An Interview with Alex Preukschat, creator of Bitcoin Comic: The Hunt for Satoshi Nakamoto
In Spain, a trio of friends are making a comic book about Bitcoin. Spelunk.in had a chat with with Alex Preukschat, technical author and creator of Bitcoin Comic: The Hunt for Satoshi Nakamoto.
“The Bitcoin Comic book (BitcoinComic.org) is a 112 page matrix style adventure graphic novel with an educational twist,” explained Alex. “We decided to do an adventure story to attract anyone who wants to read a great story, but at the same time during the plot we explain the main aspects about money and bitcoin. Our main aim is to educate people in a fun and easy way about money and bitcoin because we think that people need to understand money to create a better society.
He further explained “Our money can only be as good as the people using it, and the people using it need to be educated about it to create better quality money. Bitcoin offers all that because it allows any user to become his own central bank through the decentralized consensus based Bitcoin protocol.”
The Story: The plot revolves around two characters: Alice and Bob. Bob is being chased by a mafioso group of thugs who think he’s Satoshi Nakamoto and who are trying to kill him to grab his stash of Bitcoins (which is rumoured to be worth about $1bn), but Bob is saved by Tak; a cypherpunk hacker who knows the score and is watching out for him. Bob says he’s totally innocent and doesn’t even know what Bitcoin is, so Tak has to explain it to him and to add to the mix, agents contracted by the NSA are monitoring the situation, and they have their own ideas about what to do with “Satoshi”…
The comic is littered with subtle visual references and the dialogue lays out in straight terms what Bitcoin is, why it’s so radical and what blockchain technology means for governments and society in general. It’s illustrated in an edgy street-wise style that will appeal to a young independent comic-buying crowd.
“The Hunt for Satoshi” has a crowdfunding campaign running on Swarm to raise 42BTC in order to go to print in November 2014. They will be printing 1500 copies in Spanish, 1000 in Polish (released later this year), and the English version will depend on how well their crowdfunding efforts go. US readers can either buy the book through Swarm, or visit Los Angeles based Meltdown Comics. The book is being put out by Spanish publisher Dibbuks. At the time of this article, they are at 41%. Future plans for the book include a digital version on Comixology.
“I learned about [bitcoin] for the first time April 2011, but I got goxed when I tried to buy some with MtGox that same year,” said Alex. “I didn’t look into it again until early 2013, which is when I bought some. I learned about it in a video from Amir Taaki talking in a Amsterdam and loved the philosophy behind it and wanted to explore more.”
Alex met SWARM.co in London at Coinsumm.it, where he did a presentation of the comic book to the bitcoin community.
“I met swarm and we fell in love into each others projects and decided it to be the first project the run on their bitcoin 2.0 crowdfunding platform,” added Alex. “It is a very cool way to do crowdfunding.”
“I met the Spanish publisher in Angouleme two years ago and we became friends. Angouleme is the biggest comic show in Europe. I’ve been reading comic books since my childhood – initially Batman, Superman, Spiderman and Asterix. After university I started reconnecting with comic books and discovered Maus, Persepolis, etc and got completly hooked again into graphic novels. For me graphic novels are an amazing form of art.”
“Last October I proposed Ricardo from Dibbuks to do a comic about bitcoin and he immediately loved the idea and introduced me to Josep,” said Alex. Josep Busquet is his co-author, who handles the main plot. His previous work includes La revolución de los pinceles (2009), Bacon and Friends (2012) and Puntos de experiencia (2013). Josep introduced him to José Ángel Ares, an artist. Some of his previous work includes Solomon Kane (2011), Apalpa-dor vs Papá Noel (2012) and Rosa y Javier (2013), which was his first graphic novel.
The publisher didn’t know what Bitcoin was until this project, but now plans to make all of his books available with cryptocurrency.
When asked how he thinks comic fans will react to the story, Alex replied “I think they will recognize a cool story about bitcoin and then discover how similar that world is to the comic world. A world of freedom where we do amazing things in the real world and share them for humanity to create a better world.”
Bitcoin Foundation chief scientist Gavin Andresen will sign five copies of “The Hunt for Satoshi” in dedication to the memory of Hal Finney, the cryptographer who was the first employee at PGP Corporation, who created the Re-Usable Proofs of Work scheme on which Bitcoin is based and who received the first-ever Bitcoin transaction from Satoshi himself. Hidden in a 90’s message in the book is a dedication to Hal.
They are also running an art contest; information for both can be found at swarm.co/hal