Digital Currency and You.

As our industry changes, it’s important to keep an eye on how trends in the wider world can affect us. While Motionographer does not specifically endorse companies or products, we do like to occasionally share interesting developments.

Our creative world is becoming more international than ever. Where entire jobs used to be done at huge studios, small teams around the world now collaborate.

But when it comes to getting everyone paid, the global financial system hasn’t kept up. International money transfers are expensive, slow, and generally a hassle for everyone involved.

There may be a solution on the horizon. Digital currencies like Bitcoin, LiteCoin, and Ripple are completely re-imagining the idea of money – and they have the potential to make it easier to settle up anywhere in the world.

Today, to pay an artist internationally, a studio either needs to send an international wire transfer – which is expensive, slow, and often requires a trip to the bank, or use a service like PayPal – which usually charges a high fee (3-4%) to the artist getting paid. And in some countries like Argentina, currency controls make it almost impossible for an artist to receive money from overseas without having a foreign bank account.

Soon, the process may get  easier – and cheaper. Studios will be able to go online and use a small app or encrypted website to transfer digital currency anywhere in the world with almost no transfer fees – far less than 1%. And the process will only take minutes.

Digital currency has several important potential advantages over the current systems. Transfers are fast, inexpensive, and incorporate strong cryptography that makes them anonymous. Digital currency is also immune to the capital controls that plague many developing countries.

It’s important to keep in mind that this is a work in progress, rather than an alternative that is ready today.

Converting from digital currency into “old” money – dollars, euros, pesos, etc – is still harder than it should be. The exchange rates between digital currencies and real currencies can still go through big swings, and digital currency is similar to cash – if you lose the file, or forget your cryptographic key, it’s gone. There’s no bank to call for customer service.

Today, digital currency is no longer purely experimental – but not quite mainstream. It represents a cool attempt to bring the ideas of open architectures, distributed networks, and cryptography to money. In the larger perspective, it represents a shift away from global dominance by governments and banking conglomerates to a distributed financial system.

Digital currency could one day become a faster, cheaper, and more secure way to get paid for international work. It’s something every artist should keep an eye on.

To learn more, check out these links:

  1. Bitcoin
  2. LiteCoin
  3. Ripple

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About the author

Elliot Blanchard

/ www.invisiblelightnetwork.com
Elliot Kealoha Blanchard runs Invisible Light Network, a Brooklyn design studio covering everything from broadcast to interactive and experience projects. He also directs short films, and his previous work has appeared in film festivals around the world.

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  • nah

    CryptoCurrency for the WIN

    • nah

      Also, +1 for this:

      ” In the larger perspective, it represents a shift away from global dominance by governments and banking conglomerates to a distributed financial system. “

  • serious post

    How many buttcoins and cosbycoins did they pay you to promote this?
    There are many threads on the internet as to why Bitcoins have failed. The system keeps getting hacked, for starters…

  • The answer would be zero.

    I agree that hacking is a problem today – however, it’s a problem that almost exclusively targets the BitCoin exchanges. The exchanges are not the same as the network itself. The BitCoin network has proven to be very resistant to hacking – and the Ripple network (in Beta now) is even more resistant.

    The exchanges are going to become less important as there are more opportunities to use digital currency to pay for things directly.

    The exchange problem – and it’s not just hacking, but the fees associated with using the exchanges to convert digital to currency to “old” money – is the main reason that I don’t think digital currency is for everyone at the moment – which is something I said very clearly in the article.

    Having said that, I think that it’s going to be less of a problem in the future – which is why this is worth keeping up with.

    As for “threads on the internet” – if the amount of money and investment moving into digital currency at the moment is “failed” – you’ve got an odd definition of failure. Inevitable? Time will tell. Fail? Too early to say.

  • So glad to see you guys covering this on Motionographer… the future is here.

    a great place to keep up with BTC is on reddit: http://www.reddit.com/r/Bitcoin/

  • Sounds cool! Can’t wait for an alternative like this one!

  • Would be great have options for this kind of things for people who lives, like me, in Argentina or places like that.
    It´s really hard work internationally with all this prohibitions and currency controls for here.

    I expect that this thing grows well. Thanks for this kind of articles!

  • Bill D.

    Yes, let’s make it even more complicated to get paid. Let’s add a new level of hoops for us to jump through.

  • Bitcoin is dead. You’re about 3 years too late to the party. Sorry… :)