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What is cryptocurrency?
Aug 2, 2022
Season 3 | Episode 7

What is cryptocurrency?

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Let's ask our new friend, the Crypto-Keeper!

One of our GOAT listeners called in with a question about cryptocurrency, and Ryan is psyched. Crypto is everywhere right now, but it can be kinda hard for kids (and grown-ups!) to know how it all works. We’ll head to the far reaches of the internet to learn about the promise and peril of crypto, and why any form of money only works if you believe it will … whoa.

A four-panel comic featuring our "Crypto-Keeper" character summarizing the main points of the episode: It's digital money, tracked on an online "scoreboard," with no one person or government in charge. That has some benefits, but it's also more volatile than other forms of money.
Arnel Alinea

And now … tips for grown-ups listening to “Million Bazillion” with kids

Money Talks

Your kid might not be ready to put their allowance in bitcoin, but they’re likely already seeing tons of ads, online videos and news stories about crypto. Here are some questions you can ask to check their understanding.

  1. How is cryptocurrency different from a dollar bill in your pocket?
  2. Why do some people like the idea of using cryptocurrency?
  3. Why would other people not want to use cryptocurrency?

Tip Jar

A big takeaway from this episode is how much the whole idea of “money” depends on a group of people agreeing that something has value and choosing to use it among themselves. Our very first episode talked about this, highlighting ancient people who traded bones and shells. You might try to home in on your kid’s interests here: Do they swap food with their friends at lunch? Collect Pokémon cards? Buy Fortnite V-Bucks? Who decides what these things are worth?

This video from the International Monetary Fund is a nice refresher on this episode’s key points — with fewer goofy sound effects. If your kid is getting the basics, check out this great Investopedia article for next steps to keep the discussion going.

For grown-ups interested in learning more about crypto, our podcast “Make Me Smart” has a great episode on the winners and losers as bitcoin goes more mainstream. If you’re curious about bitcoin mining, here’s a story explaining the process in plain English.

Gimme 5

We’d love to hear your kids’ money jokes, money poems and best money tips so we can feature them on the podcast! Send them to us using this online form.

And we want to hear what parents think about “Million Bazillion”! You can help us by filling out a short audience survey: marketplace.org/survey

Million Bazillion: S3 E7 Cryptocurrency Script/Transcript

Note: Marketplace podcasts are meant to be heard, with emphasis, tone and audio elements a transcript can’t capture. Scripts may contain errors. Please check the corresponding audio before quoting it.

(SFX: PACKED, BUT QUIET THEATER AMBIENCE, LITTLE COUGHS BUT AUDIENCE IS PAYING ATTENTION)

 

PETER PAN ACTRESS: Tink, dear Tink, you’re sick! What can I, Peter Pan, the boy who never grew up, do to help you?

 

RYAN: (WHISPERS)  What’s going on now? I’m confused.

 

BRIDGET:  (WHISPERS) Shhh. We’re supposed to be enjoying a “culture night” at the theater.

 

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Shhhhhhh. Quiet.

 

RYAN: Oh, get over yourself.. Like you’re so engrossed.

 

PETER PAN ACTRESS: What’s that, Tink? You think that you could get well again? … If children believed in fairies? Audience, we need your help! Clap, audience, clap if you believe in fairies!

 

RYAN: Wait, why’s Peter Pan talking to us all of the sudden?

 

BRIDGET: It’s the audience participation part. They do it every show.

 

RYAN: But when I saw Phantom of the Opera, he didn’t talk to me? Did the Phantom not like me?

 

(SFX: AUDIENCE STARTS CLAPPING)

PETER PAN ACTRESS: Clap! Only your clapping will save Tinkerbell’s life!

 

RYAN: I mean, I guess I’ll clap if you put it that way. I feel a little manipulated by all this.

 

BRIDGET: Ryan. Just go along with the magic.

 

(SFX: AUDIENCE APPLAUSE INCREASES)

 

PETER PAN ACTRESS: Look! Tinkerbell is back! Your clapping saved Tinkerbell! You do believe in fairies!

 

RYAN: Well I wouldn’t go that far.

 

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Shhhhhhh.

 

RYAN: Oh like you didn’t see that coming! This is the audience participation part, sir/ma’am! I’m participating.

