Bitcoin pioneer Jeff Garzik's production company NextCypher has tapped "Star Trek's" Jonathan Frakes to direct an adaptation of sci-fi novel "Deathlands."

Frakes, who starred as Commander Riker on "Star Trek: The Next Generation," is a veteran director who's helmed TV shows including "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds," "Star Trek: Picard," and "Leverage: Redemption."

"It's absolutely amazing," Garzik told Decrypt, adding that he was "incredibly humbled and blessed" to have Frakes join the project.


Based on a series of novels by James Axler and Jack Adrian, "Deathlands" follows a band of survivors traversing a post-apocalyptic world using teleportation technology. "It's post-apocalyptic, Mad Max meets AI meets the monsters from 'Tremors' and everything in between," Garzik said.

The TV show is a "refreshed" adaptation of the novel series, Garzik explained, noting that "the books were a post-Cold War, post-nuclear war scenario," and that the TV show updates the setting to "post-AI driven chaos and all the fun that happens after that."

"I know 'Deathlands' doesn't scream optimism from the title," he said. "But it's about a group of plucky survivors that continue to persevere despite what we throw at them every week. To me, that's optimistic—and I think that inspired Frakes."

Linux and Bitcoin Core developer Jeff Garzik's production company is working on an adaptation of "Deathlands."
Source: Jeff Garzik

The first show into production on NextCypher's slate, "Deathlands" will go before the cameras in Sofia, Bulgaria this spring. Garzik serves as executive producer on the series alongside Thomas P. Vitale, with "Pandora" and "Agent X" producer Mark A. Altman as its showrunner.

A key developer of the Linux operating system and Bitcoin Core project, Garzik founded NextCypher Productions in 2022, aiming to use Web3 tools to produce independent science fiction entertainment.


Garzik, who also co-founded Bloq, Spacechain, and Vesper Finance, explained that the firm plans to leverage Web3 technologies such as non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to give fans early access to productions.

While stressing that the "details may change," Garzik explained that the production company's playbook includes a run of 1,138 NextCypher multipass NFTs that are "cross-production, not tied to any one IP or one specific production," as well as "production-specific NFT runs."

Holders of the multipass NFTs will be offered a "discount or a tranche or a first bite at the apple" for the "Deathlands" NFTs, which will offer rewards such as gated access to downloadable digital assets, Discord events and competitions. Other ideas on the roadmap include contests to win Zoom chats with the showrunners, contributing to the design of props, costumes and sets, competitions to win those show-used items, and a "very rare trip to Sofia, Bulgaria" to visit the set.

Garzik said that NextCypher isn't currently exploring Web3 financing and distribution models for its shows.

"It's not there yet from a practical basis for NextCypher specifically, to the point where we would dedicate an IP to a Web3 streaming platform." He added that the production company is taking a "hybrid approach," involving traditional financing and distribution models for known properties, while "weaving in" Web3's "proof of fan base" element.

"Hopefully the flywheel starts moving," he said. "We gain some momentum, we prove that we can actually produce, and then more of the Web3 funding doors open."

Edited by Stacy Elliott.

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