The new installment of the cult animated science-fiction sitcom Futurama titled "How the West Was 1010001" tells about crypto. Particularly, the plot of the episode revolves around failed investments and extraction of the metal needed for Bitcoin mining. Let’s explore the details, see the community’s reaction, and remember other series where crypto made its way into television. Note: minor spoilers ahead; proceed with caution!
The episode opens with Professor Farnsworth, the founder of Planet Express, reporting bankruptcy. Having invested all the company's funds in bitcoin, he finds himself at a loss due to the plummeting of the exchange rate. Simultaneously, a news broadcast announces that the price of virtual currency has rebounded, causing a "high-tech gold rush". Miners are heading west in search of cheap electricity for their operations.
Inspired by such a prospect, Farnsworth decides to journey west, too. Leela, however, says that Bitcoin is a “pyramid scheme” (actually, it is not, check our article) for ordinary people, and the Professor responds that he wants to capitalize on the trend. His plan involves extracting thallium — a metal used in mining equipment — and selling it to miners, thereby repaying the borrowed funds to purchase Bitcoin. The episode’s title intertwined with this scheme: 1010001 translates to 81 in binary, and thallium is the 81st element on the periodic table.
Next, the heroes travel to Doge City, the epicenter of the episode’s main events. As they near their destination, the heroine named Amy Wong says, "We made it!" — a playful reference to the popular slang expression “WAGMI” (We're All Gonna Make It), symbolizing the community’s collective optimism toward financial success.
Within a saloon,the heroes encounter a Shiba-Inu dog seated nearby. The saloon’s pianist warns them of the bartender’s ever-shifting mood, which is as volatile as Bitcoin. Delilah, the bartender, warmly welcomes the newcomers, but then throws out one of the guests.
With much more references to the crypto world abound in this episode, we encourage you to watch it yourself.
Response from the crypto community
Billy Markus, one of Dogecoin's creators, reacted to the episode by calling Dogecoin a "silly thing", which 10 years later reached Futurama.
Crypto in popular cartoon series
This is not the first case when cryptocurrencies are mentioned in popular animated shows. For instance, in an episode of South Park “Pajama Day”, creators mocked the advertisement for Crypto.com exchange starring actor Matt Damon, where a character’s father loses all his money because of the advertised exchange.
And, of course, The Simpsons also ventured in the crypto territory. In the episode “Frinkcoin”, Jim Parsons from The Big Bang Theory, explains how cryptocurrency works and what blockchain is. Interestingly, the episode aired in February 2020, when Bitcoin’s price was less than $11,000.
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