It’s likely that over the past year or so, you’ve probably heard someone in your office talking about cryptocurrency. It’s a subject which elicits some strong opinion, with as many people advising against buying it as there are advising that you invest your life’s savings and gamble on its price rising. It’s a hot topic at the moment – and as a result, we’ve seen a lot of cryptocurrency videos pop up recently.
What is cryptocurrency?
At a basic level, a cryptocurrency is simply a digital currency which exists electronically. It doesn’t have a central issuing authority, is unregulated, and there are no governmental or organisational structures in place deciding how much currency is produced, how it gets distributed, or whether it has any intrinsic value.
With us so far? Good. But if cryptocurrency doesn’t have a central issuing authority and is unregulated, how does it exist at all? How is it protected? Where does its value come from?
Let’s take Bitcoin as an example, which is the first known successful cryptocurrency: transactions are completed on a peer-to-peer network known as the ‘blockchain’, which records every Bitcoin transaction ever made.
And because the blockchain is decentralised, its ledger is constantly updated by volunteers known as ‘miners’, who are incentivised by the possibility of being awarded bitcoins every time they solve a piece of code and update the ‘books’.
These miners have to solve a formula for each new entry in order to prove that the transaction and code they are encrypted with match. Why? Because each transaction is encrypted with a code which proves its validity (hence cryptocurrency), and each bitcoin wallet has its own unique key which keeps tabs on how much each person has spent and how much they have left.
As it stands, there are over 1,500 cryptocurrencies on the market, some more secure than others, some more valuable than others. And where Bitcoin’s built-in strategy to prevent hyperinflation has been to issue a controlled supply of exactly 21 million coins (thereby maintaining an almost constant level of supply and demand), other cryptocurrencies have been more volatile. Which is where Initial Coin Offerings come in.
Some cryptocurrency startups need investment to get off the ground…
What is an ICO (Initial Coin Offering)?
An Initial Coin Offering (or ICO) is simply a cryptographic token, like stock, which is stored in a piece of wallet software. It allows investors to cash in on some of the projected value of a cryptocurrency in the event of its success, without handing over any ownership or control. In other words, it gives backers cryptocurrency capital in exchange for real money, and investors are often given exclusive access to key parts of the business they invest in.
An ICO’s value is created by the value of the economy in which it was created. They are unregulated (like bitcoins) but exchanges for cash are often unencrypted (unlike bitcoin) and this means that exchanges are less prohibited and much more easily made.
In 2017 alone, companies who offered ICOs collectively raised over $5 billion, so they are clearly an effective way for startups to raise capital, using nothing but enthusiasm for the growing crypto market and a genuine belief in their business.
The best ICO & cryptocurrency videos
Because cryptocurrency (and, by extension ICO’s) is often such a mind-boggling concept to get one’s head around, explaining it through the medium of video is an effective way of making it accessible. But ensuring you find the right cryptocurrency video, and that it’s both comprehensive enough to make sense of the finer points and simple enough for the layman to understand, can be a difficult balance to strike.
That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the best cryptocurrency videos (and ICO videos) available online. Being in the explainer video business ourselves, we have a good eye for this stuff and hopefully you agree. Perhaps among these, you can find something which helps you navigate your way through the newfangled world of cryptocurrency.
The fact that this offering from Bloomberg is so matter of fact and easy to understand belies the almost psychedelic complexity of its colourful icon-led animation. Playing like something between Heinz Edelman’s Yellow Submarine and an information film on the New York Stock Exchange, this video’s 60s style graphics manage to make the topic of cryptocurrency both attention-grabbing and serious. It even manages to delve into the issue of cryptocurrency regulation and the utilisation of blockchain technology by other areas of industry. And to accomplish all that in such an engaging way without ever losing the attention of the viewer is quite an achievement.
2. The Guardian
Utilising a mix of hand-drawn animation, live action and stop-motion animation, this surprisingly old (2014) video by The Guardian is effective precisely because it follows the development of cryptocurrency in its nascency i.e. before it had become complicated by ICOs or the current boom/bust climate in which it seems to operate. This video lays out in simple terms why, exactly, Bitcoin came into existence, what need it was trying to fulfil, and why internet transactions as they currently stand are marred by inefficiency and third-party wrangling. The hand-drawn animation emphasises cryptocurrency’s punk ethos and DIY nature and anticipates its development into the frontier technology it has become today.
