Bitcoin and crypto assets are far from the levels of popularity they had at the peak of 2017’s bubble. Yet this asset class remains a key theme in pop culture, acting as a plot device in the latest episode of one of television’s hottest finance dramas.
Here’s how this latest cameo of the orange coin went down on this show.
Bitcoin On “Billions”
On Sunday night, supersized finance drama Billions had its season five premiere on Showtime. It was a much-anticipated release, making it all the more surprising when the words “Bitcoin” escaped the lips of an actor.
Not to spoil too much but the character that is a U.S. state attorney rants about how absurd he finds the concept of mining and the value of BTC:
“So your multitude of computers and services solve some abstract math equations resulting in the mining of what, Bitcoin? Worth millions right now, backed by what?”
#Billions mentioned #Bitcoin in their season 5 premiere tonight pic.twitter.com/IrZ2GroxZw
— LilMoonLambo (@LilMoonLambo) May 4, 2020
Those he asked the question to, like many Bitcoiners, responded by noting how the U.S. dollar is also “not backed” by again but the government.
It isn’t clear what pushed Billions writers to mention Bitcoin but show co-creator Andrew Ross Sorkin, a CNBC anchor, has long covered the cryptocurrency in both positive and negative lights.
Starting to Go Mainstream
This mention of Bitcoin in Billions is far from the first time the orange coin has graced the televisions of the Western world.
Cryptocurrencies are commonly accepted mediums of exchange in a second season episode of Altered Carbon. The show is about a futurist society where death becomes irrelevant as human bodies become interchangeable.
In that episode, the logos of Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, Decred, Monero, and Zcash appeared in a shop, as can be seen below.
What is especially interesting about this still from the episode is that it depicts small items being sold for low prices like 0.879 BTC — worth around $7,500 today.
Image obtained from /r/cryptocurrency subreddit
That’s far from the most impressive mention of Bitcoin on television.
In February, The Simpsons dedicated the 13th episode of the 31st season, titled “Frinkcoin,” to cryptocurrency and blockchain.
That episode featured Jim Parsons, the actor behind Sheldon Cooper in “The Big Bang Theory,” who explained how blockchain underpins cryptocurrency and how digital assets are decentralized.
The Simpsons‘ writers also joked in a title card that they “know who Satoshi is,” but wouldn’t tell, and that “crypto can be generated by fiat like traditional currency.”
The Public Wants Bitcoin
Bitcoin’s appearance on “Billions” comes at a perfect time: the public’s interest in cryptocurrency has rocketed over the past month.
Due to a confluence of trends including the Bitcoin block reward halving, the amount of interest the public has in our favorite orange coin has skyrocketed.
The Chinese terms for “BTC” and “Bitcoin halving” briefly trended as part of the top 20 searches on ‘China’s Twitter’, Weibo. Weibo is used by over 400 million users monthly.
In the Western world, Google Trends data is indicating that some crypto-related terms are starting to gain popularity while Bitcoin mentions on Twitter have started to increase.
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash