Bitcoin Pioneer Jeff Garzik Launches Web3 Production Company

Bitcoin Pioneer Jeff Garzik Launches Web3 Production Company
Bitcoin Pioneer Jeff Garzik Launches Web3 Production Company

Jeff Garzik, a key developer of the Linux operating system and the Bitcoin Core project, announced the launch of NextCypher Productions on Tuesday. The independent entertainment company aims to use Web3 tools to produce independent science fiction entertainment.

“I was the third most prolific developer on the original Bitcoin blockchain back in 2010,” Garzik says Decrypt in an interview. “So I worked directly with Satoshi [Nakamoto] and his number two, Gavin [Andresen]- That was my entry into the crypto industry.

Garzik is also known for co-founding Bloq, Spacechain and Vesper Finance.

Garzik says NextCypher allows him to return to his passion for science fiction, which he said led him to crypto in the first place.

Garzik says the roots of Web3 can be found in the pages of cyberpunk novels. The genre includes groundbreaking titles such as Neuromancer by William Gibson, Snow crash by Neal Stephenson, and RPGs such as “Shadowrun” and “Cyberpunk”.

But unlike Stephenson — who in June announced the launch of his “metaverse” project Lamina1 with another Bitcoin pioneer, Peter Vessenes — Garzik’s vision is in film and television.

Although a background primarily in software engineering and cryptocurrency doesn’t exactly lend itself to a Hollywood career, Garzik says he sought out the likes of Mark Altman and Thomas Vitale, people who already have experience with the kind of production he envisions.

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“We engaged a producer-showrunner combination that is very experienced in not only film and television in general, but knows how to make something on a budget and on a schedule,” says Garzik.

To get the project started, says Garzik Decrypt that he invested $1 million of his own money to finance NextCypher, intending to launch the first TV projects, Deathlands (based on the novel by Jack Adrian, produced by Altman and Vitale) and Looking Glassbased on an original concept by Garzik, in 2023.

Looking Glass, the story of a young woman who loses her memory and falls in with a group of “gridrunners” on a quest to discover her true identity, premiered as a graphic novel by NextCypher’s subsidiary, Next Cypher Words + Art, on San Diego Comic-Con last month.

The character of the “runner” is a familiar archetype in cyberpunk, from the Edgerunners of Cyberpunk 2077 to the eponymous Shadowrunners of Shadowrun.

Along with Garzik’s NextCypher, other sci-fi/cyberpunk themed productions in Web3 are currently in development. In May, the co-creators of the Web3 multimedia sci-fi project “Runner” Bryan Unkeless, Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, Bryce Anderson and Blaise Hemingway discussed their project with Decrypt.

“While our central story focuses on a few characters, it was a natural extension to look at PFPs as a way to really start creating specific identities in our world,” Unkeless said at the time.

Like Unkeless’ project, Garzik is looking to leverage Web3 technologies such as non-fungible tokens, or NFTs. These unique tokens are linked to digital (sometimes physical) content, and provide proof of ownership.

Together with NFTs, the project aims to use social media to connect with global audiences and give supporters and fans access to exclusive markets and opportunities such as exclusive previews and experiences, including engaging with stars and the creative team and getting access to the creative process.

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“It’s called an alpha pass,” says Garzik. “You don’t have to pay anything. You show up within the time window and claim one.”

As Garzik explains, the NFTs will be a gateway to the NextCypher Hollywood-plus experience.

“We tried to think of all the interesting, amazing, engaging ways fans want to be included in the process from literally the idea stage, all the way to post-production and streaming on Amazon or Netflix.”

Using NFTs to engage with fans and build buzz is not new. Earlier this year, famed indie director Quentin Tarantino released a series of NFTs based on his iconic film Pulp Fiction, despite a lawsuit from Miramax Films, which owns the film’s intellectual property rights. In May, legendary filmmaker Spike Lee announced the launch of a series of Ethereum NFTs based on his performance as Mars Blackmon in “She’s Gotta Have It” to help fund young filmmakers and allow NFT holders to vote on which projects are made .

“We’re still pursuing traditional production financing,” says Garzik. “NFT proceeds go towards the development of new projects, community events and other additive experiences for fans.”

Garzik says the team is still working to determine which blockchain the NFTs will be minted on, but noted that the idea is to avoid the high fees currently associated with Ethereum.

“We’re currently looking for the best home for it,” says Garzik. “So the default answer is an Ethereum-connected sidechain, like Polygon or Avalanche. We’re still negotiating among the projects to see where we want to land.”

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