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Author Topic: Bitcoin in the Future (of sci-fi)  (Read 622 times)
littlebit
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January 21, 2013, 08:38:27 PM
 #1

Although the Federation as shown in Star Trek is a communist utopia, when they do dealings with other races often a currency is needed. Gold-pressed latinum is the standard in the series since it cannot be replicated, but don't you think they would have have a cryptocurrency like bitcoin by that point? I want to discuss the pros and cons of dealing in bitcoin (digital, immaterial, but those can be both beneficial and non) or a physical good (the aforementioned gold-pressed latinum.) Bitcoin seems like it has similar benefits, where as latinum is unable to be replicated, bitcoins are limited to 21m total. What do you guys think? I think it would make certain transactions smoother (weapons trades and the like) if you just had to transfer bitcoins to the seller rather than ship them latinum which, who knows, could be seized or the ship carrying it could be blown up or whatever.
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Peter Lambert
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January 21, 2013, 09:40:31 PM
 #2

Although the Federation as shown in Star Trek is a communist utopia, when they do dealings with other races often a currency is needed. Gold-pressed latinum is the standard in the series since it cannot be replicated, but don't you think they would have have a cryptocurrency like bitcoin by that point? I want to discuss the pros and cons of dealing in bitcoin (digital, immaterial, but those can be both beneficial and non) or a physical good (the aforementioned gold-pressed latinum.) Bitcoin seems like it has similar benefits, where as latinum is unable to be replicated, bitcoins are limited to 21m total. What do you guys think? I think it would make certain transactions smoother (weapons trades and the like) if you just had to transfer bitcoins to the seller rather than ship them latinum which, who knows, could be seized or the ship carrying it could be blown up or whatever.

There is a problem of synchronizing bitcoin across interstellar distances, but if you can work out instantaneous communication (by somehow sending information instantly between points rather than being limited to the speed of light) then it could work just fine.

In the sci-fi webcomic "Schlock Mercenary" they seem to have a monetary system which operates very similar to bitcoins, where there are "credits" (or for larger purchases, kilocredits) which are passed around from computer to computer, but require the signature of the sender to be sent.

It is much easier to send information across long distances than physical money, so the advantage of cryptocurrency currently seen when making payments internationally would be amplified when making payments interplanetarily.

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January 21, 2013, 10:16:15 PM
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Interesting question!

For a physical currency to work (like gold), it would have to be both impossible to manufacture/replicate and naturally rare. I would imagine in a future with space and faster-than-light travel available, nothing would be impossible to replicate. And if it was impossible to replicate, presumably "people" would be flying all over the universe scanning for planets with a high concentration of it available for mining.

OTOH, a crypto-currency would require instant transmission of data across any distance. If you accept that a world of multiple interacting aliens requires FTL travel to be feasible in the first place, then FTL data transmission seems pretty plausible. But would the less-powerful aliens accept a digital currency? I'm guessing they wouldn't. Consider the Ferenghi (sp?) from DS9. They're money-grubbing and generally paranoid that someone's going to steal their loot at any time. Knowing that a heavy-hitter like the Federation might screw around with the blockchain and steal their money would probably keep them trading latinum instead.
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January 22, 2013, 04:40:52 AM
 #4


In the sci-fi webcomic "Schlock Mercenary" they seem to have a monetary system which operates very similar to bitcoins, where there are "credits" (or for larger purchases, kilocredits) which are passed around from computer to computer, but require the signature of the sender to be sent.


Credits are commonly used as a sci-fi currency. Perhaps one millionth of a bitcoin (100 satoshis) would be usefully known as a credit. Especially as 1 BTC would be about $1million if BTC became a global currency driving out all the fiat.

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January 22, 2013, 11:43:31 PM
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In the sci-fi webcomic "Schlock Mercenary" they seem to have a monetary system which operates very similar to bitcoins, where there are "credits" (or for larger purchases, kilocredits) which are passed around from computer to computer, but require the signature of the sender to be sent.


Credits are commonly used as a sci-fi currency. Perhaps one millionth of a bitcoin (100 satoshis) would be usefully known as a credit. Especially as 1 BTC would be about $1million if BTC became a global currency driving out all the fiat.

Yeah exactly, BTC could definitely be "credits" of the scifi future currency.
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January 23, 2013, 12:21:44 AM
 #6

Even if you can sync your client faster than light, Relativity makes it impossible for all wallets to be in the same time unless they are all stationary in relation to each other. You can't sync the block every ten minutes on every wallet as they vary wildly in how far they are in the future or the past.

Likewise: If you take off in a fleet at close to light speed your wallets will be a fork when you get back home. as they are behind because of time dialation and can't keep up because that ten minutes of your trip is two years on earth.

So that is two limits space time puts on Bitcoin. So if you are limited to only speed of light communications, to stay in sync any wallet can't be more than 10 light minutes away from any of the other wallets. if you count in p2p node relaying lag, you have to be closer than that. You would not be able to have a wallet on Mars.

You could make an Alt coin that synced once a month for a large Empire, but each colony would have to run it's own fork for ten minutes transactions and an authority would be needed to prevent cheating and monthly syncing with Spacecoin.

On the other hand if Bitcoin is the global currency and the Banks have crumbled, no debt money can be created to finance a space faring empire! Satoshi prevented in that way, that interplanetary syncing would ever become a problem.



 
 
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vite
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January 23, 2013, 08:35:31 PM
 #7

keeping wallers sync 10 min away from each other in a stationary matter is an enourmously expensive task.
earth and moon can keep the same currency cause they are close enough to keep in sync.
Mars and beyond is a whole other game.

There are two probable ways this would play out. Either with various currency exchanges sprouting all over the known colonies or unified currency for the entire colony system with each colony having its own local currency.

Example 1
Very similar to what we see now a days world wide, as you travel to different regions of the world you get currency exchanges that trade currencies popular to that region. So if your in a trade ship travelling around to different colonies as you would have to plan and trade your currency depending on the route. Travellers would need to use software that handles multiple crypto currencies.
On a "government" level embassies would play an important role in recieving or sending funds, smart governments would use offline at their place of origin and keep a watching wallet at the embassy...

Example 2
Every colony would have a their own local currency that would be weighed against a the universal currency. Similar to Cuban Pesos and Cuban Convertible Pesos or how certain greek villages use barter credits but deal in euros with the rest of the euro zone. local governments would have to determine the rules of printing new currency in order to wiegh their currency against the universal currency. Travellers would use a universal currency wallet to trade. Embassies would also serve as supervising agents to make sure local governments dont cheat.

 

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