- American entrepreneur Nick Loeb recently announced cryptocurrency funding for his upcoming feature film: Roe V Wade.
- The RVW token is powered by the Liechtenstein Cryptoassets Exchange (LCX.)
- Roe V Wade has been in production since 2019, no release date has been confirmed.
Roe V Wade.
American entrepreneur and filmmaker Nick Loeb has recently announced cryptocurrency funding for the distribution of his feature-length anti-abortion film: Roe V Wade. The film will depict the landmark US court case that saw America’s laws against abortion relaxed. The RVW token is now available and is powered by the Liechtenstein Cryptoassets Exchange (LCX.) Loeb had been previously attempting to fund his film using GoFundMe, to which the film has received $370,274 out of its $1,000,000 goal. As shooting took place, Loeb and co-director Cathy Allyn saw numerous barricades, including cast and crew walk-offs, bans from filming in public locations, and blocks from advertising on Facebook.
A personal note.
As a journalist, it’s not my job to tell you what to think, only to give you the facts. However, I feel it would be disingenuous to go much further without being transparent about my personal feelings. I am a woman, first and foremost I believe in my personal autonomy. I am pro-choice, and my gender will mean I always have skin in the game, so to speak. That being said, I believe in free speech, and I believe this film has a right to exist even though I disagree with it. I cannot criticize a film that hasn’t been released yet but I will gladly talk about the ethics of funding a film using cryptocurrency.
A world away from Hollywood?
Film productions, particularly mainstream feature productions, have always been something of a playground for the super elites. We’ve seen Hollywood elites like Harvey Weinstein and Woody Allen hold absolute power and often take advantage of it, as the #MeToo movement has made crystal clear in recent years. So it can be tempting to believe that crowdfunding is a much more ethical solution.
Audiences can now directly contribute to seeing the content they like. The website Kickstarter has funded a number of major successes, from large scale productions from major companies all the way to smaller indie creators. One might say that crowdfunding is the capitalist vision of perfection; an even playing field, where the invisible hand of the market decides what projects will be made. Allowing consumers more choice, and individuals more opportunity.
Naturally, the next step up from this is to incorporate cryptocurrency.
So how does it work?
Roe V Wade is by no means the first film to be funded through cryptocurrency. While producers can offer rewards like autographs and T-shirts to backers through crowdfunding sites, cryptocurrency gives backers a unique chance to receive a much better reward. Namely, backers now become fully-fledged investors, expecting to receive a portion of the film’s profits.
Instead of pumping dollars directly into the film, investors purchase specialized cryptocurrency, in this case, the RVW token, which is powered by a third party, LCX. The money raised by the sale of these tokens goes towards funding the film. Seems simple enough, but what’s the catch?
How I learned to stop worrying and trust the anti-abortion filmmaker.
Well the token in itself is worthless, instead, it represents an investment. There’s a lot of trust integrated into this system, which pretty much goes against the core of what many see cryptocurrency as; a system that isn’t based on trust.
“The root problem with conventional currency is all the trust that’s required to make it work. The central bank must be trusted not to debase the currency, but the history of fiat currencies is full of breaches of that trust.”Satoshi Nakamoto
In a sense, these ‘security tokens’ are actually bonds. To LCX’s credit, the company is based in Liechtenstein and operates under its much more clearly defined laws and regulations. To the filmmakers’ lack of credit, the RVW Company is based in Seychelles, a place with little to no regulation of tokenized currency. The RVW Company is the one actually giving out the tokens by the way.
To put it simply, there’s risk attached, more so than backing a film with crowdfunding services, which usually integrate some form of customer protection.
‘3.3. Is there a guarantee attached to the tokens and associated rewards? Neither RVW Limited, nor LCX AG nor any third party will provide any assurances or guarantee to the token holders for their rights under these terms, either now or in the future.’
While crowdfunding services, faulted as they are, are by and large held to account, who is to stop these filmmakers from quite simply taking the money and running off?
But that’s fairly standard fare for any investment like this. Any movie star Hollywood investor knows this. But that’s where things to start to fall apart. These tokens are not targeted at experienced investors, but everyday Americans.
Despite my disagreement in views with the target audience for this film, I also recognize that these are passionate people who believe in a cause, people who may be blindsided by faith when investing. This is something that happens to people on all sides of the political spectrum. Add a relatively new technology that the majority of people are not educated on, and that seems like a recipe for disaster.
The official site for the film states that production on Roe V Wade is already complete. The additional finances generated from the RVW token will go towards distribution and marketing; however, no further specifics are given. It would be interesting to find out if the filmmakers plan a cinema release during the height of a global pandemic, or if they are instead thinking of distributing through a streaming service like Pureflix, which would require a substantially smaller budget than a cinema release. Compare this to Kickstarter success Kung Fury, as an example of the expected standard, which very clearly outlined where the money would go, and the whole thing starts to look sketchy.
To conclude, there’s no evidence this is a scam. By all accounts, it looks as though the film is complete. It’s just a matter of what kind of return backers might hope to see on their investment.