Sunday, June 19, 2011

Cyberpunk Sunday 004 - Virtual Currency and something completely different.

Let's start off this post with a little look at something related to the world economy. Say something along the lines of a virtual currency that isn't backed and supported by any government or major organization. Completely anonymous ability to 'pay' somebody with it. No real world form what so ever. I give you the Bitcoin.

Yes that's right... the Bitcoin.

Now what is this good for? Is this WoW gold or something? Well some places have embraced it completely. Several online services now accept it as payment.

Check their wiki for a list of them.

Now the first thing that came to mind was 'why would they do this?'. I mean it's virtual money and they offering services that usually fetch them real money. But here they are taking the Bitcoin as a form of payment. That's because some places buy and sell Bitcoins for real currency. Of course they charge a small exchange rate, that's how they make their money.

Here's one right now.

Going rate for a Bitcoin as I write this is $18.14 US. That's a pricey bit of coin that is. Trust me when I say people are starting to take notice. It has really become an amazing thing.

SmartMoney even did an article on it.

So now this makes for a very interesting future in money markets. It also proves the power of the internet at this point. When multiple bussinesses have decided to support a currency that only exists online and bears no allegiance to any countries printed currency. Of course there are all sorts of problems that will pop up and have to be worked out over the next few years of it's existance. But Bitcoin is really laying down some groundwork for a virtual economy.

Now remember up there at the top where I said it can be done anonymously. Yeah that's important on this last Bitcoin related link. You see everybody knows usually where there is big money to be made it's in something illegal. There is this Deepnet site (I'll talk about the Deepnet in the future) out there that provides a nice market for illegal goods. Drugs. Any drugs, all drugs, you name it and somebody is selling it for Bitcoin. You can't get to it by normal 'type in the URL' means either. You have to have a masked IP to get there, but once there you can take your pick of poison and pay for it with Bitcoin.

Wired has your 411 all about it.

So buying illegal drugs off a website that you have to know some computer trickery to get to and you pay for it with an untracable anonymous form of payment. Doesn't get much more cyberpunk than that.

Unless it's something that reads your brainwaves.

Yeah how about something that reads your brainwaves... wouldn't that be cool. Well it's out there. It can sense your brainwaves and tell if you are in deep thought, in a happy mood, daydreaming and what have you. It's a brain activity sensor that you wear on your head. No sticky pads with wires either, no surgery on the brain pan with some bits sticking out. That's cool as hell if you ask me.

So what does the company that came up with this thing do?


Yeah cat ears... that move around to different positions based on your current pattern of thought. Now I'm no furry fan but this is just such a 'what the fuck are you thinking' idea that even I love it. Absolutely insane. When it's ready to goto market they are going to sell these things like they are a cure for freaking cancer, impotence and heart disease all rolled into one. Going to rake in millions. Hopefully with that millions they will put some of it into making something useful with the technology. Like maybe even the first actual real function mood ring.


  1. I called there would be some growing pains with Bitcoin. Mt Gox got hacked and prices dropped like a rock. Not to mention some competition was also hurting them a bit. Resulting in the value dropping to pennies at one point on Mt Gox, and going up and down everywhere else.

    There were no fluctuation locks in place, which I've read that any online currency that is backed by a paper currency has. So if the value changes to much withing a certain time it locks the prices until the start of the next day of bussiness. Which considering the jumps have usually been in the positive lately they most likely didn't want them. However things will probably change now.

    Here are some links for all this:

    Oh and here's one of the competitors that has sprung up.

    If anything more comes up I'll add another comment.

  2. Oh another update... something I missed before somehow. How about some new malware designed just to get into your bitcoin wallet. As usual here's a link:

  3. If you have a chance you should track down a copy of Charlie Stross' Halting State- it is a kind of near-future sci-fi novel that centers on gaming virtual currency and the interaction of that with RW currency.

  4. And there I was, ready to recommend this article to Lowell.

  5. ...omg.... people are reading my articles....

    I'll have to try and find a copy of that book Lowell. Going to add it to my 'need to read' list. Although it may be a while before I get to it, getting ready to start digging into Dune.

    I'm finding the whole bitcoin idea very interesting. Especially considering states are looking for a way to start taxing online purchases. If that happens even more people may start going to the coin since they can't exactly tax a currency they don't control. But the fact that it has no financial backing has made it out to be a wonderful economic experiment to watch play out.