For a woman fascinated by cryptocurrencies and passionate about acting, a chance to be part of the blockchain-inspired TV series Hardfork was to good to pass up.
In an exclusive chat with Micky, Naomi Brockwell reveals how she stumbled across the sci-fi thriller online, and why its unique funding model could spawn a whole new era for film and television.
MICKY: Naomi, thank you for joining us. We’re conducting this interview via email, and we’re interested, where do we catch you at the moment?
NAOMI: I am currently in Sydney, heading to Perth, and in a few days off to Tokyo to emcee a blockchain conference 🙂
MICKY: Great! Well, I guess we should start with your background. Could you briefly describe your transition from being an Aussie kid living in Perth, to the renowned “Bitcoin Girl” based in New York?
NAOMI: It’s been a strange transition to Bitcoin for sure! I moved to NY as an Opera singer: I was working with some really well amazing opera teachers there, and decided it would be best for my training to continue with them so ended up staying! But a couple of years after moving, some big opportunities in film came up which made it difficult for me to pursue singing full-time so I had to make a big decision. I chose film, and my career as a film and TV producer began. I started making videos about Bitcoin in 2013, around the time when I first heard about cryptocurrency. I have a passion for Austrian economics, and so Bitcoin as a competing currency fascinated me. I also loved the idea of giving people more control over their money. I wanted to teach people how it worked, so started making explanatory videos under the moniker “Bitcoin Girl”. In 2014 I made a music video called “Bitcoin Girl” based on the song “Uptown Girl”, and now the name really seems to have stuck! I emcee dozens of blockchain conferences a year, and without fail at each one of them people refer to me as Bitcoin Girl.
MICKY: Bitcoin’s price has taken a hit in recent months, but is still valued at nearly $9k USD. Do you remember the price when you first bought Bitcoin and are you surprised by its level of growth?
NAOMI: I vaguely remember, I’m sure I could find the exact number if I looked. I’m not surprised by the growth — it’s a revolutionary technology. Predicting exact numbers is pretty much impossible without a crystal ball though. I remain long term bullish because I really believe in the tech, but who knows what could happen tomorrow?!
MICKY: Tell us about your day to day life. Where do you primarily live? What involvement do you have within the cryptocurrency community and what are your other passions?
NAOMI: I’m based in New York. I’ve been there for over 7 years now, but I travel a lot: I emcee conferences all over the world on tech, blockchain, and economics (including Consensus which is the largest blockchain conference in the world, and d10e which hosts dozens of conferences a year). Until last year I was full time as a TV producer for John Stossel, who is a very well known reporter in the USA (winner of 19 Emmys). This year I have been focusing more on my own tech/blockchain YouTube channel, and have also been working a producer on numerous film and TV projects that are at varying stages of development and production.
MICKY: That brings us to your new TV series, “Hardfork.” What’s it about and how did you get involved?
NAOMI: HardFork is a multi-million dollar TV series I’m producing, and a project I’m supremely excited about. It’s a sci-fi thriller about blockchain tech, authoritarian regimes, and the power of decentralisation in a very possible dystopian future. I discovered HardFork through a blogging platform that I was writing on Steemit.com and fell in love with it immediately because it combined my two favourite things: crypto and film. It was being incubated entirely with Steemit’s Cryptocurrency (Steem), had an amazing team, and I was really impressed with the huge community of supporters rallying behind it: many of whom were even creating fan art for the series. I started following it closely, and was invited to be involved shortly after in a producer/actor capacity, so obviously I jumped at the chance. Now I’m an equity partner in HardFork Entertainment Inc. and in conjunction with the series, we’re also in the midst of developing games and digital assets. It’s been a busy time and a hugely exciting ride so far!
MICKY: An interesting aspect is the fact that the multi-million dollar series is being funded entirely by cryptocurrency. How does that work?
NAOMI: About $30k incubation money was generated initially through steemit.com, and then early this year the team raised the equivalent of a million dollars in Dash. Thanks to the buzz generated by our recent mention in Forbes we’ve been following this with more success from the blockchain/cryptocurrency sector. It’s been pretty fulfilling to produce a series about decentralisation whilst raising the capital in a decentralised manner.
MICKY: It’s certainly an interesting way to raise capital. Do you think that kind of funding model is something we’ll see more of in the future?
NAOMI: Absolutely. In the same way self-publisher’s like Amazon have eliminated the gatekeepers from the publishing world, this decentralised funding model will give directors, screenwriters, and even musicians much more control of their work and their destinies. It’s win-win, because the general public will have access to real art that will be much more interesting than the formulaic “products” that are churned out by corporations today. We’re actually documenting how we do this as we’re making the series so other creatives can follow in our footsteps.
MICKY: So how can your Australian fans watch the “Hardfork” series?
NAOMI: Our goal is to distribute through a major streaming service as well as through new decentralised distribution portals, so suffice it to say HardFork is coming soon to a screen near you.