“What is Bitcoin?” Cryptocurrency Question Seen by 14 Million Viewers of Jeopardy!


Bitcoin was featured in a question on the iconic TV show Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time (GOAT) Thursday, further bringing the cryptocurrency into public view as episodes this week attract almost 15 million viewers per show.

“What is Bitcoin?”

This week saw the first round of Jeopardy! GOAT, pitting champions James Holzhauer, Ken Jennings, and Brad Rutter against each other in a multi-night battle to declare who’s the GOAT of the quiz show hosted by Alex Trebek.

In Jeopardy!, chosen categories reveal an answer to a query and the contestants must phrase their response in the form of a question.

Thursday’s competition saw the category “Cybersecurity,” and the question:

“A ransomeware attack that encrypted 3,800 City of Atlanta computers demanded 6 of these digital items to unfreeze them.”

The answer, “What is Bitcoin!”


(Source: @scottmelker)

Although this mention doesn’t paint Bitcoin in a particularly favorable light, it does show that the coins are further infiltrating our popular culture and imaginations.

The question was in reference to a ransomware attack and demand for Bitcoin that destabilized municipal operations in The City of Atlanta in 2018. In the end, Atlanta, the capital of Georgia, spent more than $2.6 million on emergency efforts to respond to the pernicious SamSam malware ransom.

The other questions in the “Cybersecurity” category were as follows:

$200: This type of hacker referred to by a colorful bit of headwear helpfully tests computer systems for vulnerability. Answer: “White hat.”

$400: A website with a site certificate is one that uses encryption; this letter after HTTP is one sign of it. Answer: “S.”

$600: Companies consider cybersecurity when instructing employees with a policy on BYOD, short for this. Answer: “Bring Your Own Device.”

$1000: Beware of these types of programs that track every stroke you make while typing in an effort to glean your password. Answer: “Keylogging programs.”

Becoming Pop Culture

This isn’t the first mention of Bitcoin on Jeopardy! In 2018, “cryptocurrency” was a category and along with it six questions related to the coins — and a 2019 episode featured a question about associated blockchain technology.

Around the same time Bitcoin was officially added as a recognized word in the popular Hasbro board game Scrabble.

Merriam-Webster, who maintains the official Scrabble dictionary, made the addition alongside 300 other words including “emoji” and “twerk.” Placing tiles on the Scrabble board spelling out Bitcoin earns the player 11 points.

As for other TV shows, Bitcoin mentions go further back than one might imagine. The Good Wife mentioned the coin eight long years ago in 2012(!), The Simpsons in 2013, and Family Guy and Silicon Valley in 2014. Finance drama Billions also featured a Ledger Nano S in an episode published over a year ago. 

Featured Image from Shutterstock

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