, with dozens of interviews. We also will add motion graphics explaining some of the finer mechanics of bitcoin and currency in general, an original score, titles, and translations into several languages.

Starting out on a project like this is a big leap of faith. None of us have made a feature film before. But after the better part of a year of planning and filming and editing, you know what? It looks like we’ll have a film everyone can be proud of, including you, the supporters of this project.

I’m looking forward to meeting you when we debut the movie. Here’s hoping we make it to your town.

Bitcoin’s Place in Tech Evolution

Posted by Austin Craig on January 22nd, 2014

Note: I wrote this several weeks ago, prior to Marc Andreesen’s op-ed in the New York Times. I haven’t published it till now because I was submitting to major publications for consideration, including the New York Times.

A friend and I were talking on Facebook the other day, when he asked a question I’ve heard a lot lately.

“Does anyone really USE bitcoin?” he asked. “It seems that most people hold onto their bitcoin… unless they’re shooting a documentary.”

Given our experience living on bitcoin, Beccy and I find ourselves in a unique position to answer the question. It might not be the answer you’re expecting.

Yes, people use bitcoin. It gets used today for remittances, foreign exchange trading, micro-payments where traditional transactions would be cost prohibitive, and trade in places where there are political/economic conflict. Think about areas in Africa with rampant inflation, or buying a digital download from a musician in Iran where no Western bank or money transmitter is allowed to legally operate. And of course, bitcoin as a payment for regular goods is growing all the time, as the recent announcement shows.

These are just some of the use cases today, but they don’t reveal the full picture of what bitcoin can and will soon do. It’s like asking “Does anybody use the World Wide Web?” in 1993.

Bitcoin is a crypto-currency, which itself is based on a new type of technology. Call it “blockchain” technology, where a distributed, ongoing ledger creates a transparent history of exchanges that can’t be counterfeit, because people can view the ledger, and there are millions of copies. It relies on a “proof-of-work” algorithm and an accompanying electronic protocol. TCP/IP is the protocol that made the Internet possible. HTTP is the protocol that made the hyperlinked World Wide Web possible. There are other protocols that made file transfer, torrents, video streaming, and email possible. They act as platforms on which we can build any number of services. We use them every day, and they’ve been driving the global economy (and accompanying quality of life improvements) for years.

Consider bitcoin in the wake of the global bank bailouts, which from 2008 to date have siphoned $30 trillion. It’s an unfathomable amount of money going toward increasingly unpopular institutions. Despite the ebb and flow of the Tea Party and Occupy movements, nobody in their right mind thinks we’ve fixed the underlying financial and political problems; we’re not out of the woods. Unlike a bank or any corporation, bitcoin will never need a bailout.

But at its core, bitcoin is about much more than money.

The possibilities with blockchain technology are enormous, and currency is just the first application. This emerging technology has implications for stock shares, bonds, commodities, corporate governance, insurance, accounting, contracts, and every industry that relies on a trusted third party to move information or value.

This is part of a much broader global trend toward de-institutionalizing information work.

The blockchain will make it possible to do things that previously required formally organized groups with offices and hierarchy and expensive overhead. In the near future, blockchain technology will do it all through an automated, secure, and reliable software protocol.

This is a development on par with double entry accounting, developed in Italy in the 13th century, which forever changed business by verifying every transfer of money. It’s comparable to the Internet itself in how it connects the whole globe, accessible by anyone, to a navigable information space for virtually anything they want to say, hear, or otherwise communicate.

Bitcoin, and the underlying blockchain technology, is disruptive innovation writ large.

Think about the metaphors we use for our global information system: the net, the web, the cloud. Each of these describes a distinct evolutionary phase of that system. As another friend of mine recently observed, the next step is what bitcoin has brought us: the chain.

Imagine, again, speculating about the internet’s future shortly after its inception. Wikipedia, which itself wouldn’t exist without the evolution we’re talking about, sheds some interesting light on this:

“The Internet’s takeover of the global communication landscape was almost instant in historical terms: it only communicated 1% of the information flowing through two-way telecommunications networks in the year 1993, already 51% by 2000, and more than 97% of the telecommunicated information by 2007.”

We’re seeing it again—the same kind of obscure technical innovation, difficult to explain at first, then universally understood and relied upon 20 years later. There are strong indicators that it could even be bigger and faster this time.

This is just the beginning.