Using a magical computer virus, I’ve stolen all of the money in the world.

All of the cash.

All of the money from every checking, savings, retirement account.

Every bitcoin, etherium, and doge coin.

Every penny of every world government and corporation, all of the gold, silver and whatever other liquid assets exist.

I even took your kid’s Fortnite V-bucks.

What the hell happens now? What is the effect on a world where all of the money suddenly disappeared?

For the sake of this question, let’s say I keep all of this in a USB drive pocket dimension, I can conjur it from nothing whenever I wish.


closed as too broad by L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica, Aify, JBH, Sec SE - clear Monica's name, AlexP Jun 27 '18 at 7:17

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    $\begingroup$ When you say "all of the gold and silver*, do you mean all the gold and silver? If yes, then the "lack of money" issue becomes secondary. Modern electronic devices rely heavily on silver and gold as conductors; take that away in a hurry and the effects would be similar to a world-wide EMP cataclysm. $\endgroup$ – Geoffrey Brent Jun 27 '18 at 3:12
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    $\begingroup$ "what happens to the world if " type of question are usually too broad. $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica Jun 27 '18 at 3:18
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    $\begingroup$ and I am curious to know how do you store banknotes and metal coins on a USB $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica Jun 27 '18 at 3:23
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    $\begingroup$ This question is way, way, way too broad. What happens to the world? Do you mean government? universities? individual people? your local Tolkien fan club? My cat? Roads? NASA? The Black Forest? Some dude in Tibet? The TAT-6 transatlantic comm line? The clouds over Comoros? Voting to close as too broad until this question is narrowed substantially. VERY substantially. $\endgroup$ – JBH Jun 27 '18 at 3:42
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    $\begingroup$ You're now a wanted man. The moment you use any of your loot it marks you as the thief. Make sure you've written your will, you're a dead man walking. Every other thief, criminal, law enforcement agency, member of the human race & governments will be after your blood. $\endgroup$ – a4android Jun 27 '18 at 5:06

One of the big aspects of money is that it is path-invariant. It doesn't matter if the money comes from a drug dealer or a nun. One dollar is one dollar.

Of course, we know that isn't true. Nations will go to great efforts to freeze assets of drug dealers.

If you take all of the money, the first thing that happens is you break the path-invariance assumption. Now everyone knows that 100% of that currency comes from you.

And they don't like you. You stole all their money.

As such, nobody is going to accept the money you took. Zip, nada. You might be able to launder your gold and silver eventually, but its going to be hard.

In the mean time, the world's financial markets restore the previous balances from backups. We do keep backups. Of course, this money does not come from you, so it is accepted while your money is not.

Did I mention the entire world hates you? The next step may be a bit bloody.

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    $\begingroup$ to be fair,the world hating you wouldn't be that much of an issue, if the OP managed to magical get all the gold, silver, paper money and coins in the world as the OP suggests... they'd have been crushed to death under the weight of it all long before anyone found out it was them who took it $\endgroup$ – Blade Wraith Jun 27 '18 at 6:37

If you're hoping to get rich quick from this scheme, then you're sadly mistaken.

Everything you own is now worthless

You own all the money in the world? The world has no money, so they move on from money. You can't pay people to do things if the world decides not to use the money you're paying it with.

The second people find out what you did, you're dead

"Hey, there's the guy who stole all the world's money and plunged it into anarchic chaos! Let's get him!"

This will be the result any time you actually try to use your supply. People figure out who you are and try to kill you, either to take it from you or out of revenge for the world you ended.

And of course the thing that you might be forgetting:

All the gold means a world-wide EMP

(this one is thanks to @GeoffreyBrent's commet)

If you take away all the world's gold, you plunge the world into a new Dark Age.

Many vital technologies require gold components, and as you now own it all you've rendered them all useless.

So, to summarise:

  • The world has no money
  • The world has no electricity
  • The world wants you dead because of what you did to it

In short, I wouldn't recommend this.


The world switches to bartering while it creates new money. Real estate prices and other forms of non liquid wealth goes up.....

Drug dealers send every hitman they know out to get you.

Really you'd make very little difference within a week.


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