"This whole thing is so bananas."
So says American documentary maker Morgan Spurlock in an early scene from an upcoming episode of CNN's Inside Man that focuses on bitcoin. During the show, Spurlock buys bitcoin at the New York City Bitcoin Center, helps set up new machines at a bitcoin mine and visits now-defunct Silk Road 2.0 black marketplace to purchase a fake Rolex.
The episode debuts on 19th February at 21:00 ET/PT, and like his controversial, Oscar-nominated 2004 documentary Super Size Me, the show centers on the concept of Spurlock surviving on one particular thing – in this case, he lives on bitcoin instead of the dollar.
Over the course of the episode, Spurlock helps mine bitcoin with New York-based CoinMiner, earning a day's wage by assembling new ASIC racks. During a search for coffee shops that accept bitcoin, Spurlock convinces one store to download a wallet and accept bitcoin.
The episode features a number of animated segments detailing how bitcoin mining works, including the distributed ecosystem of miners' role in verifying transactions. Other notable segments include a visit to a coffee shop that charges a minimum of $25 for orders paid with bitcoin. When asked why the charge minimum was put in place, the barista pointed to the volatility in the price of bitcoin.
"It's so volatile that we could end up kind of getting hurt in the end, so we like to keep a good-sized transaction," the barista told Spurlock.
Spurlock conducts several interviews during the episode, including sit-downs with security researcher Dan Kaminsky, former FBI special agent Christopher Tarbell, West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin and author and bitcoin advocate Andreas Antonopoulos.
He ultimately points to bitcoin's open transaction ledger as a potential game-changer for how political and financial systems operate, concluding:
"Even if the bitcoin currency bubble bursts, the technology could go down in history as one of the most important inventions of this century. It might even change the world."
Images courtesy of CNN