 

<OPENING THEME MUSIC>

 

BRIDGET: You’re listening to Million Bazillion. I’m Bridget.

 

RYAN: I’m Ryan. And We Help Dollars Make More Sense.

 

BRIDGET: While we were at the play, a question came in. Let’s check it out.

 

ZEYN (TAPE): “Hi, this is Zeyn from Nashville, Tennessee and I want to know, what is Cryptocurrency?”

 

RYAN: O. M. G. It finally happened! Zeyn asked “The Big One.”

 

(SFX: SIRENS)

(MUSIC: MARDI GRAS TYPE SOUNDS – APM – “WHEN THE SAINTS GO MARCHING IN A”)

 

RYAN: This is the question that’s going to turn this whole show around and make it a huge success! With this single question, young Zeyn has expanded our audience a thousand-fold!

 

BRIDGET: What do you mean?

 

RYAN:   Cryptocurrency is super popular because people think they can make a lot of money on it really fast! It’s like one of those classic, uh, what are they called (SNAPS FINGERS)

 

BRIDGET: “Get rich quick schemes”?

 

RYAN: Exactly! And the people who are into crypto are REALLY into crypto. Now’s our chance to hop aboard the Zeyn Train, choo choo!… and make our podcast all about crypto and capture the audiences we’ve been missing out on: dudes, bros, dude-bros, and guys. All four quadrants!

 

BRIDGET: But I sort of like our show as it is. What’s wrong with a money podcast just for kids?

 

RYAN: Nothing! We can do a fun show for kids  and grown men who are emotionally kids! I read that twenty percent of kids are future dude-bros in training! This is gonna work! I have it all planned out in my head.

 

BRIDGET: Hm, ok, I probably shouldn’t take your word for it, but I guess you did play along when I body swapped with my neighbor so…okay, let’s see how this plays out. We’ll be right back.

 

–Asking Random Kids NOT SO Random Questions–

 

ANNOUNCER: And now it’s time for asking random kids, some NOT SO random questions. Today’s question is: If you could scratch and sniff money, what would it smell like?

 

RANDOM KIDS: “Cats.” “Frogs.” “Strawberries.” “It would smell like perfume.” “It would probably smell like lime or lemon.” “Fur, that’s what I want it to smell like.” “If I could scratch and sniff money, I feel like it would smell like metal. Because a lot of coins are made out of metal, so it would probably smell like that.”

 

ANNOUNCER: That was Eliza in Maryland, Roman in Michigan, Emilio and Matteo in California, Joe in Ohio, and Natalia in Arizona. This has been asking kids NOT SO random questions.

 

Part 1:

 

(MUSIC: SCREECHING ROCK RIFF)

(MUSIC: ROCK MUSIC GROOVE THAT PLAYS UNDER THIS OPENING INTRO)

 

RYAN: Rise and grind, my padawan learners! Welcome to Million Bazillion Presents the Crypto Corner, c-corner! On this show, we’re talk crypto, keto, beard creams, money schemes, side hustles, building muscles, fresh kicks, guitar licks, protein powder in my chowder, NFTs, thank you please! And deep dish pies with extra ch-ch-cheese. I’m RyGuy The Crypto Guy. This is my co-host, B-Bod. Thats you! You’re B-Bod! But also, the Goat. Hahaha Bridget! That is funny! You’re the GOAT.

 

[SFX: GOAT SCREAM]

 

RYAN: That stands for “greatest of all time.” Literally, you’re the GOAT.

 

[GOAT SCREAM SFX]

 

BRIDGET: What? I didn’t say anything.

 

RYAN: Hahaha! You’re crazy for that one Bridget!

 

(SFX: AIR HORN)

 

BRIDGET: Why does your voice sound like that? Is something wrong with your microphone?

 

RYAN: (WHISPERS) Shhh, this is the kind of voice dudes and bros think is cool.

 

BRIDGET: Oh ok, go on then.

 

RYAN: Alright, so, crypto. Let’s get after it. You cover the financial beat and crypto is where it’s at. It’s worth a fortune, this I know, cause Matt Damon tells me so. Tell the young kids out there, what crypto currencies should we all be buying this week, what are the cryptos that are gonna make us the most money, the fastest? Say the right thing, into the mic, right now, knowing this will be online forever, go!

