The first theatrically released movie to accept cryptocurrency

(Credits: Far Out / Patrick Tomasso / Immo Wegmann)


In a groundbreaking move that marked a milestone for the film industry, Dope, a 2015 indie comedy movie by Rick Famuyiwa, became the first theatrically released movie to accept cryptocurrency as a form of payment. The move was initiated by the studio Open Road Films, which allowed fans to use Bitcoin currency to buy tickets to watch the movie in the cinema. 

Using the online payment platform GoGoin, customers could purchase their tickets to see Dope at over 900 eligible cinemas across the US. The pioneering association was facilitated by the social media agency, Partiqal, and seems to have caught on with cryptocurrencies accepted by all AMC movie theatres

Dope wasn’t a random selection for the historical moment. The movie, written and directed by Famuyiwa, follows the story of Malcolm, an old-school hip-hop fanatic who stumbles upon a rucksack full of drugs. The tech-savvy youngster ultimately comes up with a plan to get rich as efficiently and risk-free as possible. 

The film references modern technology, such as iPhones, YouTube and the Waze app. But Bitcoin takes centre stage as Malcolm’s closest ally. “I just read that money as we know it is dead. Soon the world is only going to buy and sell products using Bitcoins. It’s like a complicated math equation,” the character says early on in the movie. 

“Bitcoin is an integral part of Dope, and we could not be more excited to bring this unique new opportunity to moviegoers,” Jason Cassidy, the distributor Open Road’s chief marketing officer, said in a press statement at the time of Dope’s release. 

“It’s cool what they’re doing,” Alex Winter, the director of the documentary Deep Web, told TheWrap. “The movie itself is using Bitcoin for drugs. That’s actually pretty accurate. There would have been no Bitcoin without the Silk Road. These disruptive technologies often come into the mainstream via contraband or criminality.”

“Bitcoin was designed so it could not be regulated easily,” added hacker Alex McGeorge. “I don’t know that I could convince my grandma to use Bitcoin. It seems mostly like a young person’s game, and that’s who they are marketing to.”

Although cryptocurrencies were born from criminal intentions, they’ve become widely accepted in the modern day, with large companies like Dell and Microsoft striking deals to accept the currency. 

Watch the trailer for  Rick Famuyiwa’s Dope below. 

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