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Crypto Gets Primetime TV Spotlight on HBO’s Silicon Valley and Showtime’s Billions

Ever since Bitcoin’s meteoric rise to $20K at the tail end of 2017, cryptocurrency piqued the interest of mainstream audiences and has been featured on television shows such as the Big Bang Theory. During this Sunday night’s primetime lineup, not just one, but two highly-rated TV shows prominently featured cryptocurrency in their show’s themes.

Sunday night’s episode – episode 7 of season 5 – of HBO’s Silicon Valley was entitled ‘Initial Coin Offering.’ While the show has featured crypto in the past, even showing an image of leading cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase during its opening credits, this episode made cryptocurrency an unmissable focal point of the show.

In the episode, one of the show’s lead characters, Bertram Gilfoyle (played by Martin Starr) is convinced that the show’s focal startup Pied Piper should pass up a venture capital funding deal and instead hold an initial coin offering to finance PiperNet – a decentralized internet project the firm is developing.

Gilfoyle is bullish on crypto, saying that “there are very few things that I will defend with true passion: medical marijuana, the Biblical Data as a metaphor for rebellion against tyranny, and motherfuckin’ cryptocurrency.” Gilfoyle even offers a PowerPoint presentation to sell his cast mates on crypto.

Pied Piper eventually launches its PiedPiperCoin ICO and watches the value reach $0.07 per coin.

Also during Sunday evening’s television lineup, on Silicon Valley’s rival network Showtime, another show referenced cryptocurrency albeit not in as big of a way. Showtime’s Billions is about hedge fund Axe Capital. In episode 7, season 3 entitled ‘Not You, Mr. Dake’ hedge fund manager Bobby “Axe” Axelrod (played by Damian Lewis) is shown handing over a Ledger S Nano to move a substantial amount of funds.

Each television show brings in between 500,000 and 1M viewers per episode (according to Nielsen ratings data) on the premium cable channels HBO and Showtime, exposing cryptocurrency themes to the public en masse.