 

BRIDGET: Um, well, I wouldn’t really know. I think we FIRST need to answer Zeyn’s question and explain what cryptocurrency is. Cryptocurrencies are pretty new. A lot of grown-ups are still confused about them.

 

RYAN: Uh, really, Bridget? Really? I think I know what crypto is. I host an entire show about it.

 

BRIDGET: Ok, what is cryptocurrency then?

 

RYAN: (SOFT, REGULAR VOICE) It’s, uh, um, a, uh, a computer coin.

 

BRIDGET: What was that?

 

RYAN: It’s a (NERVOUS COUGH) coin… in the computer.  (DUDE VOICE) Look, I know the answer, I don’t need to learn this easy stuff. But maybe you explain just so the LISTENERS understand. I don’t need to understand. I understand it perfectly.

 

BRIDGET: Well I guess, really simply put, “cryptocurrency” is what we call different types of digital money that use something called blockchain, to keep this online record of where the money is, like a scoreboard. With everyone’s spending that everyone can see.

 

RYAN: (ON TOP) … everyone can see . Yeah, I knew all that. I totally knew all that.

 

BRIDGET: Mhm. But I think before we talk about how it is actually able to function, we should talk about what it’s like to use it. Um…Oh, you know what it’s like?  It’s sorta like- have you ever played a video game where you had to earn coins?

 

RYAN: Yes. Super Mario. Classic. Bowser. Toad. Good dudes, cool guys.

 

BRIDGET: Yes, Princess Peach. Yoshi. Yes, Mario’s a good example. Ok, well imagine if somebody decided those little video game coins should really be worth something. So they figured out a way to keep track of how many coins everyone had.

 

RYAN: That sounds like a game-changer. G-g-g- game changer.

 

(SFX: AIR HORN)

 

BRIDGET: And then they set up a system where people could trade those video game coins with each other or even spend them on real things. That’s basically what cryptocurrency is.

 

RYAN: But just to clarify, for the LISTENERS out there, Mario coins aren’t worth actual money, right?

 

BRIDGET: No.

 

RYAN: Good. I knew that. I just wanted the LISTENERS to be aware and know that.

 

BRIDGET: [AMUSED SKEPTICISM] Mmmhmm. And you also probably know that there’s no physical version of cryptocurrency, like the way we have one-dollar bills or quarters.

 

RYAN: Really? Uhhh. Literally, that’s your opinion? Really?

 

BRIDGET: Ooh, you know what would be fun? Let’s talk about how we came up with the word “cryptocurrency”! You gotta look at the word currency and the word crypto and–

 

RYAN: (AS CRYPTO KEEPER) Hehehehehe! I know what Crypto means!

 

(SFX: LIGHTNING STRIKE)

(MUSIC: “INTO THE CRYPT” APM LIBRARY)

 

RYAN: (AS SELF) Oh oh Bridget, we’ve said “crypto” too many times and we’ve summoned… the Crypto Keeper! Hahaha! Get outta here, you rascal! (AS CRYPTO KEEPER) Hello, my little monster ghouls! Sorry I’m late, I had to stop at the bank… the blood bank! (AS SELF) Hahaha, Crypto Keeper, you’re the GOAT. Literally, the GOAT.

 

(SFX: GOAT SCREAM)

 

BRIDGET: Who’s the Crypto Keeper?

 

RYAN: Our new puppet sidekick, he’s a little skeleton man who makes hilarious spooky jokes, and, in case you can’t tell, I do the voice.

 

BRIDGET: Oh, I could tell. Ok, Crypto Keeper, do you know what “crypto” means?

 

RYAN: (AS CRYPTO KEEPER) Hehehe yes, the answer will chill you to bone. It means, um-

 

(CUT MUSIC)

 

RYAN: It means… computer coin… coin in the computer. Maybe you should explain what it means.

 

BRIDGET: Well, the word “crypto” comes from the Greek “kryptos” meaning “hidden” or “secret.” In computer science, “Cryptography” uses algorithms or really complicated math to keep data safe.  And “currency” comes from the Latin “currens” which means, “flowing”- Money flows between people, so we sometimes use the word “currency” to describe “money.” Crypto-currency is money that uses algorithms to make it secure. Except, some people wonder if we should even be considered money at all.

