[Updated at 17:50 pm GMT with quotes from Uncle Chris Productions.]
Hooray! Bitcoin and friends, a new eight-part cartoon series on YouTube featuring an anthropomorphised, incredibly depressed Bitcoin as the lead, debuted today with its first episode.
The episode follows “B," a young bitcoin searching vainly for his father—and himself—after waking up, alone, in a mysterious hospital bed. It's not long before he meets the requisite throng of colorful characters and, rest assured, the gang get into some serious mishaps.
We reached out to Uncle Chris Productions, the pseudonymous studio behind the series, which has written the full first series and is raising further funds for a second outing.
"Some of us decided to use pseudonyms in homage to Satoshi," explained "Broccoli Rob," who said that the core team consisted of "Uncle Chris," "Jumper Jake," "Broccoli Rob," and "Berdian Torres." (Is that last one real?) "Chris and Rob have been active in Bitcoin since 2013," he added. "Our backgrounds range from video production to banking but we are all united in our deep love of Bitcoin, comedy, and cartoons."
Rob hopes the show, which was inspired by the "thousands of brave souls who have left safe careers to forge a new path with Bitcoin and other crypto technologies," will be a "bit of a pressure release valve for the crypto community at large."
"We've seen some very salty dogs over the last year," he explained, "and we believe we can all make it through this journey together if we laugh a bit more at ourselves and others."
You can donate to the show via its website, which triggers rewards at certain sums: $15 will get you a private screening and AMA, for instance, while $2500 will get you a “personalised character” based on your likeness in the show. ("DISCLAIMER: Your avatar may or may not be killed in the episode.")
A transparent breakdown of how the funds are used appears on the front page: the current supply, for instance, is $52,054.
I found the whole thing hilarious. “B, ” with his sad, orange and lumpen features, looks like someone tried to crispr former US Attorney General Jeff Sessions into Donald Trump, and partially succeeded. The voice acting is funny too.
There are, of course, a series of rather unfortunate comparisons with the plight of people of color. The first pal B meets is Jones, an African-American who flogs peanut-butter ice-cream and heroin from the very same ice cream truck. Jones, also fatherless, has given up the search, because “if he ain’t here, fuck him.”
Jones, however, agrees to help B find his own father. “I guess a DNA test won’t work.”
B also suffers from a curious condition: he intermittently vomits up miniature, cheering versions of himself, which we quickly learn are the infamous “block rewards” that spawn new bitcoins. It is a rather disgusting way to illustrate the proof of work consensus protocol, the sort of David Cronenberg-style gothic body horror that wouldn’t have seemed out of place in The Human Centipede. It riveted me to no end.
We learn that this coin-vomiting is proof of work because B is brought by Jones to meet Vitalik Buterin (called “Mitalik” for whatever reason), who is neck-deep in some sort of fictional World of Warcraft knockoff called “Bloodcraft.” It’s not clear why the writers couldn’t just use World of Warcraft itself, since playing that game is reportedly all Buterin did before a lvl. 38 paladin humiliated him on the battlefield and he became the multimillionaire philosopher-king demi-god sex-icon he is today.
Nevertheless, the writers perfectly capture the moment of cathartic, orgasmic release that surely happened when Buterin—in a chronological twist—discovers what B/Bitcoin is. “It hash sholved the double shpend problem!” he lisps like a virgin Sean Connery, in awe, before launching into nobody’s favorite part of anything blockchain-related: “it’s a decentralized immutable ledger … etc. etc. etc.” (The reason B tends to speak his mind is because the blockchain is...transparent. Bazinga!)
Still, anyone with the faintest clue about the Bitcoin canon knows that Buterin wasn’t the first to stumble across it, and no doubt Bitcoin maximalists are already drafting death threats to the writers. (“This sort of Bitcoin revanchism is unconscionable!” I hear them sneer.)
Further case in point: B and Buterin track down Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto, thinking he must be B’s father, though all true Bitcoiners know that the computer programmer was wrongly outed by Newsweek, not Buterin. There’s also the part where a couple of hobos piss on young Bitcoin in a back-alley. I don’t recall that in the white paper.
Although the episode carries a faint whiff of Bitcoin historical revisionism, that a group of Bitcoiners have managed to produce a coherent, at-points genuinely amusing piece of art is an incredible feat. Why, next they’ll be interacting with their hated nocoiner families and making art about things that aren’t related to digital currency! Truly a good thing for Bitcoin.