Netflix’s latest documentary will make you think twice about cryptocurrency

A man with his head bandaged in Trust No One: The Hunt for the Crypto King
(Image credit: Netflix)

Netflix really is in fraud mode right now. 

The likes of Inventing Anna, The Tinder Swindler and Bad Vegan have all taken a microscope to various schemers in recent weeks – but the streamer’s latest documentary tells its most shocking story of potential deception yet. 

We say 'potential deception' because the criminality of its subject, Gerald Cotten, remains unproven to this day. Trust No One: The Hunt for the Crypto King charts the rise and fall of Cotten’s cryptocurrency exchange, QuadrigaCX, which collapsed – along with $190 million of customer holdings – following its founder's unexplained death in 2018. 

Was Cotten murdered? Did he fake his own death and steal the money? Does his wife have something to do with the case? These are all questions Netflix’s latest true-crime feature tries (and, ultimately, fails) to answer, which make its mere 90-minute runtime so absorbing.

Check out the trailer for Trust No One: The Hunt for the Crypto King below:

That feature-length duration also means the new Netflix documentary qualifies for a place on the streamer’s weekly list of biggest movies. In its first week of release, Trust No One raked in over 12 million viewing hours, making it the third-biggest movie on the streaming service over the past seven days.  

Those numbers can’t quite compete with fellow Netflix documentaries The Tinder Swindler and Bad Vegan: Fame. Fraud. Fugitives. – the former earned 45.8 million views in its first week of release, while the latter raked in 26.96 million – but they’re nonetheless a sign that audiences are still interested in real-life stories that prove stranger than fiction.  

Peril in passwords 

What’s more, everyone is saying the same thing about Trust No One: The Hunt for the Crypto King. Cryptocurrency as a medium of exchange remains murky – the selling point, and simultaneous pitfall, of the technology is its independence from any central authority. 

In Netflix’s latest tale of woe, the titular cryptocurrency tycoon, Gerald Cotten, takes the passwords to his empire with him to his grave, leaving $190 million locked away in the digital ether (in a desperate attempt to recover his losses, one investor loses his life savings).

Audiences have therefore responded with increased skepticism towards cryptocurrency as a method of investment – “‘not your keys, not your coins” is the old adage being bandied around social media following the documentary’s release. 

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“Watched Trust No One: The Hunt for the Crypto King on Netflix and it just struck my mind that these exchanges can disappear with our money and nothing will happen,” one Twitter user wrote. 

“Trust No One on Netflix is the reason I don’t invest in crypto or the stock market in general,” said another

It’s clear, then, that the streamer’s latest true-crime feature is yet another cautionary tale – this time, not against dating sites or unscrupulous restaurateurs, but the digital stock market as a dangerous gamble.

Axel Metz
Senior Staff Writer

Axel is a London-based Senior Staff Writer at TechRadar, reporting on everything from the latest Apple developments to newest movies as part of the site's daily news output. Having previously written for publications including Esquire and FourFourTwo, Axel is well-versed in the applications of technology beyond the desktop, and his coverage extends from general reporting and analysis to in-depth interviews and opinion. 

Axel studied for a degree in English Literature at the University of Warwick before joining TechRadar in 2020, where he then earned an NCTJ qualification as part of the company’s inaugural digital training scheme.