 

RYAN: Uh, really? Hehehe.  I wanna talk more crypto, but first, a word from our sponsor.

 

(SFX: AIRHORN)

 

RYAN: Million Bazillion Presents The Crypto Corner is sponsored by Puka Shell Necklace Club. Wanna be the coolest kid on the beach? You gotta try these Puka Shell necklaces, made of 100 percent synthetic shells. For $50 a month, we send you one puka shell necklace in the mail every week until you tell us to stop. You’re gonna want these for your next school dance, school slam, school jam. Use the promo code: “RYGUY” at checkout. Ok, Bridget, so let’s talk about the ways that cryptocurrency is even better than regular currency like a dollar bill.

BRIDGET: Well, crypto isn’t better. It’s just different. One of the biggest differences is that there’s no one in charge of cryptocurrency.

RYAN: Kinda like on this show, no one’s in charge of Ryguy, I say what I want, tell it like it is, and do what I do! AM I RIGHT??

BRIDGET: Feet off the table.

RYAN: Oh, sorry.

BRIDGET: Now let’s take the money we use everyday, the non-crypto money. Most currencies have some group that keeps an eye on that money and can step in if there are problems. In the United States, that’s the Federal Reserve. People know and trust the Federal Reserve, they feel good about accepting American dollars. Because they trust those dollars will be worth something tomorrow and the day after that. If not for that trust, our dollars and cents would be totally worthless. They’re just pieces of paper and bits of metal, really.

RYAN: Really? Uh, really? Well then why do they choose paper money, the greenbacks, the Benjamins, why not use, say, bottle caps or puka shell necklaces as our currency?

(SFX: LIGHTNING STIKE)

RYAN: (AS CRYPTO KEEPER) Or bones from skeletons? Hehehehe.

BRIDGET: That’s a whole other episode. You know, if you and your friends decided to use bottle caps to buy things from each other, you would have basically just made your own currency.

RYAN: Huh? I mean, uh, good one B-bod, that’s why you’re the GOAT.

(SFX: GOAT SHRIEK)

RYAN: Literally, you’re the GOAT. Haha. Really? Literally. Really? Haha. Really? Literally. Really? Literally.

BRIDGET: Uh oh, I think Dude Bro Ryan is broken?

RYAN: (PAUSE) And uh, why not just make bottle caps worth something?

BRIDGET: Well, there are lots of things everyone in the world just sorta decides have value. Like why does everyone like gold so much? You can’t eat it. It’s just a shiny rock we dig up from the ground. Why should it be worth more than some other rock? Or bottle caps? But we all agree that gold is worth something and that bottle caps are not. And now, cryptocurrency is in that club too. We’ve all agreed it’s worth SOMETHING, we just haven’t decided how much.

RYAN: Well, I’m betting on it in a big way! That’s why they call me RyGuy the Crypto-guy!

BRIDGET: People call you that? Anyway, cryptocurrency has value because people believe it has value and are trying to use it like regular money, or trade it. But like I said, crypto currency doesn’t have anyone in charge. So if people stop believing in it, and with no one they can trust in charge to step in, some cryptocurrencies can actually lose all their value. They can “crash” and become worth nothing.

RYAN:  Hey, look look look look look look, there’s always gonna be Doubting Dannys out there. It’s a free country. They’re allowed their say. Hey hey hey, they’re allowed their say!

 

BRIDGET: Yeah, but whether you’re a big fan or crypto or not, a lot of it’s future feels pretty unclear right now. No one knows if the cryptocurrencies that people are buying right now are actually gonna turn out to be precious, or just digital trash.

 

RYAN: Ok, well, hey now, whoa now, I think we all know that crypto is gonna be worth something, right? It can’t just be trash. People are spending a lot of money on it and people NEVER spend money on trash.

 

BRIDGET: Well, crypto’s just been very hard to predict. It can be worth a whole lot, and then not very much, and that value can change really fast. People can lose money.  Like have you ever heard someone talk about a stock going up and down?

 

RYAN: Yes, on TV. Squiggly green lines pointing up and squiggly red lines pointing down.

