Exclusive Interview with Camila Russo: The Intersection of NFTs and Hollywood
- Camila Russo is the author of The Infinite Machine.
- The book will be adapted into a Hollywood feature film, this year.
- This will be the first Hollywood film to be made on the top altcoin – Ethereum.
From Blockchain to Web 3.0 to cryptocurrencies, NFTs and DAOs – there are a lot of new buzzwords that give rise to skepticism. However, supporters of the blockchain and crypto space are focusing on innovation instead of FUDs amid the bear market.
Camila Russo, a Chilean journalist, based in New York, has been trying to warm up the mainstream masses to the crypto and NFT space. Russo founded The Defiant – a media outlet focused on decentralized finance (DeFi).
Being a journalist and storyteller, she is keen on telling another story – about the emergence of Ethereum, which is not only the most important cryptocurrency, after Bitcoin but also a platform for building various applications such as smart contracts.
The Defiant founder has told the story of Ethereum in her book titled The Infinite Machine. The book was also featured in The Wall Street Journal as one of the best in the crypto space.
Published in 2020, The Infinite Machine will be made into a film sometime by the end of this year. More details about the film’s director and team are awaited.
In this FXEmpire exclusive with Camila Russo, the author and executive producer of the film The Infinite Machine, speaks about her book, the upcoming movie, the recent bear market, and much more.
The Infinite Machine
You have written The Infinite Machine, the best-selling novel on Ethereum. Now it is going to be adapted into a Hollywood feature film; how does it feel?
Well, it feels surreal. First of all, writing a book that has had such great feedback and has been received so well by the community has been the most fulfilling thing ever. That was what had me up at night in the lead-up to publishing my book.
When writing my book, I was writing it in a way, hoping it would come alive. And adding color and making, making sure that descriptions were there so that people could imagine what was happening.
It crossed my mind back when I was writing that it would be amazing if this (book) actually was on film. I never really thought that it would happen, but now that it’s happening, it’s hard to believe. I feel grateful, happy, and lucky that this has played out.
When did you first decide to write a book, and what exactly was on your mind when you started writing this novel?
I decided to start writing this book in December 2017. I was at Bloomberg at the time; I was there for eight years, covering markets. In 2017, I was covering cryptocurrencies, and it had always been my dream to write a book. So I was on the lookout for what that story could be.
At the end of 2017, I decided that there was a kind of book material on crypto, and from there, I asked myself, “what’s the biggest and most important story to tell?” For me, it was clear that it was Ethereum. There had already been books about Bitcoin, and I felt there was a lot of information out there about the story behind Bitcoin.
However, there was nothing really on the story of Ethereum. Ethereum is the second biggest cryptocurrency, but it’s also the first smart contract platform. It also drove the whole ICO boom of 2017, so to me, it had already made history and changed the blockchain industry and even the tech industry.
So it was a story worth documenting – whether Ethereum kind of “won” in the long run or not. It was worth having the story of Ethereum’s foundation appropriately documented in a book. That’s how I decided to pitch the idea of writing a book on the history of Ethereum.
In late 2017, I pitched this to an agent and wrote a book proposal. And then April 2018, I ended up signing a deal with a publisher.
NFTs Paving Way for Unique Funding Methods
I also read somewhere that the film’s funding is done in a unique way. Can you tell me a little bit about that?
I was fortunate to be executive producer of the Infinite Machine. So that gives me influence on how the movie is funded. When we started having these conversations, I thought it was important to include the Ethereum community in the funding process. This being the first movie on the history of Ethereum, it just made sense to use Ethereum technology and to bring the Ethereum community on board.
So we created an NFT collection to raise funds for the movie. We aim to raise as much of the budget as possible via NFTs. While we’ll have to complement the funding with traditional methods, at least part of the movie will be funded with NFTs with the Ethereum community. That was just very important to me to do.
This NFT collection is a collection of over 10,000 NFTs; the number is linked to EIP 1559. We brought on 36 artists from emerging nations to design different versions of the Ethereum logo. We then made them into mosaics and combined these mosaics to make 10,000 plus collections.
Bear Market Blues to Last Long?
Recently, the NFT sales fell to yearly lows. What do you have to say about that? Looking at the current bear market, what does the future hold for the DeFi and NFT space?
I’ve been in crypto for a while, and obviously, the space has ups and downs. It’s a very volatile market. But with so much promise, sometimes investors and traders get ahead of themselves and bring in a lot of speculation and hype that overcomes the fundamentals in the space.
I think that was the case in the last couple of years. It happened in 2017; it happened in 2013. However, beneath this underlying hype, there continues to be real innovation and a technological revolution with blockchain technology at its core.
So I believe this space will continue growing and continually evolving. Prices will do what they have to do. It’s not just a crypto crash but a macro crash; there are many kinds of macro headwinds.
Also, reality caught up with the cryptocurrency space and dragged everything down, but projects with real fundamentals and substance will survive and continue to thrive past the bear market.
Do you think that with the internet machine becoming a Hollywood film, the perception of cryptocurrencies, blockchain, and Web 3.0 might change for the general audience in the long run?
That’s certainly my hope with the film; if I manage to do that, that would be like my dream come true. When I set out to write the Infinite Machine, it was with the mainstream audience in mind so that anyone could pick it up and enjoy it (the book), whether they had even heard of Ethereum or not.
I think movies have the capacity to reach an emotional side that maybe books can’t. Books sometimes appeal to a more rational side, and fewer people end up reading books, but movies have a mainstream appeal.
Movies can move people in a way that books can’t because it’s a different medium. So I’m excited to see whether the film, the Infinite Machine, can have this effect on people. I hope that it can bring this message across; you know, this is something that’s revolutionary and provides an alternative to how things have traditionally been done.
Many people say that “crypto is dead” as soon as the market goes down. What do you have to say to those people and that sort of FUD?
I would tell them there’s much more to crypto than prices. Luckily, real use cases and applications are working and delivering value with real users and volume. If you go to where builders are, if you go to conferences, especially hackathons, you will see that the crypto market is more alive than ever and continues to grow.
Builders indeed keep building even in bear markets; in fact, it’s a better time to build because there’s no distraction of prices going up and all this hype. Many times, the more valuable applications get built in the bear market because you’re forced to make something useful.
When money is flowing in, you can get rich by doing a random 10K NFT collection; then, you’re not forced to build something innovative and interesting; In the bear market, that changes. So it’s actually a time when crypto gets even more enjoyable. History is an indication what gets built now in the next few months of the bear market will be what fuels the next bull run.