Bitcoin and Friends episode 3 recently launched. If you’re familiar with the program, you know the show is deeper than it looks and often requires some unpacking. If you aren’t familiar with it yet, you’re in for a trip.
What Is Bitcoin and Friends?
The episodes chronicle a gritty cartoon version of the early days of the cryptocurrency boom. The timeline doesn’t exactly line up but many of the major events and characters in the show are historically based. Examples include the Mitalik character based on the Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin. Similarly, Harold is a cautionary tale of early crypto adopters. For more analysis, look at our previous articles on the show, linked in the next section.
Before we proceed, know that the following summaries and analysis will contain episode spoilers. So, if you’re interested in watching the show, you might want to do that first. Episodes are on YouTube and at the website linked above.
A final warning: the show includes drug references, sexual images, and some violence. So, you might not want to use it to educate your children about crypto.
A Look Back at Episodes 1 and 2
The first episode opened with Bitcoin waking up on a table in New Jersey during the Great Recession. Lost and confused, he meets Jones. Jones lost everything in the recession and now sells drugs out of an ice cream truck.
Jones introduces “B” to Harold and Mitalik. Mitalik explains the potential value of Bitcoin and the group set out in search of Satoshi Nakamoto. When the group find just some guy named Satoshi rather than the anonymous creator of Bitcoin, they follow itty bitties that B throws up.
Itty bitties lead them to Pal Fifty, who explains that Bitcoin is on the road to replacing cash.
The second episode opens with the graphic death of Pal Fifty. The group can no longer follow the itty bitties because there are too many miners, causing the coins to scatter. The group splits up.
B becomes depressed and does drugs with Jones, and Harold gives up on cryptocurrency altogether. Mitalik, alone, begins to create the Ethereum project.
Later, B’s mysterious “father” equips B with weapons to use on his journey. These are the Divisibility Dagger, the Sword of Scarcity, the Shield of Durability” and the Portability Pack of Teleportability.
While looking for B, Mitalik and Jones stumble into “freedom fest” where they learn about the Silk Road and meet Ross Fullbrick. At the festival, B uses his new weapons to defeat the US dollar in a boxing match. This gains the attention of big banker Jamus Sapphire.
Episode 3 Plot Synopsis
Episode 3 opens with a farmer being possessed by aliens in a sequence borrowed from the original Men in Black. It then returns to Jamus, unphased at the destruction of the US dollar at the end of the previous episode. The episode follows Jamus to a bank meeting where he introduces “Pulse Loans” – “If you have a pulse, you get a loan.” The idea is to drive people into debt so that they will move into low-income housing. This housing is owned by “Congressman Candy”, present at the meeting. We also learn that a group called “FUD” is controlling Jamus.
We also meet a new character called “Carl” who is released from the state mental ward and returned to FUD.
Meanwhile, Bitcoin and Jones meet with Fullbrick, who convinces B to work for the Silk Road. He explains that B’s destiny is to
help fight the systemic use of force by decentralising money, and thus, power. Jones is unconvinced and returns to his search for B’s father. However, he is unable to recruit Mitalik, as he is busy on the Ethereum Project. He managed to create Ethereum but it appears as a disfigured character reminiscent of Frankenstein’s monster.
In the meantime, we learn that the job of the alien from the beginning of the episode is to destabilise the planet. Other aliens explain that
decentralisation is the next step in a species evolution. Bitcoin will usher in a new era if we are not careful. We cannot allow humans to advance into a great civilisation. His job is to create a “great diversion”.
Carl cripples the Silk Road by putting in more orders than they can fill. So, Fullbrick sends B on vacation. B trades in his itty bitties for cash and goes on a spending spree. He also uses the tools given to him by his father to impress a group of friends. However, they abandon him when he runs out of money.
Finally, the alien creates Litecoin by plugging his computer into a vat of cow dung.
References and Easter Eggs
Some of the characters we have already examined here and in our previous episode analysis articles. Ross Fulbrick is based on Ross Ulbricht, a real-life founder of the Silk Road.
Jamus isn’t likely to be any one person, but rather represents big banking in general. It is unclear whether Congressman Candy is based on anyone but is more likely to represent political corruption. Similarly, Carl is probably a composite of the law enforcement that pursued Ulbricht rather than any one person.
As for FUD, we don’t know much about the organization in the show. However, the acronym commonly stands for “Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt”, though in the show it’s an acronym for Federal Undercover Detective Agency.
I probably don’t need to point out that the show’s depiction of the creation of Litecoin makes it a literal “shitcoin”, which is also a derogatory term for altcoins. The alien who creates Litecoin is obviously Charlie Lee.
The episode was composed more of symbolic actions than symbolic characters. B’s use of his weapons to impress others likely represents people not appreciating Bitcoin for its true potential. Similarly, the friends that abandon B are likely people who sell their Bitcoin when the value drops.
Once again, Bitcoin and Friends has given us a nitty-gritty representation of the early days of crypto. The next episode is well on its way, and we’ll be waiting for it.
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.