Two years ago, cryptocurrency was barely on Rachel Siegel’s radar. She didn’t own Bitcoin or any altcoins. No she’s not an early adopting Bitcoin millionaire. She was working as a substitute teacher and production assistant on national commercials for brands like Weight Watchers and Hewlett Packard, and theatrical productions like The Lion King.
While those productions have nothing to do with Bitcoin or cryptocurrency directly, it was when a group of fellow producers invited Siegel to attend Consensus 2018 in New York that the budding crypto influencer fell in love with the community.
A year and a half later, she finds herself speaking at Blockchain Futurist 2019, the world’s largest blockchain conference. In interviewing Siegel for CryptoRadar, I began by asking CryptoFinally about her crypto-themed music videos. You heard right…crypto-themed music videos. Check out this one:
While crypto geeks certainly love the videos, Siegel explains as adoption accelerates, she’s educating people about both the history and future of the conversation.
“I take a look at a historical portrayal of Cryptocurrency over time and how the perception used to be that of nerds, hackers and criminals and now it’s about the sexy elite. Young people who are making money, young people who have their own business ventures who are able to break out of the gig economy — and how important it is that we represent ourselves in a way that there is accessibility for people who might not have been exposed to cryptocurrency in the first place.”
Throughout her talk, Siegel points out how movies, music and public figures are shaping the conversation today and the underlying narratives of the story have changed:
Here are some of the pop culture milestones the talk revisits:
- 2012: the Netflix show The Good Wife features an explainer video about Bitcoin.
- 2014: wealthy public figures like Richard Branson, Bill Gates and the Winklevoss Twins begin publicly acknowledging bitcoin’s merits.
- 2015: former heavyweight champion boxer Mike Tyson signs the first bitcoin-related licensing deal for his own line of bitcoin ATM machines.
- 2017: The price of Bitcoin spikes to an all-time high and more celebrities start talking about it including Gwenyth Paltrow, Floyd Mayweather, DJ Khaled and Ashton Kutcher.
- President Donald Trump tweets about Bitcoin in discussing tariffs and China. The price goes up.
Siegel points out that in early mainstream media representations of bitcoin appeared in movies and TV shows that mainly appeal to computer geeks and sci-fi nerds like HBO’s Silicon Valley or the 2013 Film Almost Human.
Today, popular songs mention blockchains and bitcoin, particularly in the hip-hop genre for whatever reason. Three Six Mafia’s Juicy J, Eminem and West Coast gangsta rapper YG all of songs alluding in some way to cryptocurrency. It’s also mentioned in a Hollywood movie that came out last year called Superfly.
“…the perception used to be that of nerds, hackers and criminals and now it’s about the sexy elite. Young people who are making money, young people who have their own business ventures who are able to break out of the gig economy…” says Siegel.
Today, the story is all about just that. How young people are empowering themselves to build businesses and escaping the idea of being somebody else’s task rabbit. But it’s not just solopreneurs and young people becoming inspired by the blockchain to join a social movement. Larger corporations are also leading the charge.
Facebook announcing the creation of its cryptocurrency Libra earlier this summer is what spiked Bitcoin’s price in June and July, and now crypto exchange Binance is announcing plans to come up with its own coin.
Siegel thinks the involvement of private companies in crypto is good for spreading awareness about blockchain and Bitcoin, but that they are not accomplishing the true mission of Bitcoin, which is to democratize wealth and remove the middle man.
“…people are getting to see that it [crypto] exists, but do I like Libra? No. But it did shine a light on the cryptocurrency community. Donald Trump posted a sh*t post on Twitter about Libra and it was hilarious!”
As Siegel gets ready to host a TV show, she stands by the bullish sentiment that is captivating so many people in the crypto community, the way it has been for over a decade now. “10 years ago was the best time to by Bitcoin and now the best time to buy Bitcoin is today!”