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  • Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have become part of the mainstream over the past decade.
  • A new YouTube show is dedicated to covering crypto's real-life applications.
  • From NFTs to NFL players, alternative financial systems are gaining a foothold in culture.

In 2009, the world was introduced to bitcoin, the first cryptocurrency, created by Satoshi Nakamoto (a pseudonym). Bitcoin's purpose was to reclaim control from financial establishments by putting power back into the hands of the people. Since then, more than 12,000 cryptocurrencies have been established in the form of altcoins, stablecoins, and tokens.

But while the media has mainly covered the Crypto market from a business and finance perspective, the industry goes much further than that, interacting with many aspects of the modern world.

A new show is changing the way crypto is covered in mainstream media

To increase the attention paid to these real-life applications, Ledger, which provides state-of-the-art hardware security and software solutions for crypto users, launched a YouTube show, "Down the Rabbit Hole," that covers crypto in a user-friendly, pop-culture-relevant way.

Most crypto coverage is focused on prices, with articles invariably questioning whether a crypto bubble is coming. Ledger is showing that actually, crypto has plenty of real-life use cases.

Hosted by Ariel Wengroff, a former executive producer for Vice Media, where she was nominated for an Emmy for the documentary "Woman with Gloria Steinem," "Down the Rabbit Hole" embraces every aspect of crypto, whether that's NFT artists, BTC maximalists, smallholders, builders, or buyers.

Each episode features four segments: the main interview, where the audience meets an aspiring or aspirational crypto figure; a "7 Days in Crypto" section on recent news; a short report highlighting how, where, and why crypto is changing people's lives; and a deep dive on the crypto revolution for the arts.

"In five to 10 years, crypto and digital assets will be the dominant tool of payments and transactions, and Web3 will be the new internet, giving autonomy back to the people," Wengroff said. "'Down the Rabbit Hole' shines a spotlight on these emerging trends around the globe."

Crypto is upending the status quo, from cities to sports stars

One example of a real-world application of crypto is bitcoin's adoption in El Salvador. President Nayib Bukele said on June 5 that he would declare it legal tender, and for many in the country, its introduction brings the promise of financial liberty. Before, about 50,000 Salvadorans, out of a population of nearly 6.5 million, were using bitcoin, many of them living in the coastal town of El Zonte.

It's hoped that bitcoin will ease some of the country's economic problems. Citizens abroad often send money home, accounting for up to one-fifth of El Salvador's GDP — but they have to pay high transaction costs, and 70% of Salvadorans don't have a bank account. By delivering quick and easy transactions, bitcoin may bridge that gap.

Arnhem, a city in the Netherlands that has proclaimed itself the world's most bitcoin-friendly city, is another example of official adoption of bitcoin to demonstrate that there are alternatives to the current financial system.

Another increasingly popular crypto interaction is nonfungible tokens, or NFTs. Despite having no tangible form, these digital representations are changing the dynamics of traditional structures and helping shore up the creator economy. NFTs empower creators to earn steady revenue, giving them the platform to own their economy, maintain control over their creations, and engage with their followers.

In episode two of "Down the Rabbit Hole," we meet Osinachi, an artist from Lagos, Nigeria. Osinachi, who describes himself as "Africa's foremost crypto artist," was the first African artist to sell an NFT at the highly traditional British auction house Christie's.

Earlier this year, NFTs became firmly established in the mainstream thanks to Mike Winkelmann, the artist known as Beeple, whose digital artwork "Everydays: The First 5000 Days" sold for $69 million at Christie's. "Down the Rabbit Hole" examines the history of NFTs, with a segment that focuses on Larva Labs, the brains behind CryptoPunks, and the craze around its famous NFTs.

Cryptocurrency is also gaining a foothold in the sporting world. In the first half of 2021, crypto brands spent more than $107 million on sports sponsorships agreements. Lionel Messi being paid in crypto fan tokens as part of his contract with Paris Saint-Germain and Trevor Lawrence of the Jacksonville Jaguars receiving a significant signing bonus in crypto show that the alternative currencies are moving further into the mainstream.

Crypto in the gaming industry has also grown significantly, aided by the introduction of Web3. Axie Infinity, which features on an episode of "Down the Rabbit Hole," is an NFT-based online video game that enables players to earn a meaningful income. The largest NFT collection in the game amounts to a total trading volume of over $2.2 billion. Axie Infinity is becoming a "metaverse," a universe where people move freely about as avatars, encapsulating an otherworldly future.

These are just a few of the areas Ledger will be covering on "Down the Rabbit Hole." Crypto is more than just an obscure object traded on Wall Street — it's very much a part of the real world, with real stories to match.

Learn more about how Ledger can help you protect your digital assets.

This article was produced by Insider Studios with Ledger .