The Crypto Revolution Has Begun. Which Side Are You On?
They took the last of the dandelion extract and painted a faint sun at the top of their most recent work.
They would have to sneak out for more natural colours the next time the drones weren’t flying overhead. But X-42 had enough canvass scraps and fresh un-spliced herbs to bargain with. If you aren’t encrypted, bartering is the only means of survival.
Somehow, Satoshi Nakamoto’s cryptocurrency blended with COVID-19, future diseases that “could not be cured” by vaccinations, and the almost complete downfall of anything that wasn’t digital. During and following COVID-19, the world had moved to everything online and untouchable. Gradually, everything moved to services that could anticipate your every need. Everyone knew that implanted microchips weren’t far off. And ones that could anticipate and immediately respond to any illness just made sense.
Fifty or more years later, those who had first started mining Bitcoin and opting into NEO, are doing well. Their homes are always the right temperature, their jobs are mediocre but safe, and the faces they see on Bitstream are their faces. They have names like Nova and Legend and Sage. They have survived the floods and final destruction of major rainforests, and they have come out on top.
Sometimes they even forget that they are plugged in, like an interconnected matrix of people around the world. They still have backyards, though these are confined to polished decks, since everything has been replaced by condos. The chips help filter air and water, so everything smells and tastes fresh, whether it is or not. And this is all supported, while they eat and sleep, by mining. Their microchips are mining and trading and updating, all unnoticeable in the background. Connect, to receive. And most people did.
But people like X-42 are living less luxuriously. X, as in exit, or end. And 42 is a category or location; it doesn’t matter. X received the microchip, but something never felt right. It was the full digitization of art in the mainstream culture, through NFTs, that finally did it.
A group of anti-NFTs rose up, saying that there was nothing unique about this form of art or media. People, like X, started digging their chips out of their heads, leaving gaping spaces that never quite healed. But, like a reset, X-42 instantly felt more alive off the grid. Living in a crypto-city, X barters for resources while trying to find ways to overthrow the new regime.
Along with food and basic resources, real art is highly sought after, both by those chipped and those not. X-42 cuts up bigger canvasses to make small cuts of purely individual art. A finger pressed to paper can never create something the same over and over. NFTs for autotuned music or chip-headed words can. X-42 was lucky to have been artistic before the clouded concrete settled. They even knew someone that still had a dark room and made real prints of photographs.
Many of the pictures are scenes taken quickly before another drone passes by, but prints that can be touched and put on a wall without a screen are so rare. Even more are the chemicals needed for them, which are running out, so that each photo is nearly priceless. The dark prince, as most people called them, was as wealthy as an X could be, and often bought X-42’s herbs just to be supportive of another outsider.
What is the eventuality of these future humans? The X’s rise up like revolutionaries and take over a small section of the world, cryptocurrency finds a way to mine robot bodies so humans are not necessary, or a new race of computer-aided super humans takes over as a new species. Impossible to say.
The only thing for certain is that even those that have their heads in the clouds, their bodies chipped and their minds constantly mining, understand how important the tangible can be.