 

BRIDGET: Well, that’s how almost all crypto is. Going up and down in big swings, and recently, very down. Like really, very down. It is not great for something you’re supposed to use like money. How are you supposed to plan ahead to pay bills? Or let’s say the value drops while you’re in the middle of buying something and then suddenly you can’t afford it! What kind of a money is that?

 

RYAN: Which reminds me, I was watching some sports yesterday. Polo. America’s past time. If you’re not a polo fan, get on it! And during a match, I counted 32 different crypto ads in the commercial breaks. They were all great. There were big stars in all of them. Who makes all those ads?

 

BRIDGET: Most of the commercials you see for crypto are paid for by the big crypto exchange companies. That’s like a store where you can ONLY buy and sell cryptocurrency. That’s “investing in crypto” and it sorta sprung up on the side, but it’s a pretty big part of what we talk about when we talk about crypto now.

 

RYAN: So, are these crypto exchanges  like the floor of the stock market where everyone’s really excited and yelling and everything? I’ve always wanted to go there. I think I’d fit in cause’ y’know, I’m sort of an alpha, sort of a wolf, aggressive, “yaaarrgh”, and etcetera…

 

BRIDGET: Yeah, but these crypto exchanges aren’t real buildings. They’re just websites.

 

RYAN: But can we still go there?

 

BRIDGET: I mean, I guess, in our imaginations? Maybe?

 

(MUSIC: GUITAR ROCK BED)

 

RYAN: Ok, let’s do that after the break. But before we go, a word from another sponsor. Let’s say you’re a kid, 5 to 12, and you want big muscles like a wrestler and you don’t have them yet cause you’re a little kid. You’ve tried protein shakes, you’ve tried lifting weights, but you’re not getting those sweet gains you’re looking for-  well you gotta try Ryan Perez’s Muscle Suits for Children. These are Muscle Suits that I, Ryan Perez, the real person, have designed. Now, scientists don’t want you to know about these, but I’ve done my own science and developed a muscle suit that you can wear- like your parents’ shapewear, except it makes you look buff. (AS CRYPTO KEEPER) Would it even work for me and my skeleton body? (AS RYAN) Yes, they’ll even work on you, Crypto Keeper! Use the promo code RYGUY at checkout. This is definitely a legitimate business. We’ll be right back.

 

-MIDROLL (CREDIT BREAK)-

 

Part 2:

 

(SFX: TRON STYLE MUSIC REFERENCE: TRON Legacy – The Grid (Long Version)

 

RYAN: Welcome to the Grid. A digital frontier where anything is possible, where any website on the internet can come to life. But today, we’re learning about cryptocurrency so we’re just going to a cryptocurrency exchange, one of those websites where people trade little digital coins. I’m here in the grid, and so is Bridget.

 

BRIDGET: Uh, hi?

 

RYAN:  And so is the Crypto Keeper.  (AS CRYPTO) Hehehehe Hello, my little ghosty-Dracula-creatures! (AS RYAN) And now let’s jack into the system and trade some crypto!

 

(SFX: ELECTRONIC SWIRL)

 

(SFX: STOCK EXCHANGE FLOOR HUSTLE AND BUSTLE. PEOPLE YELL “BUY BUY BUY!” AND “SELL SELL SELL” FAINTLY ON LOOP)

 

BRIDGET: Wow, I know everyone in here is digital, but it still smells so… sweaty.

 

(SFX: ELECTRONIC WHOOSHING FLY-BY SOUNDS, AS IF FROM DRONES)

 

RYAN: Wow, there are a lot of cryptocurrencies flying around in here. I had no idea there were this many!

 

BRIDGET: Yeah, there are around 20,000 cryptocurrencies out there. The technology that makes cryptocurrency possible is called blockchain, remember, and it’s available to anyone who wants to use it.

 

RYAN: You mean, I could make my own currency, RyGuy Coin, if I wanted to?

 

BRIDGET: Don’t. There’s already soooo many out there. But some people trust in crypto because people trust blockchain, that scoreboard. Everyone can see the money you owe or own.

 

BRIDGET: You might not even know who you’re buying and selling crypto with… but that blockchain scoreboard, with everyone’s transactions, is a big reason people feel safe to use crypto at all.

