J.K. Rowling was drinking old-fashioneds and asked Twitter to explain Bitcoin. Here’s what happened next

by Annie Logan

The cryptocurrency world received a jolt on Friday when one of the world’s most famous women expressed interest in Bitcoin. J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series, responded to a reporter’s tweet and asked for an explanation of the famous digital currency.

It didn’t take long for a band of cryptocurrency enthusiasts on social media—known colloquially as “crypto Twitter”—to flood Rowling’s account with thousands of replies. The respondents included Vitalik Buterin, founder of the popular digital currency Ethereum, who tried to explain crypto credos like decentralization and store of value:

Alas, Rowling remained entirely unpersuaded, despite attempts by many Twitter users to invoke Harry Potter analogies such as Gringotts bank and the magic transport device known as the Floo Network. After reading hours of such explanations, she declared the whole Bitcoin business to be mumbo jumbo—receiving support from Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who also added that currency issued by central banks isn’t much better.

Rowling also revealed that she had undertaken her Bitcoin research while knocking back multiple old-fashioneds—a cocktail of whiskey, sugar, and bitters.

The whole discussion descended still further when the CEOs of the world’s two most prominent crypto companies, Brian Armstrong of Coinbase and Changpeng Zhao of Binance, encouraged Rowling to embrace Bitcoin. The latter tweeted, “Give a woman a fish and you feed her for a day; teach a woman to fish and you feed her for a lifetime. Not that you still need feeding, but…”—a message that came across to many as both sexist and bizarre.

Armstong’s attempted outreach to Rowling went no better. The Coinbase CEO got duped by a scam Twitter account that popped up to exploit the situation, exhorting the fake Rowling to buy other types of crypto (derided by skeptics as “shitcoins”) besides Bitcoin. Armstrong deleted the tweet but not before it was screenshotted:

By Saturday, the old-fashioneds had worn off, and Rowling was back on Twitter—and her view of Bitcoin was even dimmer than before:

Rowling is presumably done with Bitcoin for good—leaving the crypto crowd to rue a missed opportunity. As trade publication Decrypt noted, “The geeky kids from the economics class tried their best to woo the literary type from the book club. It didn’t go well.”

The news isn’t all bad for Bitcoin believers, however. On Sunday night, Bitcoin served as a central plot point in the hit TV show, Billions, while the price of the cryptocurrency headed toward a three-month high of $10,000.

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