60 Minutes America will thrust Bitcoin into the mainstream spotlight with its first ever story about the digital currency.
Promotional videos show reporter Anderson Cooper speaking with high-profile Bitcoin advocate Charlie Shrem and the man who bought pizza for 10,000 bitcoin in 2010.
It is unclear at this stage whether the story will paint Bitcoin in a positive or negative light, but there have been some early insights into what will be explored.
Bitcoin Pizza Guy
In the first ever television interview of the legendary ‘Bitcoin pizza guy,’ Laszlo Hanyecz, 60 minutes looks at his famous 2010 purchase.
On May 22 of that year, Hanyecz traded 10,000 Bitcoin for some pizza in what is widely believed to be the first real-world transaction involving Bitcoin.
“That’s $800 million!” Anderson Cooper tells Hanyecz in the 60 Minutes promo.
“You spent about $800 million on pizza?”
Hanyecz replies, “well, (yes), if you look at today’s exchange rate.”
“Are there nights you wake up,” Cooper asks, “where you think, ‘I could have had $800 million… if I hadn’t bought those pizzas?’”
“I think thinking like that is… not really good for me,” Hanyecz replies.
60 Minutes is also promoting an interview with Charlie Shrem, who it describes as “one of Bitcoin’s first millionaires and also one of its first convicted felons.”
In the story, Shrem, who was was jailed in 2014 over indirect links to the Silk Road marketplace, tells Anderson Cooper of the incredible highs and lows he experienced in the early days of Bitcoin.
“I felt like I was riding a rocket ship that had no mission control,” Mr Shrem said.
“You were going up very quickly but we were not thinking about what would happen when eventually we have to go back down.
“And for me I dealt with ultimate climb back down, (I) crashed really hard.”
— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) May 18, 2019
From Iceland to Washington
For the report, Cooper visited a cryptocurrency mine in Iceland and the Federal Reserve in Washington D.C.
It is in Washington where Federal Reserve Governor Brainard warns investors that “cryptocurrency is much riskier than the U.S. dollar.”
“The Federal Reserve and ultimately the U.S. Treasury stand behind (the dollar),” says Brainard.
“And when you hold your dollars in a bank account, you have deposit insurance. None of those accountability mechanisms exist for Bitcoin.”
A confused reporter
Sneak peeks into the 60 Minutes story show Anderson Cooper asking very basic questions as he tries to grapple with the new technology.
“There’s no actual coin?” he asks the digital currency expert Neha Narula.
“I’m so antiquated I can’t imagine things that do not have a physical component.”
A producer on the show, Andy Court, has done an interview talking about how Cooper had a difficult time understanding Bitcoin.
“One of the joys was watching Andersen try to wrap his mind around this thing!” Mr Court said.
“Almost everyone knows the word and it’s amazing it’s kind of become part of our lexicon now, but still most of us don’t really know what it is.”
The full 60 Minutes will air on America’s CBS at 7pm on Sunday, May 19 (American) Eastern Time, which is 9am on Monday, May 20, Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST).