“So where are they?” Archer laid down his drink and spread his arms to illustrate a point, “All these secret billionaires, Lana!? Lana?!!”
Lana rolled her eyes and mumbled something to herself, shook her head and pointedly returned to her reading.
Archer was not amused. “Lana!!” he called, his eyebrows furring. And what followed, Lana knew, was unavoidable. She closed her eyes and took in a deep, deep breath. “Remember the stoics” she said to herself.
“LA-NAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!” Archer reddened, shouting at the top of his lungs.
“What?” Lana restrained herself.
“Where are all the secret billionaires hoarders, Lana? You’re saying anybody could get their hands on millions of $gays without selling their organs?”
“For the third time, Archer, it’s pronounced $gweis, not ‘gays'” Cyril interjected.
“Shut up Figgis, nobody asked you” Archer snapped.
“Something something teach a pig to sing” Ray mumbled under his mustache.
“Said the gay cyborg hillbilly…gay…man.” Archer hasn’t warmed up to the new money. “Look, I understand dollars” he said to Lana. “I give the bartender one hundred dollar note, he gives me a black russian — and a couple of other drinks plus tip. Done deal. But now, I’ve only just been allowed out of the hospital after my second coma…”
“Third” Marjory interrupted. “Not only you’re a fainting goat but also a sleeping beauty. Your first coma lasted only a few minutes, in frozen water, and you nearly didn’t make it.” She said in a tone reserved for disappointed mothers.
“…only just got out of the hospital” Archer continued, scowling, “dying for a drink, I find a bar, I ask for a fuzzy navel, and the barman says ‘That’d be ten something gays’. I thought I didn’t hear him well, it sounded too cheap but I couldn’t care less. It turns out I’ve been charged seventy eight dollars. That’s $78 for a drink Lana!”
“Poor Archer” Krieger’s voice came through the speakers when he decided to join the conversation he’s been watching intently on his lab’s large monitor. ” Waking up from eleven years of comma to a change in everyone’s preferred monetary unit can be…..very traumatic” he explained. “We had all these years to get used to cryptocurrency, see it gradually being accepted everywhere, hear the news that Ethereum transactions overtook credit cards, government bonds, and the entire US dollars in market cap. We had the chance to witness the holdings in smart contracts outgrow banks’. And finally, watch the the dollar shrinking in value as soon as the Federal government that ‘if you can’t beat them join them…”
“He’s right you know” Cheryl, who has been gluing quietly in the corner, decided to joins the conversation. “This inflation is so bad that my brother’s accountant had a conversation with me. He said that our assets are worth ‘nearly a thousand ‘EHM JIZZ’. So I’m like ‘What’s that in dollars?’ And he’s like ‘We speak in MGs now, mega $gweis — that’s a million $gweis Ms Tunt’ Cheryl mocked. “So I’m like ‘YOU’RE NOT MY SUPERVISOR’!…” Cheryl shouted breathless.
“I’m not surprised” Ray interjected. “Dollar’s value is so bad that the price of renewing your licence at the DVLA is like $GWI80.”
“Everyone. Shut. Up” Archer lost his patience when the attention veered away from him. I get that everyone prefers the new money. But you can’t tip a stripper with it, you can’t slip it to the maid, it’s worth a weird fraction above $7 — which changes every time I ask, and some places don’t even accept dollars anymore! That just….gay” he lost momentum.
“It’s digital money” Cyril spoke to Archer as of he’s five. “You used credit cards before, online banking… crypto money is not that different, Archer.”
“Except Lana says that — $gweis” Archer hesitated pronouncing it, “– $gweis cost pennies only a few years ago FIGGIS. In fact” Archer pointed his drink accusingly, “Lana says that BEFORE my first coma it was what, a million $gweis for a dollar?!”
“Do you remember that I sold our cocain for crypto money?” Archer was answered by Krieger’s voice on the speakers. The sound was followed by the clicking of ice cubes in Mallory’s glass.
“Except that you didn’t” Mallory groaned. “You could have made us billions” she spat. “A whole Ethereum for pennies; ahhhhh” Mallory trailed off dreaming of all the real estate she could have owned if only she knew.
“In fact” Krieger corrected her, “one ETH was widely traded for $5 in 2016. And in 2018 you could buy a whole Ethereum for a few hundred dollars. Anyone could buy it completely legally on the internet, in regulated exchanges.”
“No” Archer insisted. I mean, you’re saying that ordinary people, say Woodhouse for example, or Pam, could get like a whole ‘terium — that’s a BILLION $gweis for you Lana — for less than, what, a kajiliion dollars?”
“Anybody. Even Woodhouse” Lana decided to take a shot. “Any Joe Shmoe could buy whole Ethereums for a few thousand dollars. Not a ‘kajillion’, which is not even a number. And lots of people did, Archer.”
“So where are those billionaires Lana? WHERE?” Archer interrupted, as he does.
“– but a lot of people did not keep it” Lana pushed through. “Before you went into a coma Archer” she said patiently. “Prices of the ‘new money’ were not regulated, so volatile. It took you a year to save up $2,000, you buy Ethereum, prices fluctuate and your investment drops 50%. That was too much for people who had savings riding on Ethereum.”
Krieger tried to help: “Exchange rates made three steps forward and two back. Think exponential growth: say, Ethereum doubling its price three times over, and then halving its price twice. Repeat enough times and the exponential overall gains are masked by the setbacks. Many people bought Ethereum for the ride up and got surprised. So they sold the coin and called it off as a bubble.”
“Yes. That happened to a loooooot of people” Lana finished.
“But…I wouldn’t” Archer mumbled. “I’d hold on.”
“I held on” Cyril chimed in. In 2021 pension funds were only allowed to hold up to 5% of cryptocurrency in their portfolios, as a risky investment if they wanted. So I did my homework and I’ve invested 5% of our 401Ks in crypto. And I’m still holding on to it. I… Held on!” Cyril tried sounding nonchalant but his pride spoke with hesitation.
Everyone took a deep breath and turned at Cyril. Lana turned sharply at Cyril and asked threateningly: “Cyril, you did what in 2021 with our 401K?”
Cyril mumbled something that nobody could hear. “Speak up, Cyril!” Mallory snapped. “Tell them!” she said, disgusted.
“I’ve invested in the largest and most tried-and tested cryptocoin ever” Cyril said defensively, barely louder.
“TELL THEM!” Mallory couldn’t hold her temper.
“I bought bitcoin” Cyril said defeated.
Archer looked around puzzled. There was short silence, followed by Pam’s raunchy laughter.
“What the fuck is bitcoin?” Archer cried, even more puzzled by the sullen faces around him and shook his head.
“Exactly” Mallory said dryly. She emptied her glass, turned around and left.