Bitcoin logo is seen on an android mobile phone. (Photo by Omar Marques/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Bitcoin and cryptocurrency have found an unlikely home: on British soap opera Coronation Street, a TV programme watched by some eight million people per episode.
Though bitcoin could now be considered mainstream — the original cryptocurrency also got a recent mention on Eminem's latest album — there is still a huge segment of the world's population that are unaware of bitcoin.
Many bitcoin and cryptocurrency speculators think that as the market for investment widens to include older generations and the less tech savvy, it could mean a surge of investment — pushing bitcoin prices far and above their all-time highs.
Bitcoin hit a whopping $19,000 late last year, pulling many other major cryptocurrencies with it, but last years bull run — beginning with bitcoin worth under $1,000 at the beginning of the year — has collapsed in 2018.
Bitcoin has slumped considerably from its all-time high but remains well above its price of just a little over a year ago.CoinDesk
The bitcoin price has sunk some 60% from its all-time high and is currently bobbing around the $6,000 mark as investors and traders await regulatory approval which could send bitcoin and cryptocurrencies higher across the board.
While much of the recent chatter around bitcoin and cryptocurrency prices has been all about exchange-traded funds (ETFs) — which could open bitcoin to a much wider investment market — many bitcoin evangelists, including bitcoin guru Andreas Antonopoulos, would rather see bitcoin adoption driving the price as people around the world choose to use cryptocurrencies over the likes of PayPal, Visa, and MasterCard.
Bitcoin being a major plot point in UK soap opera Coronation Street is a step in the right direction here.
Although the story involving bitcoin (termed whipcoin for some inexplicable reason) is about a character buying some cryptocurrency years ago only to realize its much-increased value now (this kind of get-rich-quick reason for bitcoin investment is hardly entirely positive) there will at least be millions more people out there aware of bitcoin, cryptocurrency and (to a lesser extent) the underlying blockchain technology than there were previously.
It also goes to show the depth that bitcoin awareness has, at least to some degree, already penetrated into the collective consciousness — that it could be considered a major plot point at all.
Whether it's though a bitcoin ETF or not, there is certainly scope for far many more people buying into bitcoin as every year passes.
Here's what actually happened on the show...
Ryan Connor, a character who has been on the Street (as it's called) on and off since 2006, is a former drug addict, a problem gambler, and jobbing DJ.
After blowing his latest gig fee at the bookies he tells his friend that he invested £50 in whipcoin some years ago. The pair do some research and find that his original investment is now worth some £250 million.
However, Ryan — of course — cannot remember the password to his whipcoin account, a story that is fast becoming cliche in pop cryptocurrency writing.
Eventually, they track down the password, but their previous research was apparently massively out of date — the coins are now near worthless — suggesting Coronation Street's writers have been following the altcoin price scene surprisingly closely.
Billy Bambrough Contributor