Trust No One – Especially Not In The Crypto Space
“Trust no one” seems to be a good quote for the Blockchain and Cryptocurrency as a whole. With a distinct lack of regulation and this massive Ponzi scheme circus sucking in celebrities to the current NFT craze, it comes as no surprise then to find a documentary like Crypto King. Played out as a delightfully sinister blend of Tinder Swindler and Don’t F**k With Cats, this 90 minute documentary dives deep down a rabbit hole of distrust, murder and shock.
For anyone who has followed bitcoin, crypto or NFTs over the past years, Crypto and Crime synonymously skip happily together hand in hand. There’s a lot of foul play going on with “web3” as typified by the wonderfully uplifting web3isgoinggreat. The story here though isn’t broadly about NFTs and crypto as a whole, although I’d highly recommend Dan Olson’s documentary on YouTube called “Line Goes Up” if you want to know more about this potentially devastating future.
However, you don’t need to be completely clued up on crypto to become engrossed in this docufilm. In its simplest form, this is a documentary about a cryptocurrency multimillionaire by the name of Gerry Cotten.
After founding the company QuadrigaCX, Canada’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, transferring Bitcoin to dollars and vice versa, Bitcoin started to crash. Not long after, Gerry ends up dead in India, presumably suffering the effects of Crohn’s disease. His death also takes the keys to unlock over $250 million left in his virtual vault, leaving many very, very shortchanged.
A group of investors then take over the investigation, turning to internet sleuths as they dive deep into Gerry’s life, using both white hat (legal) and black hat (not so legal) ways of uncovering the truth. Believing Gerry faked his own death, they set out to recover the funds stolen from them.
Netflix’s documentary is the perfect length for a story like this, although personally it would have been nice to have another 15 minutes or so to really explain the Blockchain and cryptocurrency. Of course, that’s nowhere near enough time to explain the obfuscated nature of digital currency but it would have served a little better to explain the significance of the Blockchain and how easy it is to manipulate and scam – if you have the right tools and means to do so.
If you’ve read this far then you know I’m no fan of cryptocurrency and the current Ponzi scheme around NFTs. This documentary actually does a great job showing how easy it is to get sucked into the allure of getting rich quickly.
In fact, one of the victims, Tong, even admits that he wanted to get rich quickly and refused to wait around and make money, investing in crypto. Seeing his story -along with many others – unfold over how they were conned out of 5 or 6 figures is heart-breaking, and the movie does a great job allowing their voices to be heard. Unfortunately, the more crypto is adopted by innocent people, the more these stories will become the norm.
Stylistically, Hunt for the Crypto King does well to pepper in a number of text messages, online profiles, emails and all manner of digital records to help give this some authenticity. Much like other Netflix documentaries, this one places a great deal of emphasis on the victims and while there is some dialogue added for those on Gerry and Jen’s (his wife) side, it’s the victims who get the lion’s share of the voice.
Trust No One: The Hunt for the Crypto King is a decent documentary though and well worth checking out. It’s a sobering reminder of how dangerous and unpredictable cryptocurrency currently is and a well researched docu-film that sheds light on a mysterious and bizarre case.
Verdict - 8.5/10