Tales from the Edict 26C - A Virtual Crime
Updated: Apr 30, 2021
By the fall of 2029, a Wall Street analyst estimated that almost three quarters of a billion people and businesses had made investments in crypto currencies. The market value of those investments was the equivalent of the entire US national debt at the time the 45th President took office in 2017. Never, or since, has such an enormous quantity of wealth ($2e+13) been invested in anything quite so illusory as a digital product that can neither be seen nor heard. Yet despite the widespread adoption of crypto currencies, there was no formalisation of the product into mainstream commerce. A few companies had dabbled in using the more reputable digital products – Tesla sold cars in Bitcoin but few actually used them to purchase since the price rises were continuous and an investor risked losing extra profit. Similarly credit card transactions remained rooted in a transaction process. The truth was that crypto currencies were too valuable an asset to use as currency.
Instead, consumers were hoarding their digital wealth and when the Chinese consumer market finally caught on to the investment opportunity, prices started a relentless upward climb. Meanwhile traditional currencies were now seen as risky, and consumers spent cash quickly. The velocity of money sped up.
With almost a billion advocates around the world crypto currencies had a lot of enthusiastic investors and supporters, which explained why the market lasted as long as it did.
By October 2029 almost all Chinese consumer investment had transferred from traditional real estate purchases to ‘Open House’, leaving the Chinese construction industry in a downturn which soon came to the attention of the government. If provincial authorities were reporting growth in house sales, why was the construction industry idling? The central government moved to admonish what it perceived as deliberate misreporting by regional authorities. If the regions could not manage their local construction industry and report accurately, Beijing would investigate. The threat was a very real one to the party officials in the lower echelons whose careers depended on progressing up the ladder.
Open House was abruptly stopped as officials sought a solution to keep Beijing out of their business. In doing so the largest consumer audience for cryptocurrencies was cut out of the market — and it began to fall back. The fall only accelerated as news of the Chinese housing building irregularities filtered into the wider world. The graphs went into reverse and prices plummeted as millions tried to get their money out. It transpired that significant amounts of money had been borrowed to invest in cryptocurrencies. Hundreds of millions lost their investments. Tens of millions lost everything. Thousands took their own lives. By the end of January 2030, the world had lurched from mild recession into a full-blown depression. In China, the housing market only survived because of the natural aversion to mortgages, nevertheless for many millions of families, the collapse of the cryptocurrency market took whole family savings and retirement nest eggs. The nation was as poor as it had been in 1995. The internal economy looked to be on the brink of collapse. The nation was humiliated in its fall. War threatened.