3. Joseph Lattimer
Another complicated aspect of cryptocurrency (like any area with its own jargon) is trying to understand the language. And because the language surrounding cryptocurrency and the world of internet forums and online communities is so closely aligned, breaking through the jargon can be especially hard. What Joseph Lattimer manages to do brilliantly is to combine stunning 3D/ CG animation with humour to create a video which not only informs the viewer about the language, but also makes it entertaining. The animation itself is extremely textured, capturing surface reflection, shadowing, movement and shape with an uncanniness almost as accomplished as a Pixar production.
Inspired by a Julian Assange talk given at The Nantucket Project in 2014, this video collaboration between Harbers Studios and Wondros makes use of some very cool Keith Haring/ Jean Michel Basquait style tribal art. The effect can at times be disorientating, but the video is useful for underpinning some of the more philosophical aspects behind cryptocurrency’s logic: individual freedom, wealth creation, and lack of institutional interference. It situates cryptocurrency (and particularly Bitcoin) within a long line of disruptive technologies and compares the development of blockchain technology to the invention of the personal computer and the popularisation of the internet.
5. Duncan Elms
Having been released a year before even The Guardian’s 2014 explainer video, this cutting edge animation by Duncan Elms from 2013 has the look and feel of a pioneering piece of work. Making use of professional looking, icon-led 3D graphics, this explainer video looks almost corporate in nature; perhaps anticipating that cryptocurrency would become an open market for the sale of ICOs within a few years of its making. Again, the focus here is on mining and the mechanics of blockchain security, doing a great job of explaining (what was then) brand new technology and convincing potential investors of its benefits.
One of the most complicated aspects of cryptocurrency is the concept of ‘mining’. Knowing about mining in theory is important if you want to take a broad overview of Bitcoin, but very little information is available about the practicalities of getting involved. Which of course has created a gap in the market for companies like BitcoinMining.com to develop technology which allows the layman to get involved in the Bitcoin gold rush. This video explains clearly and concisely how the technology works and its animation, though simple, delivers the message in a lighthearted and colourful way.
This seriously fluid animated video from Sndbox is a seamless example of what can be achieved using just a limited colour palette, line drawn graphics, some well-placed music and simple narration. And although this video is only tangentially related to cryptocurrency itself (and Bitcoin in particular), it is a useful exposition of blockchain technology and the opportunities available to other businesses wishing to utilise such technology for security. Aimed primarily at the creative industries, Sndbox proposes blockchain as an alternative, decentralised way of conducting business.
This seemingly independent explainer video effort from Nintoons is startling; not least because it only has 2,000 views despite its relative quality. The close relationship between cryptocurrency and certain underground online and forum communities is alluded to cleverly through its use of manga-style animation. The video also does a good job of introducing viewers to the basics of what cryptocurrency actually is as well as giving a brief overview of its history, benefits and potential pitfalls.
9. Thor Token
Since Bitcoin established itself as the first cryptocurrency on the market and since its blockchain technology was the first of its kind to be utilized, Bitcoin still receives the most attention in the public imagination. However, over the past number of years other companies have followed in its wake, and Thor Token is a good example of how this has been done successfully. Taking uncertainty in the gig economy as its kicking-off point, this video’s focus is on promoting the benefits of early investment in alternative currencies as a means of making fast money. Its animation is slick and professional looking, its colour pallette and script is consistent and overall it does a very good job of highlighting the potential benefits of investing in cryptocurrencies other than Bitcoin.
Looking like a cross between Gaspar Noe’s stunning visual masterpiece ‘Enter the Void’ and a painting by Piet Mondrian, this short explainer video from Polish startup MillionCoin does a good job of convincing the viewer that they are the best currency to fill some of the considerable gaps in the cryptocurrency market. They claim to be able to facilitate everything from e-commerce to automation to commission free currency exchange and legal/financial advice.
The subtle allusion in this video’s simplistic 2D iconography to paper currency as outdated is a clever way of introducing viewers to the potential benefits of cryptocurrency. Notice that there is a marked change in tone and colour when the video stops talking about “outdated” paper currency and starts talking about the more modern, unregulated form of cryptocurrency. This is to encourage potential investors to think about one of the more well-known cryptocurrencies on the market: XRP Ripple, which was established in 2013 as an early rival to Bitcoin.
