Star Trek Prediction: The Future of Currency is not BitCoin

Let's have some fun hypothesizing for Financial Literacy Month. What will our economy look like in the 24th century? Will money still exist?

Let's look into the Star Trek crystal ball. The brilliant creators of this series have been predicting the future of technology since inception in 1966. They predicted the mobile phone, tablet computers and even Google Glass.

image via dashburst.com

Let's take a look at what Star Trek says about currency and currency exchange. The basic principle behind the Star Trek economy is that money does not exist for the human race.

“Money does not exist in the 24th century”, Picard says to Lily. “We work to better ourselves and the rest of humanity.” The human race is certainly being portrayed as having superior moral ideology. Meanwhile, the rest of the galaxy still uses currency! It takes the form of gold bars called gold-pressed latinum.

Far simpler to mine, trade and exchange than BitCoin, latinum is a rare silver-colored liquid used by the Ferengi Alliance. To make the liquid easy to carry and trade, latinum is suspended within gold as a binding medium – hence the term gold-pressed latinum.

 

image via trekprops.de

There are several denominations of latinum.

  • 100 slips = 1 strip of latinum
  • 20 strips = 1 bar of latinum
  • Several bars = 1 brick of latinum (actual conversion is unknown)

In the Star Trek universe 17 bars, 3 strips and five slips of latinum is considered the average life savings of a middle-aged Ferengi.

The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition are the basis for the future of capitalism and the rules for currency exchange. There are 285 rules in total. Here is a mashup of all the rules ever spoken in a Star Trek episode.

Gambling and casinos still exist in the 24th century. Quark, on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, runs a casino where patrons gamble for latinum by playing a roulette-like game called Dabo.

Payments still exist in the 24th century and are even easier to transact. It can be done over video hangout! Riker uses his casino markers (vouchers) to pay Quark in latinum.

If you don’t have any latinum, then the trade economy and the concept of supply and demand is still relevant all over the universe.

image via thecia.com.au

Case in point: in the episode called The Price on Star Trek: The Next Generation, the Federation facilitates a trade agreement between multiple alien races for access to the Barzan wormhole in exchange for a variety of goods and services.

It looks like currency remains intact in the future and it appears to be far less sophisticated than BitCoin. In the meantime, the Star Trek pre-paid Visa card was just released in the United States. You can preload with latinum for your spending pleasure.

image via jklm.net

In the mean time, until they are available in Canada, check out other credit cards here.

 

  • mikeih says:

    There have been two major bitcoin cyberattacks this month. BIPS, one of the largest European Bitcoin payment processors, lost 1,295 Bitcoin (currently worth $1 million).

    BIPS' CEO Kris Henriksen recently said "Web Wallets are like a regular wallet that you carry cash in and not meant to keep large amounts in".

    Secure storage is clearly a problem for Bitcoin.

  • Andrew Lo Andrew Lo says:

    Scary stuff mikeih

  • I'm pretty sure that kid with the flip-top cellphone is not from 1973...

  • Andrew Lo Andrew Lo says:

    Hey Clifford, Excellent observation. I determined that was a radio shack walkie talkie...