Mad Crab Mojave: Chapter 44

In which Jones identifies a motive

Back in his motel room, Jones brooded over his notes. The cyborgs at Carmela’s had been obsessed with crypto - standard dinner conversation a decade ago, but bitcoin was out of fashion now. A stray thought tickled the back of his brain. The scrap of paper he’d  retrieved from the lava tube was laying on his nightstand. He picked it up and stared at it. The random numbers and letters snapped into focus. He was holding a bitcoin. Jones had abstained from the craze when it first took off, so he didn’t recognize what he had. Once, it had been worth a year’s pay. Today, he wasn’t sure if he could buy an enchilada dinner with it. Even if he did know the password.

Mad Crab had bitcoin, and they were thinking about acquiring more. But why would they want to collect a useless speculative currency? It was like accumulating vintage poker chips. Even if the value did start to rise again as part of an alternative economy for irrational agents, it would be impossible to get enough of it to fund anything. By design, bitcoin mining had ceased years ago. The supply was fixed, there would be no more. Most of what existed had probably already been lost forever. The only thing bitcoin had going for it was name recognition, and the fact that it was the only blockchain currency that had never been hacked.

The realization hit Jones like a lightning bolt from Mt. Gox. One of the primary possibilities of quantum computing was cryptographic innovation. BeyondMelinda might have turned herself into a highly-powerful widely-distributed super-intelligence, but she was still based on ones and zeros. Now that Mad Crab had the military grade quantum supercomputer, she would have the hardware she needed to crack bitcoin. Mad Crab would completely control the alternative money supply, and Beyond Melinda would have enough computing resources to do anything she wanted.