Alex Preukschat, Josep Busquet and José Ángel Ares García, the trio behind ‘The Hunt for Satoshi Nakamoto’, the new Bitcoin Comic which previewed at CoinSummit and was recently written up on CoinDesk, are gearing up to launch their project Kickstarter style on the new SWARM platform which recently raised over $1,000,000 worth of Bitcoin in startup capital.
Preukschat says he wants to take 1,000 pre-orders of the comic before it goes to print and those who sign up will receive crypto-tokens from the SWARM platform in return for their donations allowing them access to perks and special offers in the future, like limited edition artwork cover for the comic books and T-Shirts.
Crowdfunding on a Bitcoin-only platform makes a lot of sense to Preukschat, whose basic goal is to educate people about Crypto-currencies and introduce them to Bitcoin Cypherpunks roots.
To get more depth on the story, Bitcoin Magazine spoke with Preukschat to find out more about the new comic book and about the decision to float it on SWARM.
BM: What inspired you to write ‘The Hunt for Satoshi Nakamoto’?
AP: I believe that money is a fundamental tool of society and that it needs to be understood by as many people as possible to help create a better financial and monetary system. Money from my point of view can only be as good as the people using it and to achieve the highest possible quality money people need to be as educated as possible about its functions and characteristics. From my point of view Bitcoin is the ideal money to create interest in the whole subject. Our objective with the graphic novel is to transmit many of those educational aspects about money without people having to feel intimidated by finance or technology. We hope that people will share it with their friends, family, children and parents to share their passion about Bitcoin in an easy way and also to attract many more people from other communities to get people more interested in money and Bitcoin.
BM: How long have you been working on the comic, and how did you three distribute the workload?
AP: We started working on the comic book [in] October 2013 and it will be published October 2014 in Spain. The workload has been very different during the creation process. Initially we worked a long time on the type of story we wanted to create. To do that we developed 5 different possible story lines and discussed the ideas with different Bitcoiners and between ourselves. At the end we decided to go for an adventure story to make the story interesting to all people and to integrate the relevant aspects of Bitcoin and money in the storyline so that everyone could understand the relevance of money and Bitcoin without too much effort. My work has been mainly in defining the script and we had a short break while José Ángel worked on the illustration, but in the final stages I had to work many hours to work through all the details we wanted to have included plus the annex we have created about the Bitcoin ecosystem. Participating in CoinSummit in London was a great opportunity because it was the first time we showed our product after 10 months of work and we did not know what to expect, but fortunately the welcoming has been great and our trailer video has been very popular.
BM: We’ve heard that there are hidden teasers throughout the story, can you tell us something about these?
AP: This is something I was mainly responsible and enjoyed a lot and where Félix Moreno de la Cova, a Spanish Bitcoiner, also helped me to brainstorm for nice spots to place fun and interesting references to cryptography and Bitcoin. The main character of the story is called Bob and his girlfriend is Alice and many of other characters also have names related to cryptography. There are pages where Jeff Garzik and Gavin Andresen appear, the Shiba Inu from Dogecoin or KimDotCom from Mega setting up an account with his service while doing the NSA entropy game they offer when setting up an account. The idea is to make it fun for Bitcoiners to search and find the many references we have inserted in the book, but also to make it interesting for someone new to the space to read the book a second time and after having learned more about Bitcoin to recognize some of the many references we make.
BM: What is your goal in joining with SWARM? What do you aim to get from it and what will investors in your comic book get out of it?
AP: We really like the SWARM team and think we are both very much philosophically aligned about how we see some aspects of how our world operates. They are as passionate as we are with their work and we like to work with people who have a sense of craftsmanship of what they do. We hope that we will be able to pre-sell 1,000 copies for the English edition and gather some funds to be able to participate in Bitcoin and comic conferences around the world to present the Bitcoin graphic novel we have created. We are also looking for contacts and introductions to quality publishers around the world to get the Bitcoin message to as many people as possible. We believe that the Bitcoin community and SWARM funders will benefit by contributing to the English edition that can be shared with family and friends to let them learn more about Bitcoin in an easy and relaxed way. We also believe that a graphic novel will contribute to the Bitcoin global branding in a positive way within a context where people don’t have to feel intimidated by technology and finance and just enjoy reading a cool story that introduces them to Bitcoin and money in a fresh way.
When Bitcoin Magazine approached SWARM for a comment on their planned initiative with BitcoinComic, Ben Ingram said: “When we first met Alex and he showed us ‘The Hunt for Satoshi Nakamoto’ we immediately knew we had to launch this on Swarm. This comic will help to take Bitcoin to a new (and hopefully even younger) audience in a way that is fun. For those of us who are in the BTC community, it’s going to be a fantastic memento of this time, when Bitcoin is beginning to pervade general consciousness. The book is beautifully illustrated, full of interesting nods to other seminal works. Beyond the great book, Alex has a fantastic outlook on life and the future of Bitcoin, and his rationale for the years of labour that he and his team have invested is truly inspiring. When explaining why and his aims, he said to me “How can I tell my daughter in twenty years that we had some opportunity to help achieve financial freedom for our children, but instead we just sat by and watched? I hope this book can help in some small way with the growth of the bitcoin cause.”
It’s a noble effort, and I can’t wait to get my hands on one of the limited and signed ‘founder editions’. It is worth mentioning that via the launch on Swarm there will be a couple of opportunities available for a few individuals to be ‘drawn’ into the book; we expect these little slices of comic immortality to sell fast. Please subscribe to the Swarm newsletter (via www.swarmcorp.com) to be notified of launch date and full launch details.”