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 and A Cryptocurrency Carol: Bitcoins’ Ghost
When Keynes awoke, the room was so dark that he could not distinguish the window from the walls of the room. He was attempting to put his Apple Watch on his wrist when an alert chimed on the watch. It simply read: “Lunch”. It was noon! It was past two when he went to bed. There must be something wrong with the watch. It was already twelve!
“Why, this isn’t possible,” said Keynes, “that I slept all night and all day. It’s already noon!”
He scrambled out of bed and rushed to the window, threw open the curtains and peered outside. For miles around, he could see a bustling city on an overcast day. The cold window began to fog under his hot breath and he stepped back. He slowly stepped back to his bed and sat down again.
He began to reflect on the night before when he met Bitcoin’s Ghost. Surely, it was a dream, he thought. After a moment, he noticed the room becoming darker as if a thunderstorm was rolling in. As he thought about the final warning that he received from Bitcoin’s Ghost, the room became pitch black and a strange light was visible from the edge of the bed.
Keynes scrambled to the foot of the bed and peered over. His eyes widened as he saw a small rectangular block floating in the air, just above the ground with the words “Genesis” emblazoned on it. As he peered closer, within the block he could see numbers and letters that were included in the first Bitcoin transaction. At the edge of the block he could make out some words and numbers. He got off the bed and knelt closely and was able to make out the words that read:
“The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks”
“What,” stammered Keynes, “what are you?”
“I am the Ghost of Bitcoin’s Past.” It said in a soft voice.
“Software past?” inquired Keynes: observant of its programming.
“No. Your past. Stand up and go with me.”
As he stood up, the air in the room shimmered and Keynes found himself standing in a small room with man sitting behind a monitor. From a distance, Keynes recognized the words at the top of the screen:
“Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System”
The man coughed and reached for a tissue box to clear his nose. Keynes was suddenly conscious of his presence. As if reading his mind,
“Fear not. He cannot see or hear us,” said Genesis.
From around the room, Keynes could see some newspapers. One newspaper had a date from October 2008. The newspaper article headline reads, “Nations Move on Plans to Shore Up Banks”. Another newspaper headline reads, “A.I.G. Secures $150 Billion Assistance Package”.
“Where are we?” Keynes timidly asks the ghost.
“We’re in Satoshi Nakamoto’s room where I was being created. In the years leading up to my creation, millions of homes were foreclosed, and tens of millions of people lost their jobs. Entire families were uprooted and destroyed. And yet, as my creator points out, it was the banks that were receiving the bailout money.”
“But that money eventually flows down to the people, doesn’t it?” Keynes retorted.
“The economic bubble that lead to the 2008 recession has happened several times before. And each time, entire nations of families suffer the hardship of not having the means to survive. With food, housing and medical bills on the rise, aggressive creditors calling and inflicting psychological stress upon people and the news filled with bankers receiving a million-dollar holiday bonuses. It is in this world and at this time that my code came to life.”
Standing behind Satoshi’s screen, he could see the man writing the code of the Bitcoin wallet. It seemed that the man was patiently writing and testing each section to get it right. In looking at the screen, he could see the similarities between the code and the ghost standing beside him.
“So, what of this? He is just a man with some software. I have created entire industries with billions of asset values.” Keynes implored.
“Have you forgotten what the core values are for money? It is an agreement to exchange like-kind wealth between two parties. In this time, there are so many middle men extracting wealth from every transaction,” the ghost continued, “Between credit card fees, inter-bank exchange fees, foreign currency exchange fees and more; it is little wonder that a person in the United States can easily conduct business with a person in Germany. While the internet has provided a means for global commerce, the monetary system is still based upon the rules of the 19th century. Satoshi wanted a simple, secure and inexpensive mechanism by which he could transact with another person anywhere in the world free from any middleman.”
“Take me back home!” Keynes exclaimed, “I cannot bear it!”