 

TRADER: Buy, buy, buy!…

 

(SFX: ASCENDING WHOOSH DRONE SOUND)

 

RYAN: Wow, that crypto currency is rising really fast! Looks like a good one!

 

BRIDGET: Could be. No one knows which of these are worth anything. It’s all still up for grabs at this point. If the one you invest in does well, you’ll make a lot of money. If not, you’ll lose a lot of money.”

 

(SFX: WARNING BUZZER)

 

PILOT: Mayday! Mayday! Sell! Sell now! Sell! Sell! Sell!

 

RYAN: Oh no, it looks like it’s crashing.

 

(SFX: DESCENDING DRONE SOUND AND CRASH. PEOPLE SCREAM)

 

RYAN: Whoa. Glad I didn’t put any money in that one! What happened? It was flying so high, then fell from the sky!

 

BRIDGET: Looks like it was too easy to hack. Even though crypto currencies use long, complicated codes to keep track of how much everyone has, some aren’t designed very well and can be hacked. Which lets hackers STEAL your coins.

 

PANICKY GUY: I can’t remember my password! Hey, does anyone remember my password?

 

RYAN: What’s wrong with that guy?

BRIDGET: Some people forget their crypto passwords and they can’t use any of their money. Because it’s not like a bank where you can go in and show your driver’s license and prove who you are. There’s this famous story about a guy who forgot his Bitcoin password and got locked out of like 220 million dollars worth of crypto. (SIGH) Turns out you’re only as safe as the weakest link and sometimes, we, we users, are the weakest link.

 

RYAN: (AS THE CRYPTO KEEPER) Hahaha. That’s the kind of ghoulishly funny story I might tell!

 

RYAN: That’s why I keep all my passwords simple: “1234” for everything.

 

BRIDGET: You should definitely use a more complex passwords than that.

 

RYAN: You mean, like, “5678”?

 

MINERS: (IN UNISON) Hi Hooooooooooo!

 

RYAN: Who are all those people in the hard hats?

 

BRIDGET: Oh wow, those are crypto miners. I’ve heard of them. Where are y’all headed today, crypto miners?

 

MINERS: We’re gonna go verify another transaction. Wish us luck!

 

RYAN: What in the world does that mean?

 

BRIDGET: “Crypto-mining” is this whole thing you might have heard of. It’s the way we make new cryptocoins. It involves using computers to race to solve really hard math problems. I don’t actually get it that well myself, but one thing I do know is that it takes up a ton of energy. Like the amount of electricity Bitcoin uses to mine for a year could keep the lights on Argentina for the same amount of time.

 

RYAN: That sounds not great for the environment, but at least it’s for the important cause of adults trading digital coins. Ok Bridget, after looking at all these cryptocurrencies, I think I found the one I’m comfortable investing my life savings into. It’s called Pharaohcoin and it has a cool picture of a pyramid on it, which I think is a good sign.

 

BRIDGET: Wait, Ryan, I thought we were coming into this weird digital crypto matrix thing to learn. I didn’t know you were looking to invest all your money. Are you sure you want to put all your money into one cryptocurrency? Or any cryptocurrency? How about bonds? Or real estate. Let’s talk about this. I do have ideas.

 

(SFX: COIN SLOT MACHINE SOUND)

 

RYAN: Whoops. I sorta put a lot of money into Pharaohcoin while you were talking.

 

BRIDGET: Like how much?

 

RYAN: Like “all my money” much. (AS CRYPTO KEEPER) Hehehehe! That was a deadly mistake! (AS SELF) Quiet, Crypto Keeper, not now!

 

(SFX: ASCENDING WHOOSH DRONE SOUND)

 

RYAN: Whoa, look up there! Pharaohcoin’s value is rising fast! Looks like I made a great decision after all! Y’know what, maybe for once I’m the GOAT.

 

(SFX: GOAT SHRIEK)

 

RYAN: Whoa, here in the grid, the goat is, literally, a real goat! Really? Real goat, you’re literally the goat!

 

(SFX: GOAT SHRIEK)

 

BRIDGET:  I think that crypto currency is rising fast in value because you bought it.

 

RYAN: But that can’t be how it works!

