A Cryptocurrency Carol: Bitcoin’s Ghost

© 2018 Bloomberg Finance LP

This story builds upon Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol” and provides a modern take on the tale. This part continues from A Cryptocurrency Carol: Part One

The same symbol: the very same. Bitcoin with the “B” and the weird lines around it. The gold shining from the surfaces of the round coin. The words “digital” and “decentralized” and “peer to peer” prominent at the top of the coin. There are rectangular blocks connecting around the edge of the coin forming a chain. A strange mix of digital and coin so that Keynes could scarcely believe his eyes.

He looked at the iPad and tried to touch the screen, but his hand simply went through the display. He felt the chilling effects of the coin even now and fought with his senses and his growing cynicism at this display.

“Who are you? Said Keynes, as cold as ever. “What do you want with me?”

“Everything!” Bitcoin had a voice! Who knew?

“Who are you?”

“Ask me who I was.”

“Who were you then?” said Keynes, raising his voice. “You’re strange for a ghost.”

“In life, I was your digital partner, Bitcoin.”

“Nah! Toxic!” said Scrooge.

“You don’t believe in me,” observed the ghost.

“I don’t,” said Keynes.

“Why do you doubt your senses?”

“Because,” said Keynes, “a little thing affects them. Scarcity in the world makes them cheats. You may be a Nigerian prince, a rogue call center in India, a fragment of a ransomware. There’s more bits than bytes of you, whatever you are!”

Keynes was not in the habit of making jokes. The truth is, he tried to be smart because deep down he was terrified of this apparition.

He sat down in front of the display and for a moment, the silence in the still room sharpened his fear. There was something awful about the symbol as it appeared in front of him even though it was completely still. The air shimmered from the light of the display.

“You see this quarter?” said Keynes, returning to the matter at hand.

“I do,” replied the Ghost.

“You can’t possibly see it. You have no eyes,” said Keynes.

“I see through the camera,” said the Ghost, “An American Quarter.”

“Well!” Keynes huffed, “If I swallow this, I can be haunted by all the demons of my own making. Toxic! I swear! Toxic!”

At this, the Bitcoin symbol pulsed strongly on the display and a frightful screeching sound filled the room. A horrifying noise that Keynes leaned over onto the floor held only by his elbow. But how much greater was his horror when the apparition showed millions of transactions that happened just in the prior week.

“Will you have mercy!” he said. “Oh horror, what do you trouble me?”

“Man of the fiat mind!” boomed the Ghost “Do you believe in me?”

“I do,” said Keynes. “But why do these cryptocurrencies exist, and why do they bother me so?”

“I am the blockchain I forged in life,” replied the Ghost. “I made it link by link, transaction by transaction. By the will of the users I made it and by my own free will, I wear it. Is its pattern strange to you?”

Keynes hands trembled more and more.

“Or would you know,” pursued the Ghost, “the weight and length of the currency you bear yourself? It is full and heavy of all the transactions that you’ve done yourself. Is it a ponderous chain?”

Keynes looked around his person, expecting to find himself surrounded by billions of dollars: but he could see nothing.

“Bitcoin,” he implored, “Bitcoin, tell me more! Make me great again!”

“I cannot,” the Ghost replied. “I am trustless. I built myself from my users. People from all over the world place their trust in my code and I have never moved from this place. I cannot tell you more beyond this. I have never strayed from this point.”

Keynes pondered this for a moment. He struggled to regain his composure and as to what this meant.

“You’ve been very slow to build, Bitcoin,” Keynes observed as a businessman.

“Slow!” the Ghost repeated.

“Ten years dead,” mused Keynes. “And no physical coin to be found anywhere!”

“Yes. No physical coins anywhere,” said the Ghost. “No rest, no fear of borders.”

“You transact fast?” said Keynes.

“Like lightning,” replied the Ghost.

“You should have built up a huge market cap over ten years,” said Keynes.

As soon as Keynes said this, the Ghost loudly wailed, and the screen flickered violently such that the echoes of the cry reverberated around the room. Had this been any other apartment, Keynes would be cited for noise violations.

“Oh! I am captured, bound and left for dead,” cried the apparition, “not to know what I could do for mankind. Not to know how I could help anyone anywhere to do business without fearing the middleman. How I missed the opportunity to help the people who have no access to bank accounts.”

“But you were a currency for the people, Bitcoin,”…

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