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Bitcoin-Funded 3D-Printed Gun Documentary by Wallet Manufacturer

Oct 17, 2023 at 06:56 am

Samourai Wallet, a leading advocate for privacy-centric digital wallets, has taken a noteworthy stride by assuming the role of executive producer for an upcoming documentary titled "Death Athletic: A Dissident Architecture." This documentary revolves around Cody Wilson, a prominent figure advocating for personally crafted firearms. This foray into supporting the arts represents a distinctive move for the Bitcoin wallet company, which is widely recognized for its strong emphasis on privacy.

In 2021, Samourai Wallet played a crucial role in funding the post-production phase of the film. This financial support, in conjunction with fellow executive producer Thomas Donnelly, played a pivotal role in bringing the project to fruition. While the exact budget remains undisclosed, it has been confirmed to be in the six-figure range.

The documentary unravels Wilson's story over a span of seven years, providing an intricate account of his legal clashes with the U.S. government and 20 state attorneys general. At the heart of these conflicts lies Wilson's endeavor to disseminate files that detail the manufacturing of weapons using a 3D printer or computer numerical control (CNC) mill. These firearms, commonly referred to as "ghost guns," can be produced without any designated serial number or formal registration.

"Death Athletic" also delves into Wilson's arrest for sexual assault in 2018, his subsequent plea to a reduced charge, the probationary sentence he received, and his eventual return to Defense Distributed. During his absence, the organization was temporarily overseen by Paloma Heindorff.

Samourai has expressed the belief that the cultural foundation of a movement profoundly influences its endurance and allegiance to the initial vision. To reinforce this belief, the wallet company has made various Bitcoin contributions to artists and creatives within the space over the years. However, their involvement in financing "Death Athletic" stands as their most substantial support to date.

The scene from "Death Athletic" showcases the Austin, Texas office of Defense Distributed. This is where the events unfold. (Captured by Jessica Solce)The scene from "Death Athletic" showcases the Austin, Texas office of Defense Distributed. This is where the events unfold. (Captured by Jessica Solce) 

Many early adopters and dedicated Bitcoin enthusiasts perceive Wilson as a kindred spirit, not solely due to his involvement in Dark Wallet, an early precursor to privacy-focused software projects like Samourai. Wilson has consistently argued that sharing open-source weapon blueprints constitutes an act of speech, protected under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution—an argument that aligns with the viewpoints frequently advocated by cryptocurrency proponents against specific forms of regulation.

"We discern significant parallels between the homemade gun sphere and the entirely sovereign private Bitcoin sphere," asserted Samourai. "Both face substantial stigmatization in the media, and both necessitate individuals of great resolve to contend against all odds. There are valuable insights that both communities can glean from one another."

In addition to mainstream platforms like iTunes, Amazon, and Google, "Death Athletic" will also be accessible through an online store that accepts Bitcoin. This platform operates on the BTCPay Server merchant software, a detail confirmed by the film's director, Jessica Solce.

Read more: Cryptocurrency Investment Flows: A Roller Coaster Ride in October

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