 

BRIDGET: It is how it works! None of this stuff is real! When people believe in a cryptocurrency and buy a lot of it, it’s value goes up for a little bit. When people sell it, the value goes down!

 

CRYPTO INVESTOR #1: What’s that? I didn’t know that. I’m gonna sell my crypto while I still can.

 

CRYPTO INVESTOR #2: You’re selling your crypto? I’m gonna sell mine too before it’s too late!

 

(SFX: LOUD PANIC AND SCREAMING)

 

(SFX: ALARM BELL)

 

INTERCOM VOICE: Attention! Brace for crypto panic. Brace for a crypto panic.

 

(SFX: A BUNCH OF DESCENDING DRONES. PEOPLE SCREAMING)

 

RYAN: What’s happening?

 

BRIDGET: All the cryptocurrencies are coming down in value! The crypto market is in a downward spiral!

 

CRYTO INVESTOR #1: I was so happy investing in crypto until I learned how it worked!”

 

RYAN: You just had to do it, didn’t you? You had to come here and point out how crypto works  and stir everyone into a panic, Bridget!

 

(SFX: CRASH SOUNDS)

 

RYAN: Cryptocurrencies are crashing and burning left and right! There are flames everywhere!

 

BRIDGET: This is mass chaos! I haven’t seen this much panic since the great Beanie Baby price plummet of 2003!

 

(SFX: GOAT SHRIEK)

 

RYAN: The literal goat is literally freaking out! Ok, I have an idea. Why can’t everyone just agree on which one of these fake coins should be worth something and we can all invest in that one?

 

BRIDGET: Because that’s not the way that it works!

 

(SFX: CELESTIAL FAIRY FLUTTERING)

 

RYAN: What is that?

 

TRICKERBELL(ECHOEY FAIRY VOICE): I am Trickerbell the crypto fairy. And I am sick. I am fading. I don’t have much time left. People no longer believe in crypto.

 

BRIDGET: I know how to fix this. We have to clap.

 

RYAN: What?

 

BRIDGET: We all have to believe that crypto is worth something and clap for Trickerbell.

 

RYAN: Awww, You mean like in Peter Pan? We came all the way into this digital matrix world to learn the lesson that crypto is like a magical fairy?

 

BRIDGET: Look, I don’t like it either, but it’s the only way to get your money back and for us to get back home!! (TO EVERYONE) Everyone, quiet down! Listen to me!

 

(SFX: SCREAMING STOPS)

 

BRIDGET: If you all believe in crypto, clap! Clap right now! Trickerbell needs you! Clap if you believe in crypto!

 

(SFX: ONE CLAP, THEN TWO, CLASSIC “SLOW CLAP” BUILD)

 

BRIDGET: They believe! They really believe!

 

RYAN: It’s working! Trickerbell is coming back to life!

(SFX: CLAPS BUILD TO A THUNDEROUS APPLAUSE)

(SFX: ASCENDING DRONE SOUNDS)

 

TRICKERBELL: I feel better now. Real money is flowing back into me! Sweet, sweet money, my precious lifejuice. I’m cured!

 

BRIDGET: The cryptocurrency values are stabilizing! Crypto is sorta worth something again!

 

RYAN: Wow. We did it, it’s a true crypto-miracle!

 

CRYPTO INVESTOR #1: I’m sorry we ever doubted you, crypto!

 

CRYPTO   #2: (EMOTIONAL) We believe in you, crypto! We really, really do!

 

RYAN: Yeah, we love you crypto. Ok, my currency’s value is almost back to what I paid for it. I’m pulling all my money out… and sold! Bridget, let’s get outta here!

 

Part 3:

 

RYAN: (NORMAL RYAN) Welcome back to Million Bazillion. I’m Ryan. And this is the show where we talk about money, and um, let’s just do the recap and end the show.

 

BRIDGET: What happened? You sound kind of sad and your baseball cap is front-facing again. Are you ok?

 

RYAN: Yeah, I’m just over the idea of being a crypto guy and doing ads for things no one wants every two minutes. It’s just… this whole crypto show put me in a bad mood. I’m in a bad mood. I’m sorry. But that’s what’s happening. I’m in a bad mood.

