You may remember that a while back we covered the launch of Bitcoin and Friends. The show uses cryptocurrency donations to fund production and rewards donors with exclusive prizes.
The show, which chronicles the early days of crypto, raised enough for the second episode, released on June 15. They’re also only 2.3 Bitcoin – or just under $US23,000 – from releasing the next episode.
What Is Bitcoin and Friends? A Recap
It’s been a while since the first episode launched. If you missed it or need a refresher, you can watch it on YouTube or on the Bitcoin and Friends site. If you want to dive into the second episode, you’ll need a recap.
The first episode started with Bitcoin – “B” for short – being created and abandoned by his mysterious father. Confused and alone, he wanders the streets of Great Recession-era New Jersey. When at his worst, he meets Jones, a foul-mouthed icecream truck driver/drug dealer.
Jones introduces B to computer nerds Harold and Mitalik. Harold and Mitalik explain the importance of cryptocurrencies but are unsure of where to go next. The team tracks down a man named Satoshi Nakamoto but it turns out to be a dead end. However, they do end up following the “itty bitties” that B periodically vomits up. At the end of the episode, they find Pal Fifty, who plays an important role in the second episode.
You may have noticed that many of the characters and events in episode one reference real people and events. For a deeper breakdown of the first episode, check out our earlier article here. If you want to actually watch the second episode, do so now. Our analysis will include spoilers.
In a final word of warning before you hit play, crypto is for everyone but this show is not for the young.
Episode 2 Plot Breakdown
Pal Fifty explains Nakamoto’s relationship to Bitcoin and encourages them to “find the letter” (alluding to the whitepaper) before graphically dying.
This leads the team to split up, with Harold and Mitalik going their way and B staying with Jones.
Mitalik goes into a slump after their breakup and Harold loses faith in the venture.
This whole Bitcoin thing is just a stupid fad, man, says Harold.
It took me all day to find some a**hole dumb enough to sell me two pizzas for it.
Mitalik, in an attempt to replace B in his own life, begins working on the Ethereum Project. However, when B begins throwing up more often, Jones gets concerned and calls Mitalik.
Later, B’s father returns to give him weapons to use on his journey. These are the “Divisibility Dagger”, the “Portability Pack of Teleportability”, the “Shield of Durability”, and the “Sword of Scarcity”. He leaves with the advice “follow the light”.
B follows fireworks to a “freedom festival” where entrants burn money and pay with precious metals. As his friends try to find him, Jones discovers that he’s been losing customers to “the Silk Road” created by “the Dread Pirate Roberts”.
Freedom Fest organizer, Ross Fullbrick, explains the problems with physical money like precious metals and subsequently fiats.
Bitcoin is a natural evolution of money into a digital gold standard, he explains.
We don’t live in a physical world anymore, boys. We need a means through which we can transfer value across the internet, anywhere, anytime. Freely.
At the end of the episode, B uses his new weapons to defeat the US dollar in a boxing match. This gains the attention of banker Jamus Sapphire.
Finding the Hidden Characters, Events, and Concepts
As discussed in the first article, many of the characters and events in the show are based on real life.
But, what about the characters that we met today?
This may be a spoiler a few episodes down the road. However, Ross Fullbrick sounds suspiciously like Ross Ulbricht. Ross Ulbricht was accused of being the real-life “Dread Pirate Roberts”, real-life founder of the Silk Road. The Silk Road was actually used to buy and sell drugs and other illegal items over the internet. Ulbricht was put on trial in 2015 but the timeline for this show is a little out of whack. The first episode takes place in 2008, six years before Finney passed away, which occurs at the beginning of episode two.
Finally, we don’t know much yet about the character of Jamus Sapphire. However, the Jammu Sapphire is a precious gem mined in India. The character is likely another composite character that represents the idea of commodity currency, controlled by big banks and governments, rather than any one individual.
Characters aren’t the only area in which the show’s writers adapt real-world concepts. The weapons given to B are named after scarcity, portability, durability, and divisibility. These are the four concepts that economists say that a currency should have to be viable.
This show is a strange adventure. While it is obviously highly fictionalized – and highly stylized, it does help to explain crypto. It also helps to capture some of the insanity of crypto’s early days with some added insanity of its own.
Jon Jaehnig is an American freelance writer specializing in Technology and Health. Jon has degrees in Scientific and Technical Communication and Journalism from Michigan Technological University and lives in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula with his wife and cat. For more from Jon, you can follow him on LinkedIn and Twitter.