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Bitcoin Goes Mainstream (Again) in Billions Season 5 Premiere

Bitcoin Goes Mainstream (Again) in Billions Season 5 Premiere 101
A fragment of the official poster for the fifth season of Billions.

This weekend’s big TV show event had a bitcoin (BTC) bent – with series five of Showtime’s Billions drama series focusing largely on the world’s most popular cryptocurency.

The first episode of the series aired over the weekend in the United States. Billions began airing on Showtime in 2016, and is partially based on the life of Preet Bharara, a former New York District Attorney.

But while previous seasons have focused on legal disputes with hedge fund managers and the manipulation of conventional stock markets, crypto enthusiasts were regaled by bitcoin-related themes during the season opener on May 3.

Particularly of note in the episode was a plotline about a group of cryptocurrency miners, operating a massive illegal BTC farm.

After arresting the miners, Billions protagonist Chuck confronts their ringleader, asking,

“So your multitude of computers and servers could solve some abstract math equations resulting in the mining of bitcoin? It’s worth millions right now. Whoopee! But it’s backed by what? Nada, nix, zot.”

However, the miner retorts with an astute response:

“What is the dollar backed by since we went off the gold standard?"

President Richard Nixon abandoned the gold standard back in 1971. And the retort appeared to flummox Chuck no end, as he began muttering somewhat vaguely about “roads, infrastructure and that sort of thing…” (A survey in 2019 showed that 29% of surveyed Americans believe that the US dollar is still backed by gold.)

Many crypto enthusiasts online were certainly impressed.

American author Ben Mezrich, who penned the book that Facebook-themed movie The Social Network was based on, enthused:

And one Redditor on the r/Bitcoin sub-Reddit stated that the episode left them feeling “kind of giddy.”

However, it's not the first time crypto is mentioned on the show. In the third season, aired in 2018, ambitious hedge fund king Bobby "Axe" Axelrod attempted to hide his profit in crypto.

Did you see the episode? What’s your take on Billions and its bitcoin theme? Let us know in the comments below!

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