Do you know that there are books that had talked about cryptocurrencies even before Satoshi did?
Were we really given a glimpse of the future just by reading the books? If you have been reading sci-fi books in the past years, have you encountered about digital currencies or cryptocurrencies or something alike? If you do, then good for you! You were already aware back then that something like digital currencies are going to exist in the later years!
There are plenty of books written on cryptocurrency, but most of these works are non-fiction. But today we will travel through some fictional stories that mention Bitcoin or make allusions to it in their universes. Сryptocurrencies are growing in popularity nowadays, so not so many authors have devoted their work to this topic.
But if you’d search for some fiction about crypto yourself, you would likely come across these three standout books.
Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson
Described by some as “profound and prophetic,” Cryptonomicon is a thrilling novel which takes place in two eras, going back and forth between them – WWII and the World Wide Web. This book offers some historical facts involving military episodes and drama mixed with the author’s thoughts about the future.
The truly revolutionary influence of Bitcoin is shown in this novel. Neal Stephenson predicted the forthcoming cryptocurrencies in the beginning of ‘00s as “Cryptonomicon” was published on November 5, 2002.
This book has it all: cracking the Enigma code, promoting the idea of creating a “data haven” – a spot in Southeast Asia where encrypted data would be kept and exchanged at ease. Satirical descriptions of the characters and bold humor have their own place in this twisted plot. However, some find this book difficult to read.
A few years ago the author of “Cryptonomicon” got acquainted with famous Bitcoin startup investor Roger Ver. The meeting ended with Neal Stephenson getting his phone upgraded.
— Roger Ver (@rogerkver) October 6, 2013
Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow
The next book in our review is Down and out in the Magic Kingdom which was published almost a year later than “Cryptonomicon,” on December 5, 2003. It might be described as a mixture of Disney World and Haunted Mansion.
The novel deals with a respect-based currency Whuffie, used in the post-shortfall economy. These digital coins resemble Bitcoin in a way. And surely, the more Whuffie people earn, the more they enjoy it.
According to the book, even if a civilization has abundant resources, the Whuffie system has both pros and cons. The cons result in a number of undesirable effects for some characters – which likens it to some of the real economic systems.
Also, in the story, everyone has mind chips which make it easier for machines to control humans’ consciousness. The machines are able to think for people and immediately tell them the social status of others. This system also keeps track of the way every person gained his or her Whuffie.
Later, the author actually tweeted that “Whuffie would be a terrible currency.”
Ten years after his debut novel, Cory Doctorow tweeted a picture of a Bitcoin ATM which prints paper versions of Bitcoins, similarly to how it was in his book.
Bitcoin ATM pic.twitter.com/hBSnHCZgXq
— Cory Doctorow (@doctorow) February 23, 2013
Future Imperfect by David D. Friedman
The last book we are going to talk about is Future Imperfect. It’s a bit younger than the previous two as it was brought out on July 21, 2008. A number of possible future scenarios are fascinatingly described in it.
The full name of the novel is “Future Imperfect: Technology and Freedom in an Uncertain World.” In this book, we can find descriptions and discussions on different technological revolutions that might happen in the near future. Achievements in virtual reality, encryption, biotechnology and nanotechnology might be helpful to create a better society. But who knows?
“Ecash” which is present in the book, brings it closer to the topic of cryptocurrency. David D. Friedman also mentions ways of preserving privacy online and surviving in a quickly evolving society. Nearly a decade after, some technologies described by the author are starting to develop.
The novel’s key topic is the vagueness and unpredictability of the future from an economist’s point of view. Technological progress might cause different changes in life like the reintroduction of slavery or, on the contrary, provide more freedom. All spheres of life from law to medicine will undergo thorough modifications.
Keep reading and stay smart
Have you read any of these books? Do you know any other fictional stories that involve cryptocurrency? Feel free to comment and share your ideas with each other as well as us in the comments.