New Depp Film Goes Crypto: Entertainment and “Gamification” is the Future


As cryptocurrency steadily becomes more and more a mainstream part of fin tech news, we are seeing specific efforts to combine it with industries and projects that are an integral part of our consumer lives.

Analysts are reporting today on news this week that Hollywood star Johnny Depp is going to work with TaTaTu, a social media business using crypto fintech, on an innovative film project that involves combining traditional Hollywood entertainment and brand-new digital content initiatives with a system of consumer tokens.

A few months ago, Depp made headlines when a Rolling Stone magazine feature showed just how absurdly the star squandered tens of millions of dollars over the years, throwing enormous amounts of cash at his wine collection and paying several million dollars to have Hunter S. Thompson’s ashes shot into the sky with a cannon.

Cynics might say that the new move is part of a desperate actor’s plan to rebuild his empire, but subject matter experts who understand some of the new work being done around bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are tying the new Hollywood news to other kinds of similar ideas that are happening around the world.

A piece this past July on The Street shows how South Korea, the third largest global Bitcoin market, is pursuing the gamification of cryptocurrencies and combining the country’s vibrant gaming culture with digital assets linked to token or coin technologies. This dressing up of a crypto infrastructure, experts say, is helping to break new digital fintech systems into consumer markets.

“South Korea’s love for gaming and cryptocurrencies provide opportunities for gaming-focused blockchain ventures to create a captive market out of local gamers,” wrote Jordan French in July. “Other ventures around the globe could take a cue from this and explore how they could effectively target consumers and encourage wider adoption.”

To better understand the essential concepts, a Medium piece by Wharton professor Kevin Werbach talks about gamification and how the inherent process of Bitcoin mining really builds a new model that “gamifies trust.”

“Fundamentally, the problem Bitcoin solves is not about money, or transactions, or the viability of nation-states,” Werbach writesIt’s about distributed trust. And equally fundamentally, its solution is not about cryptography, or security, or disintermediation. It’s about motivation. Those Bitcoin miners are, in a very real sense, turning the integrity of a financial system into a game.”

So in summary, the “gamification” of crypto can mean many things. It’s the risks that investors take when they jump on a coin offering, but more than that, it’s the harnessing of the digital platform to reward “free play” – something that has a lot of potential in the age of the Internet of Things, smartphone ubiquity and a hunger for shiny new platforms. And, of course, infiltrating old Hollywood with new fintech a la Johnny Depp.