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Cryptocurrency and a Practical Guide to Eternal Life

People often say that the only certain things in life are death and taxes, but now with crypto-currency, this no longer has to be the case! Fearful, conservative thinkers have spent plenty of time on the topic of tax avoidance, but what’s worth more thought is how crypto-currencies can radically change the way that life and death are treated by free-world societies.

Let’s explore how dead people can influence business more than the living; and how this will lead to people ordering baby twins on the black market.

The free world relies heavily on money as a lever for getting things done, but in order to engage in the stream of money, someone has to be there, deciding how to spend the money. This is fundamentally what has led to most of our money being spent only by people who are alive. The other case is when someone dies and leaves buried treasure; or they dictate terms in their will, such as their son having to divorce his wife.

The orders left behind by the deceased are heavily restricted in scope, because a living human needs to play along and honour the contract. Already, wills are contested quite frequently, as though someone actually has a right to challenge the wishes of the deceased.

A deal being conducted in the street

© snatti89

Another restriction on post-mortem spending is that since the orders rely on humans carrying them out, they have to be very simple, along the lines of if this thing happens, then the money goes here, otherwise it goes to some other place. To enable more exciting plans, someone would have to actually encode their plan into an algorithm to be run on a computer. Using cloud computing, it is already possible to set up automatic billing, then you’re free to keep on computing whatever it is that decides where to direct your money when you call your bank’s API. Many banks have terrible attitudes towards software, so they do their calculations in spreadsheets and don’t provide customers with APIs, but that’s a topic for another time.

In spending any money, both the living and the dead have the fear that the other party will renege. If this other party is still alive, then at least they have something to lose, so they have a fear of you retaliating. If Alice is dead and is considering doing business with Bob, then there is fear on both sides, as Bob can’t carry out any revenge and Alice can’t initiate any revenge. Even if she’d had the foresight to set up her cloud-computing soul, many of her methods for revenge would be illegal, either arbitrarily or due to free-world morals.

On this point of dead people having nothing to lose, it is a grave concern of mine that with modern medicine, it’s possible to predict when someone is going to die, as it leads to problems similar to what Alice and Bob face, except that Alice can actually initiate things and go on a rampage in her few remaining months.

In the cloud-computing soul example, some of the desired actions would be illegal simply because governments make laws that in making a contract, someone has to be alive and they cannot even be a child − a policy which, if revised, could prevent robots from stealing jobs.

In terms of the justifiably illegal actions like hiring hitmen, there had previously been little to worry about, because it would be far too difficult for the soul to contact a hitman without the authorities finding out; sabotaging the plan; and seizing the assets of the ghost. Crypto-currencies can be used to stop government hands from taking the money, but there would still be a risk that AWS would comply in shutting down the soul.

In the most Deus-ex-machina twist there could be, Ethereum allows Alice’s soul to perform her computing in the currency itself, allowing her soul to live on without the threat of someone being able to shut down the computer. With this restriction removed, the soul is free to carry out whatever it wishes.

When thinking of what you’d like to achieve, you can now consider not only the realms of “if I won the lottery” or “if I was more attractive”, but “if I were dead”. Maybe even “if I won the lottery while dead” − a feat that is achievable right now if something happens before the draw.

Ethereum’s programming is Turing-complete (just like Excel!), meaning that anything can be computed (although each block is limited in its complexity). Ethereum programs can have users vote on a particular outcome or they can even call external websites, outside the economy. This way, Alice’s soul could determine whether her wishes had been fulfilled, before making the payment.

The Mechanical Turk, a chess-playing automaton that would carry out the desires of a human player.

The Mechanical Turk, a chess-playing automaton that would carry out the desires of a human player. Image: Public domain, courtesy of Karl Gottlieb von Windisch

Just to any clients reading this who would prefer to work with “nice” people: it’s entirely possible that in prolonging one’s soul, you could spend your money on something akin to “random acts of kindness” − your soul could watch a Twitter hashtag and apply sentiment analysis, then pay that person if eg they said that they’d vote the same way that you would have, had you still been alive and maintained your voting rights.

It’s a strange scenario right now dead people are allowed to vote if they mailed their ballot before their demise.

In considering the repercussions for taking revenge against a swindling cloud-computing soul, not only is it impossible to physically harm them, they have no further need for their money and can afford to pay an enormous price for their work to be carried out. Cloud-computing souls can quite quickly transform our economy from working towards robots that drive or cook, to an economy where absurd amounts of money might be spent on a potato salad party, hitmen for minor grudges, or crowd-funded mercenaries that capture countries.

Crime could become such a profitable business that police will be overwhelmed, since they’re only able to manage our population under the assumption that most people want to behave legally even if there weren’t a law about it. Our policing model would thereby end up bearing closer resemblance to the purge.

mirkokosmos by sparth (Nicolas Bouvier)

© sparth [Nicolas Bouvier]

This post-apocalyptic scenario needn’t play out if trust-worthy robots could handle all justice, as it would prevent grudges from ever getting to the hitman contract stage.

Money was the proxy that was being used to run the world, but any process is best run by a computer. This is the core value proposition of Ethereum. People can now have their interactions and consequences defined more closely by their own desires and by fairer societies.

They can achieve eternal life by having their personality live on without the unnecessary requirement of a living body. Laws and money form one means of enabling human interaction, but they are not scalable; they can only accommodate their own people.

A truly scalable way of conducting affairs is to rely on processes that can accommodate anyone; to have a platform for doing things.

Futuristic city with people on a literal platform.

© Gregory Fromenteau

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