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Could a ‘Crypto’ Movie Feature at the Next Oscars Ceremony?

Hollywood studios are increasingly investing in crypto-related productions. Chloe Grace Moretz and Lily Collins are set to take lead parts in movies about the real-life story of the Bitcoin Bonnie and Crypto Clyde, and the writer of The Wolf Of Wall Street is cooking up a story about SBF and FTX.

The latest film by Christopher Nolan, starring Cillian Murphy as the father of the atomic bomb, Oppenheimer, was the big winner at last night's Oscar ceremony at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles, winning seven awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor for Murphy and Best Director for Nolan. 

Every year, Hollywood studios bet on several projects that tell narratives shaped by the development and use of technology - be it the atomic bomb in Oppenheimer (2023), artificial intelligence in Ex Machina (2014), or the Internet in The Social Network (2010).

Recently, Hollywood studios have been investing in projects telling the most exhilarating dramas and traumas in the world of cryptocurrency.

Just last Friday, it was announced that actress Chloë Grace Moretz, best known for her role in 2022 sci-fi movie Peripheral, will be playing Heather "Razzlekhan" Morgan in a new film by Tetris (2023) director Jon S. Baird.

Razzlekhan is a modern-day American bandit who, together with her Russian-émigre husband Ilya "Dutch" Lichtenstein, stole 119,754 Bitcoin from Hong Kong-based Bitfinex in 2016. At the time, Bitfinex was one the largest crypto exchanges in the world.

The Bitcoin Bonnie and Crypto Clyde, as the internet fondly named them, were arrested in New York in 2022 after, thanks to the high price volatility of crypto, their $72 million fraud had become a $4.5 billion heist. Today, the value of the BTC they stole is almost $9 billion.

Even more drama-worthy than the amount stolen are the couple's eccentric personalities. Morgan was an entrepreneur, investor, rapper and TikTok influencer who maintained dozens of social network accounts for her, her many alter-egos, and her cat. Her husband was also a peculiar character, a crypto investor and a part-time mentalist magician who maintained an active presence in social networks while trying to launder the stolen funds on the dark web.

Moretz is not the only actress set to play Razzlekhan. Lily Collins, nominated for a Best Actress Golden Globe Award for her role in the movie Rules Don't Apply (2016), will also be portraying the former rapper in a TV series on streaming service Hulu, called Razzlekahn: The Infamous Crocodile of Wall Street.

Amazon MGM Studios is also developing a big-screen motion picture, Razzlekahn, directed by Hannah Marks, After Everything (2018). Netflix, too, has ordered a documentary series about the couple directed by Chris Smith, the executive producer of Tiger King (2020).

The story of the Bitcoin Bonnie and Crypto Clyde is one of many catching Hollywood's attention. The scandal of the FTX bankruptcy and the fall from Forbes cover to federal prison of its CEO Sam Bankman Fried has several studios fighting to be the first to tell the story to the public. At least nine productions are in the works, and renowned author Michael Lewis has written a book about it. 

The scriptwriter of box office successes The Wolf of Wall Street (2013), Moneyball (2011) and The Big Short (2015), Lewis had been interviewing SBF about his "effective altruism" philosophy when the CEO and his companies fell from grace. Going Infinite: The Rise and Fall of a New Tycoon was published in late 2023, and a movie based on it is expected to come out soon.

For almost the first decade of its existence crypto lived on the sidelines of mainstream culture, but it has since become too important and entertaining to ignore. Hollywood studios are now enforcing their cultural influence to tell stories about decentralized technologies, and how they use their narrative power will help shape perceptions about it.