Vox’s Netflix show, Explained, recently dedicated an entire episode to cryptocurrencies and bitcoin. The show described how cryptocurrencies could “revolutionize the way we spend money”, but that they’re also far from perfect.
It’s yet another example of cryptocurrencies reaching mainstream audiences. Over the past year, we’ve seen bitcoin and cryptocurrencies play major roles on shows like The Big Bang Theory and Silicon Valley. Now, viewers of Explained can get caught up on the surging industry.
The first season of Explained features five episodes covering a range of topics. “Cryptocurrency” is the first episode. The episode launched with the following description:
“Cryptocurrency has made people billionaires, but is digital cash the next revolution? Learn about this anonymous currency and why it’s so coveted.”
Netflix is heavily promoting Explained across its platform. Many users report seeing Explained in the coveted headline advertising slot on the Netflix homepage, for example. When you click “Play” to watch Explained, you’re taken directly to the “Cryptocurrency” episode (it’s the first episode of the first season). This could be huge for introducing new users to cryptocurrencies.
The other four episodes in Explained are titled, “K-Pop”, “Monogamy”, “Designer DNA”, and “The Racial Wealth Gap”. Note: it appears the episodes are displayed in no particular order. For some users, “Cryptocurrency” is the first episode, while other users see it as the fourth episode in the season.
Vox, which creates the Netflix show Explained, also published an article explaining their findings from the “Cryptocurrency” episode.
Vox plans to publish new episodes of Explained every week. Future shows will explore topics ranging from gene editing to the stock market. If you’re familiar with Vox’s existing online videos at Vox.com, then you’ll find Explained has a similar feel.
Some aspects of the episode may rub cryptocurrency fans the wrong way. Calling all cryptocurrencies “anonymous”, for example, is a little bit misleading. It facilitates the myth that bitcoin is exclusively for drug deals and dark web purchases online.
Vox compounds this issue further by describing bitcoin as
“anonymous, untraceable digital cash that you can spend freely, without interference from the government, a corporation, or big banks.” Vox goes on to explain that “anyone can use it [bitcoin] just by signing up online and entering credit card information.”
Simplifications aside, it’s good to see bitcoin and cryptocurrencies getting their time in the limelight. 2017 was the year the general public heard about bitcoin and cryptocurrencies for the first time. Maybe 2018 will be the year that the general public understands how cryptocurrencies really work.