A glorious future of spending, where zingy Cryptocurrencies replace our boring old currencies, is now a 100%, no-questions-asked, nailed-on certainty.
If you wish you’d got on board with other paradigm shifts like Google Plus, the Segway, Betamax, and the Zune just before they changed the world, then you’re probably already hedging your bets and reading this with one eye on your bulging Coinbase portfolio.
Yes, our tedious old fiat currencies - which, remember, are made of pulped wood, base metals, and grey rectangles of plastic - are Audi 5000, grandad.
And despite the worth of currencies like Bitcoin fluctuating in the manner of Lou Reed’s back catalogue (that astonishing 30% pre-Christmas 2017 dip was the Bitcoin Metal Machine Music), people seem to be reasonably satisfied that Bitcoin Is The Future.
Maybe these wild oscillations will level out, or maybe they’ll become the norm, too, and we’ll just have to live with it. MONTAG, who prudently invested some change found down the back of the sofa in BTC back in 2011, now has more money than Jesus.
And so, having run out of ways to fritter our crypto away, we flipped some sweet BTC into dollars just before the dip, employed a wild-haired investor to create a time-machine, and sent our intrepid correspondent Joe Sparrow forward in time. We asked him to find out what popping to the shops and buying some everyday items is like when the value of money varies wildly from moment to moment…
SCENE: OUTSIDE YOUR LOCAL CORNERSHOP/BODEGA/SPÄTI, SOMETIME IN 2019
THERE’S A MOMENTARY FLASH OF LIGHT, ACCOMPANIED BY A LOUD, HIGH-PITCHED SHRIEKING SOUND AS YOUR MONTAG CORRESPONDENT COMPLETES HIS PIONEERING TRIP INTO THE FUTURE.
YOUR BOLD, BRAVE, CONFUSED MONTAG CORRESPONDENT STOPS MAKING LOUD, HIGH-PITCHED SHRIEKING AND STAGGERS INTO THE CORNERSHOP.
MONTAG: WILD EYED, DRY-MOUTHED What year is it??!? Who’s the president?!?!
UTTERLY NON-PLUSSED SHOP OWNER: It’s 2019. Donald Trump, still, amazingly.
MONTAG: Oh god, what kind of tortuous paradox could have created such a terrible alternative dystopian future timeline?
Oh, I see.
MONTAG: And wait, they told me that they’d send me to a time when a cryptocoin had been widely adopted as the de-facto worldwide currency… and it’s 2019.
OWNER: Yeah, that all happened pretty quickly.
MONTAG: So I get to travel through time, and it’s only 16 months in the future. I may as well have not bothered to freeze my sperm after all. Oh, and I paid for that in Euros too. What a waste.
OWNER: Don’t want to be rude, but are you here to just shoot the breeze, or what? I have a new delivery of Fidget Spinners arriving by drone at noon.
MONTAG: Wait, Fidget Spinners outlasted fiat currencies? That figures I guess. Yeah, anyway, I’ve been sent though time to use crypto to buy “whatever the future equivalent of a newspaper and a pint of milk is,” which I assume that seeing as it’s only 2019, is still a newspaper and a pint of milk.
OWNER: Pint of milk and a newspaper? That’ll cost you 0.00000000000000023963, please. So why are you doing this again?
MONTAG: It’s immersion reportage for a fancy blog, you see.
OWNER: Uh-huh… and what’s a blog, again?
MONTAG: Wow, Fidget Spinners outlasted a lot of things, didn’t they?
OWNER: Well, I’m still selling them for a pretty good price.
OWNER NODS SAGELY AT A HANDWRITTEN SIGN: “Fidget Spinners, Now Only D0.0000000000000001528”
MONTAG: (SLOWLY ASSUMING MARTY MCFLY’S “WIDE-EYED AND CONFUSED” TIME-TRAVEL STATE) Erm, what does the “D” in “D0.0000000000000001528” stand for? I thought “B” was the currency symbol for Bitcoin?
OWNER: What.... ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!
PAUSES FOR BREATH AND TO START FILMING THE BEFUDDLED REACTION OF MONTAG’S INTREPID EXPLORER ON HER IPHONE 13
OWNER: Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha - LOL, your face just then. “Bitcoin.” Classic.
OWNER: Wait. You really don’t know?
OWNER: The “D” is for Dogecoin.
OWNER: It was Dogecoin. Dogecoin was the winner of The Great Crypto Conflation of late ’18. Everyone else’s currencies deflated to the point of worthlessness as Dogecoin’s glorious and unstoppable ascent took place.
OWNER: Dogecoin. It turned out memes really were the most valuable thing that humanity is able to produce, and Dogecoin was literally designed to capture this value. There are a lot of Smug Redditors who are now Unfathomably Wealthy Smug Redditors.
MONTAG: (SLACK-JAWED, PRODDING AT PHONE SCREEN) Well, thank Jah they gave me a few different coins… I have a Dogecoin wallet, here in the app folder named “Novelty Coin Wallets.” I’ll have this carton of milk and this newspaper, please.
OWNER: Sure, that’ll be 0.0000725222 please.
MONTAG: Hang on. That price was definitely different a minute ago. It took you a lot less time to read all the zeros out.
OWNER: Like, duh. Dogecoin is still very volatile.
A DISTANT RUMBLING BEGINS
MONTAG: But… why? If everyone uses Dogcoin, why is it fluctuating so much?
OWNER: Because of the memes.
DISTANT RUMBLING GETS LOUDER, SMALL ITEMS START TO VIBRATE
MONTAG: The memes?
OWNER: The memes.
MONTAG: The memes?
OWNER: The memes.
OWNER: Dogecoin is a meme-based currency. When someone posts a really dank meme, the value of Dogecoin goes up and the price of stuff goes down. So there’s a constant fluctuation and finally, a true incentive to keep posting really sweet memes. You really need to keep your eye on 4chan to get the best prices.
DISTANT RUMBLING IS NOW A ROAR. COINS ARE RATTLING AND WINDOWS ARE SHAKING IN THEIR FRAMES
MONTAG: What is that terrifying noise?
OWNER: Sounds like a meme has gone super-viral. Maybe Trump RT’d it, or maybe PewDiePie has posted a reaction video to it. It’ll have pushed prices low again. Now’s your chance!
MONTAG: Great, in that case I’ll…
AT THAT MOMENT THE ROARING IS REVEALED TO BE THE SOUND OF HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE RUNNING TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE SUDDEN LOW PRICES. THE SHOP IS SUDDENLY FLOODED WITH PEOPLE GRABBING EVERYTHING AVAILABLE AND WAVING SMARTPHONES WITH QR CODES ON THE SCREENS.
TEN MINUTES PASS.
OWNER: Hey, where did you go?
MONTAG: I’m down here, under the JonTron Collectable Action Figure rack. I got trampled… I think I’ve broken my pelvis… please can you call an ambulance?
OWNER: Sure, sure… dials phone… wait, which health insurance plan do you have, CoinYe or TrumpCoin?
MONTAG: Faints due to pain and incomprehension