 

BRIDGET: I mean, do you want to talk about it? You don’t have to, but-

 

RYAN: I don’t want to talk about it. I guess, it’s just, y’know, you’re going along, living your life, and one day, someone says, “You could make more money. You should make more money. Gotta make more money. Here’s an easy way to make more money.” And you’re like, “Ok, I guess I’ll try it” and then it’s like, “Haha! You fell for a trick. You got tricked! Why weren’t you smarter?” And I’m like, “Ok, sorry! I got tricked. You got me.” And even then, it’s like, “Well, we’re not totally sure it’s a trick. Maybe crypto is good. We don’t even know yet.” It’s just exhausting. I’m tired. It’s too much. I just want to be by myself and not have to make any decisions for a minute.

 

BRIDGET: I think that’s a feeling A LOT of grown-ups have sometimes.

 

RYAN:  I just wish I knew all the answers.

 

BRIDGET: No one knows all the answers about money- especially cryptocurrency. Some of the smartest people out there are still trying to figure it out. We just don’t know if or how people will use cryptocurrency in the future. And a lot depends on how much people believe in it. But you’ll probably keep hearing about it, so it’s great we all learned a little more about it. When it comes to your money, the money that’s not crypto money, you should be careful about what you use it for and where you invest it.

 

RYAN: And if you’re a young person, you probably have a few years left before you’re even old enough to  worry about buying cryptocurrency and hopefully, by then, we’ll know if it’s really worth something or just the silly dream of the week. (AS CRYPTO KEEPER) Did someone say “shrilly scream of the shriek?”

 

BRIDGET: Oh, Crypto Keeper! I’m glad you stuck around. Want to tell us a scary story?

 

RYAN: (AS CRYPTO KEEPER) Yes! Once upon a dark and stormy night, there was a werewolf.

(RYAN) Uh hum.

 

BRIDGET: Uh huh.

 

RYAN: (AS KEEPER) Who was bit by a ghoul, while in the shadows nearby lurked a Frankenstein! And now a world from our sponsor…CryptoKeeper Float Tank Coffins. Why sleep in a regular coffin when you can sleep in a sensory deprivation float tank proven to enhance sleep …

 

(FADE OUT)

 

–Theme Music–

 

CRYPTOKEEPER: Thanks for listening to Million Bazillion — we help dollars make more sense. We’ll be back next week with a whole new episode, our final one of the season!

CRYPTOKEEPER: If you are a fan of this show, please subscribe! Leave us a review! And tell your friends about us! Let Ryan and Bridget know you want more Cryptokeeper!

 

CRYPTOKEEPER: And If you want to keep getting smarter about money, sign up for the Million Bazillion Academy and get four weeks of lessons you can do at your own pace. Learn more at Marketplace.org/MBA

CRYPTOKEEPER: Million Bazillion is brought to you by Marketplace and American Public Media. This episode was written and hosted by Ryan Perez, and Bridget Bodnar, who’s the senior producer too.

 

CRYPTOKEEPER: Marissa Cabrera is the producer. Jasmine Romero and Sanden Totten edited this episode. Chris Julin and Bekah Wineman did the sound design. Bekah also mixed it. The theme music was created by Wonderly.

 

CRYPTOKEEPER: Tony Wagner is the Digital producer. Donna Tam is the Director of On Demand at Marketplace. Francesca Levy is the Director of Digital. ((ooh, she’s new!)). Neal Scarbrough is the VP and General Manager

CRYPTOKEEPER: Also starring the voicing talents of me, the CryptoKeeper! But also, Kimberly Adams, Sabri Ben Achour, Jasmine Romero, and Mel Rosenberg.

CRYPTOKEEPER:  And special thanks to the people who provided the startup funding for Million Bazillion, and who continue to help keep us going: The Ranzetta Family Charitable Fund and Next Gen Personal Finance, supporting Marketplace’s work to make younger audiences smarter about the economy.

CRYPTOKEEPER: To all the grown-ups listening right now – we hope that you and the kids in your life are having some good conversations about money thanks to Million Bazillion. Help us keep those conversations going. Donate today at marketplace.org/givemillion. Your support means a whole lot.

(SFX: AIRHORN)

RYAN: Sorry, that went off by mistake.

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