This video from Gelios focuses on blockchain and, in particular, how P2P (peer-to-peer) technology has made cryptocurrency exchange possible. They do this in an interesting way; favouring a computer game analogy to explain how blockchain works over the typical web-like graphic used by other videos. The effect is to humanise the process, taking it away from financial abstractions and making it relatable for potential investors who perhaps don’t have a handle on the industry jargon associated with cryptocurrency.
13. FTEC Foundation
Unlike most of the videos we have seen in our list, FTEC Foundation have opted for a classic 2D animation consisting of both characters and iconography in order to explain cryptocurrency as effectively as possible. The video also functions as an explainer for FTEC Foundation itself; a business whose purpose is to consolidate cryptocurrency resources into a singular database and allow for trading in cryptocurrencies across multiple networks.
This video from CoinLaunch seems to be aimed more towards stockbrokers, private investors and venture capitalists seeking new and exciting opportunities for making money. As such, the animation is clean cut and professional looking, featuring characters who work in finance. Their comparison with stock sounds as though it might be alluding to ICO trading as well, and would certainly appeal to a very core demographic of wealthy entrepreneurs.
By using bright 1980s-style primary colour driven graphics and Wreck-It-Ralph style characterisation, this video from BeamWallet does a good job of introducing the (arguably) even more complicated crypto-related idea of Initial Coin Offerings (or ICOs). BeamWallet encourages investors to exchange money for ICOs in order to get in on the ground floor of cutting edge blockchain technology, as well as emphasising its importance of cutting out the middleman in financial transactions.
16. Game Loot Network
The gaming industry, like the burgeoning cryptocurrency industry, is something which has long relied on innovation from disruptive indie startups and tech entrepreneurs, and this video from Game Loot Network links the two together remarkably well. By utilising blockchain technology, the company has developed an ICO capable of helping indie game developers earn the money to create their product and market it to reviewers and professional gamers without being hampered by marketing.
17. Kiwi New Energy
The graphics in this icon-led video are satisfyingly geometric, and combine a colour palette reminiscent of the Wachowski Brothers’ The Matrix as well as the 1982 sci-fi thriller Tron. This retro-futuristic aesthetic feels somehow appropriate for Kiwi New Energy, whose ICO is capital raising for investment in renewable energy; a technology which has existed for some time but which is only now beginning to garner attention.
The majority of cryptocurrency and ICO videos we have seen so far tend to assume that the viewer does not have a base knowledge of the industry, and are thus heavily reliant on exposition and lacking in detail. DealBox assumes the innate savviness of the viewer, who no doubt has got as far as watching such an ICO explainer video after doing some research of their own. Which means that DealBox aren’t afraid to use statistics and honestly outline the positives and negatives of ICO investment so that the viewer can come to an honest decision by themselves. This is because DealBox is in the business of consolidating market ICO opportunities and filtering out the bad from the good.
Safeguard proves that ICOs can be used as a fundraising tool for almost any business startup. In this case, Safeguard is a mobile app aimed primarily at actuary businesses and insurance companies; assessing risk based on data collected from third party integrations and running them through an AI algorithm to determine likely outcomes in given scenarios. The animation is colourful, slick and professional, and subtly hints at the gamble associated with the insurance (and cryptocurrency) industry by utilising computer game style graphics.
Coinswipe’s take on its business as being like ‘Tinder for scoring ICOs’ is a refreshingly light hearted view of an industry already seemingly weighed down by its own seriousness in some quarters. Its colourful animation and simple narration help to take some of the complex stigma away from ICO and cryptocurrency investment, and allude to it more as a fun game than as a stuffy industry on the fringes of the financial world. ICOs and cryptocurrencies are returned to their status as revolutionary technologies, and in this way they are emphasised as being primarily for the young. Coinswipe recognises this and turns the concept into a fun investment opportunity.
The key to a good cryptocurrency or ICO explainer video is the key to any good explainer video: namely a mixture between brevity and detail. Most effective explainer videos fall between 1 and 2 minutes, as there’s an almost 5% decline in the attention of the viewer for every minute thereafter.
What makes this collection of videos so effective is that their creators understand the need to draw the viewer in with attractive animation, a simple storyline, engaging voiceover and enough detail to bring the viewer to a “Call to Action” at the end, all within the relatively short space of between 1 and 2 minutes.
If you want to check out some further examples of awesome explainer videos, we have created videos for loads of different industries. You can check them out here.