Bitconned, Netflix's latest true-crime documentary, is at once funny and terrifying.
Bitconned is a documentary movie that revolves around Centra Tech, a fraudulent cryptocurrency company that swindled investors out of millions of dollars. The company made false promises of groundbreaking technology that would transform their cryptocurrency into a credible currency in the real world.
Netflix's latest true-crime documentary movie Bitconned would have made for quite a dull film. A team of entitled young men, who have sold their souls to the idea of internet stardom, creating a fake internet company to scam millions of dollars, spend mindlessly on luxury and flaunt their life in excess on social media without any conscience might have been considered as a run-of-the-mill heist comedy, crammed with cliches. However, as a documentary movie, it is an excellent study of not just criminal minds, but the innate fallacy of the human race.
Bitconned centres around an incredibly stupid person named Ray Trapani, who has likely spent the majority of his waking hours under the influence of one drug or the other. His life's ambition was to just make money allowing him to buy expensive things, food, clothes and holidays. He didn't want to work, so he decided to rob the people who work in honest-paying jobs, but at the same time nurture the ambition of gaining financial freedom.
It's clear that a sizable population across the world has been convinced that they can't get rich only through hard work and paychecks. And they seem to be failing to identify with the present financial institutions and systems that don't align with their personal goals. They are so disassociated with the mainstream banks that they are willing to invest money to envision a parallel banking system that could challenge the existing and the dominant ones.
This climate of discontent and desperation to live a better life, free of undue pressure and unpaid bills, creates opportunities for people like Ray Trapani to construct and execute a perfect scam literally with zero investment.
To cash in on the wave of cryptocurrency, Ray Trapani and his partner Sam “Sorbee” Sharma, who was allegedly the original brains behind this fraud, founded a crypto company Centra Tech. The company promised a banking solution that would allow people with tons of cryptocurrency to spend in the real world. The company promised a debit card approved by the likes of "Visa" and a banking app that allows its users to buy stuff with their crypto money. The hard-core believers saw a lot of promise in the startup and invested millions of dollars, which mainly funded the extravagant lifestyle of Ray Trapani.
All it took to unravel the elaborate but flimsy lie of Ray Trapani and his company was a call from a newspaper reporter to the Visa and click on the LinkedIn profiles of people listed as top executives on Centra's website.
It seems in this day and age, all one needs is good looks, unshakable confidence in oneself, insatiable greed and no moral compass. Even when people like Ray Trapani get busted they end up on the very pleasant side of the law, with enough money to buy a fancy house, continue living the extravagant life and pursue their entrepreneurial dreams, while selling their stories to big studios.
The documentary is at once funny and terrifying. Funny because some of us didn't lose money in such a scam and terrifying because, we might have escaped this one, but we can't be so lucky during the next wave of the gold rush in some other form. After all, we are human too and crave financial independence.