Bitcoin pioneer Jeff Garzik founds Web3 Production Company

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

“I was the third most productive developer of the original Bitcoin blockchain in 2010,” says Garzik 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 as the co-founder of Bloq, Spacechain and Vesper Finance.

Garzik says that NextCypher lets him return to his passion for sci-fi, which he says got him into crypto in the first place.

Garzik says Web3’s roots can be found in the pages of cyberpunk novels. The genre includes pioneering titles such as neuromage by William Gibson, snowfall by Neal Stephenson and role-playing games like Shadowrun and Cyberpunk.

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

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

“We hired a producer/showrunner combination who not only has a lot of experience in film and television in general, but also knows how to create something on a budget and on a timeline,” says Garzik.

To get the project off the ground, says Garzik decrypt that he invested $1 million of his own money to fund NextCypher to launch the first television projects, deathlands (based on the novel by Jack Adrian, produced by Altman and Vitale) and mirrorbased on an original concept by Garzik, in 2023.

Looking Glass, the story of a young woman who loses her memory and joins a group of “grid runners” in a quest to find her true identity, premiered as a graphic novel from NextCypher subsidiary Next Cypher Words + Art , last month at San Diego Comic-Con.

The character of the “runner” is a well-known archetype in cyberpunk, from Edgerunners from Cyberpunk 2077 to the Shadowrunners of the same name from Shadowrun.

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

Along with NFTs, the project aims to use social media to connect with a global audience to give supporters and fans access to exclusive markets and opportunities such as exclusive previews and experiences, including interaction with stars and the creative team and access to the creative process.

“That’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 imagine all the interesting, amazing, and engaging ways that fans would want to be involved in the process, literally from the idea stage through to post-production and streaming on Amazon or Netflix.”

Using NFTs to engage with fans and generate buzz isn’t new. Earlier this year, famed indie director Quentin Tarantino launched a series of NFTs based on his cult 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 fund young filmmakers and let NFT holders vote on which projects be made.

“We’re still following traditional production financing,” says Garzik. “NFT proceeds go towards developing new projects, community events and other additional fan experiences.”

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

“We are 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 between projects to see where we’ll end up.”

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