Saturday, March 7, 2020

Altered Carbon reduces cryptocurrency to black market payment option

 



The world of Bitcoin involves a lot of speculation of what the future will be like. Through the power of unlimited on chain scaling, Bitcoin SV (BSV) offers a world where much of the data and transactions of the world can be immutably recorded on chain, and micro transactions create entirely new business plans for intrepid individuals to pursue. But in fictional future of Netflix's Altered Carbon, cryptocurrencies appear to have found their place as nothing but black market currencies.

If you're unfamiliar with Altered Carbon, the show depicts our galaxy several centuries in the future, where a breathrough in science has allowed the rich and powerful to avoid permanent death by passing their consciousness into new bodies indefinitely. The central conflict of the show is between those with power and infinite life, nicknamed the Meths, and the various groups principally opposed to this technology due to the imbalance it creates between rich and poor. The main character of the show, Takeshi Kovacs, falls in the second camp.

The currency of the future is typically referred to as credits. The financial system supporting it is never discussed at length, and as the main characters typically have more than enough credits to do whatever they need to, the topic is never explored at very much length. But in season 2, episode 5, the set designers of the show decided to have a little fun inserting some cryptocurrencies into the mix.

In a scene where the characters are shopping for contraband technology and weapons, price tags for the items clearly have labels for several cryptocurrencies.
The Bitcoin logo in particular caused some conversation on twitter. Depending on how you tilt your head, it could either be a BTC or BSV logo.

The prices drawn up for the stickers were probably done without much thought, but the fictional prices of these contraband items is fun to think about. Gloves in the shot are worth 0.867 (either BTC or BSV) and 3,089 Litecoin. That would mean a current day price of between $210.57 and $193,309.62. Considering they are high tech, contraband gloves, it's probably toward the higher end.

While this is all a bit of good fun based on the background of a fictional universe, BSV supporters will want to hope that the real Bitcoin becomes the credits of the universe, rather than the black market payment option.

This is the second time in just a few weeks that Bitcoin gets referenced by a significant piece of pop culture. The Simpsons also recently gave a cryptocurrency explainer, with an on screen gag noting they knew the real identity of Satoshi, but "we're not telling."

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