A hand reaches out in the dim, a keyboard clack. Command lines flood up on a screen to the tinkling of electronic clatter. An orange sphere enters view, the command to awake received. No, wait, a coin. With a marking below his face perhaps interpretable as the ‘B’ alphabet.
A confused, shaky greeting is the first utterance from ‘B’ as its creator looms over him. A cryptic message is issued. Then he is abandoned. Left to discover who or what his nature is in an unforgiving world.
Yet ‘B’ is not without friends.
It’s a take on the first scenes from the trailer of “Bitcoin and Friends“, the fan-funded animated series from Uncle Chris Productions that tells the implausible story of how Bitcoin went from obscure code to world’s most popular digital currency and geek darling of the internet. At least, that’s one way of looking at it.
For those who’ve seen it, it’s the opening of Episode 1: Tears of a Clown, freshly released to the public yesterday. It tells the story of a coin who wakes up alone in New Jersey amid the chaos of the 2009 financial crisis. After meeting ice-cream truck driver Jones, they go in search of his father.
What happens in the episode is a lot less sanitized than the previous description.
Making Bitcoin fun again
Producer Robert Allen told Bitcoin News that the guys behind the new series were from a diverse range of backgrounds, from video production to banking and “all united in our deep love of Bitcoin, comedy and cartoons”.
Asked about the inspiration behind Bitcoin and Friends, Allen said:
“The story of Bitcoin and crypto is so colorful that it was an obvious treasure trove of good comedy and compelling characters and stories, so we knew we had to do something with that. Definitely, it was a long time coming and it needed to be done. We hope the community feels the same and embraces what we are creating.”
Bitcoin, Bitcoin News is told (we asked), is also “100% binary” and has chosen not to self identify. Uncle Chris, creator and director, and the voice actor for the central character Bitcoin, hints at some of the other messaging in the show:
“In the pilot episode, we start at the beginning of Bitcoin in 2009 and wanted to show the frailty and uncertainty of those early days. Bitcoin will become more powerful and confident as the season progresses.”
The location of New Jersey, “a nice in between and cross-section of America”, was also deliberate: “We wanted to show the struggles of many in a rust belt town but also wanted to be close enough to NYC to have some scenes there as well.”
Wholesome fare for Bitcoiners and Nocoiners
The guys behind Bitcoin and Friends wrote the cartooon with the main aim of creating a compelling story and to entertain people. Bitcoin News asked if the people involved were actual Bitcoin users and supporters. Allen’s response was that it didn’t matter, and that people shouldn’t take themselves or others too seriously:
“…we hope to also educate non-crypto people about Bitcoin and related technologies and bring them into the space. We think it could be a good entry point for the non-initiated. We also hope the show will be a bit of a pressure release valve for the crypto community at large… We don’t think an actor has to be a Bitcoiner to be involved with the project. After all, how do you spread the word about Bitcoin if you only talk to other Bitcoiners?”
That said, there are some clear indications of where the loyalties lie for some members of the crew. The “core team” consists of Uncle Chris, Jumper Jake, Broccoli Rob and Berdian Torres, with some choosing to use pseudonyms as a homage to Satoshi.
Will Japanese school girls ditch Hello Kitty for Bitcoin and Friends?
Bitcoin may have friends but he can’t finish his story without his fans. As a fan-funded production, Bitcoin and Friends are seeking donations in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency. Rob (Allen) explained:
“We have several seasons outlined and hope that the show catches on so that we can continue to produce episodes. For those who enjoy the show, we ask that you please help us get the word out and donate to help us cover the production costs. Bitcoin is already famous, but we want school girls in Japan to replace their Hello Kitty gear with Bitcoin and Friends merch someday soon!”
Will there be a happy ending for Bitcoin?
“Are you talking about a reach-around?” Rob winks. “The story of Bitcoin is still being written, but we are hoping for a very happy ending.”
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Image Courtesy: Bitcoin and Friends