The Big Bang Theory is one of the most popular sitcoms in the US, and around the world. When we heard a future episode would include content around cryptocurrency Bitcoin, it got us exciting and concerned about them doing justice in explaining the fairly complicated subject to a mass audience. Now Season 11, Episode 09 has been broadcast, we have our answer.
As you probably expect, its an extremely rudimentary explanation of what Bitcoin is, followed by some basic jokes around its volatility and practical uses. That issue aside, its perhaps the price fluctuation that makes the episode even more interesting. In the episode get a Dr Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons) introducing the topic, referencing an article on Bitcoin he sent to the group. This was followed by a line from Howard Wolowitz (Simon Helberg) about Bitcoin’s price being ‘around $5,000 dollars’. Since filming (we guess around October), the price of Bitcoin has skyrocketed to now be worth US$16,495.38 at the time of writing, some 3 times the reference in the show.
Generally shows like this will stay away from real numbers and events that can place the episode filming at a specific date to make them almost timeless, as many sitcoms enjoy long lives of re-runs well into the future. The show had little choice, it had to make a reference to the price to show its significance in the cast tracking down Bitcoins they mined, some ‘7 years ago’. In 2010, the Bitcoin had only just begun, with the price sitting around $0.06 in July of that year.
There’s a limited amount and we find it not by tunneling into the earth, but by using a computer to solve complex mathematical problems.
The clip from the episode is available below, with the whole conversation, including a flashback sequence lasting just 4 minutes. Ultimately BBT’s take on Bitcoin was a disappointment to Bitcoin enthusiasts, given the show often consults experts in science when discussing deep and complex topics like quantum mechanics, black holes, or the Large Hadron Collider.