The story

So Bob, the multi-billionaire, is a wealthy person today but in a not so far away future he will lose quite a chunk of his wealth and become just an ordinary millionaire.

Future Bob is no longer building diamond studded swimming pools and he actually had to melt a few of his solid gold Humvees. He is especially upset because he knows that his great loss was due to his long-life investments in international banks' products. His loss is related due to the following sequence of (future) events:

  1. the greatest global economic crisis in history hit the world in 2017;
  2. there was a sequential collapse of several major currencies;
  3. people panicked and started withdrawing most of their money from banks or buying what valuable things they could afford;
  4. most banks in order to cope with the sudden withdrawal, started to restrict withdrawals (some completely refusing) and, with governments agreements, they were taxing heavily any transferences or larger payments;
  5. the value of precious metals and jewels rose up and most wealthy people who could still afford them, invested heavily in purchasing everything that could be found on the market and placing them in banks' vaults (this is when Bob started melting his gold Humvees);
  6. cryptocurrencies saw a steady rise in the beginning of the crisis and since there was no viable way to track most of them and tax payments/transferences, they became a plague for bankers, governments and wealthy people who traded little and kept their precious stuff in vaults (Bob for a very long time refused to buy any crypto-coins);
  7. over the years, precious metals value started declining and governments tried to contain cryptocurrencies by request(forc)ing internet providers to turn off their services in order to block their nodes; once alternative internet providers (altnets) started mushrooming everywhere, large EMPs were being systematically detonated by governments in an attempt to disable general electronic devices;
  8. cheap handheld manual and solar powered EMP-proof devices were being illegally and randomly dumped in the mailboxes and on the doorsteps of middle and lower class citizens in order to allow them to trade without money and keeping alive crypto-markets and non-governmental industries.

Watching his wealth diminishing everyday and no profitable business to run, Bob focused on one of his old research hobbies based on his favourite time travelling trilogy. With the help of a few kidnapped mad scientists, he managed to produce a piece of hardware that was able to connect to the internet of a previous point in the past. Initially he thought of warning his past self (in our current timeline) to invest and transfer his wealth into cryptocurrencies, but one mad scientist let slip the unthinkable:

  • I wonder what would happen if today's altnets blockchains connected to that past internet and synchronized... That would reveal all the trades that were made up until now to them, wouldn't it?

Bob thought better, and he started liking this idea much better: not only he would be able to render useless these things that were harming his precious "real" wealth, he would be considered a hero amongst governments all over the world and history would be rewritten by himself alone! He would also be finally able to fulfil his dream of replacing the sand of his island with diamonds and rubies.

The question

If Bob succeeds in synchronizing future blockchains (containing millions of transactions in the future) into our timeline's cryptocurrencies, what does he really accomplish with that?

Would it really force them to shut down or would it backfire and make them stronger by providing knowledge of the future and opportunities of trade?

Notes: I previously asked a smaller, summarized but broader question in here that I did not have the time to detail it in a Worldbuilding perspective (it is now closed). In Bitcoin.SE however, I asked about the technical details of this event's possibility and I must say, I am pleased with the detailed answers, and they may help answering this question.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Do something like that, and you most likely kill the cryptocurrencies on grounds that they can't be trusted, can be compromised, etc.; perception tends to beat reality. When the economy crashes, they won't be there to take any other transactions: you're not going to be saving the governments, you're going to be completely screwing up your projected recovery (the lower classes probably won't be able to pick themselves up again, given your scenario). The idea of revealing future trades is irrelevant: most of the "traders" likely don't exist as traders yet, so that information is simply useless. $\endgroup$
    – Palarran
    Oct 22 '16 at 2:54
  • $\begingroup$ @Palarran Thanks for your comment. Future Bob's intention is not to save the governments/bankers, he wants to ensure he keeps himself as the multi-billionaire he is today. He believes that by killing the cryptocurrencies others in his future timeline will regard him as their hero (a typical villain's ploy). I would like to explore how relevant (or irrelevant, as you put it) is having future trades information, especially if today's traders are located and they are following that future trade pattern or dissociating from it due to the information they analysed about their future selves. $\endgroup$
    – Armfoot
    Oct 22 '16 at 14:40
  • $\begingroup$ Once that future trade pattern is known, it will no longer become the future trade pattern: people's purchases are likely to change with that knowledge. Pretty soon, that future knowledge will become counterproductive; anybody conducting investments via cryptocurrencies will draw false conclusions about the fortunes of businesses, likely to their downfall (at least of some of their riches). In theory, if somebody sees that investment in their business would drop off in the future, they might assume it means their company fails and alter their actions accordingly. And so on... $\endgroup$
    – Palarran
    Oct 22 '16 at 14:52
  • $\begingroup$ Interesting concept. Few questions, if you wouldn't mind elaborating, please: For #5 and #7, is it significant that the value of precious metals rises and declines? Aside from the basic concept of demand increasing I mean. People already invest sometimes very heavily in these things during fears of currency issues and the price of these on the market can more or less stay the same. For #4, I'm interested in your thoughts specifically in the United States, where we have the FDIC and NCUA to (hopefully) prevent bank runs, and our currency's relative stability has a lot of influence in the world. $\endgroup$
    – Dan
    Oct 22 '16 at 19:54
  • $\begingroup$ There is a Stack Exchange site about crypto currencies. Maybe they can help? This one is about a story, not about the world building. $\endgroup$
    – Mołot
    Oct 24 '16 at 5:46

I see several points in this story which wouldn't really be able to happen, but I give a try to answer rolling with the setup:

Please note, these things clash with real world concepts!
"...what does he really accomplish with that?" Speaking about succesfully making connection between "old-time" and "new-time" internet, information exchange begins. It will create bigger confusion in "old-time", because they are unaware of what has hit them, slowly they will cope with, and data will reach back and forth. As long as "old-time" has effect on "new-time", so long it will prove to be useful. Loosing integrity will make information invalid, and so the connection will become irrelevant on the track of exploiting foresight advantage. Eventually alternative world communication will develop, and both sides will find benefits in having a similar world on the other end. It can span to parallel researching, gray business test sites, these come up for me at first. If Bob has good sense of business (which is not seem to be the case), he can facilitate these possibilities to make good riches and act as an option to have a river of rubies at his weekend island.

"Would it really force them to shut down or would it backfire and make them stronger by providing knowledge of the future and opportunities of trade?"
Depends on you. The concept is so far from real world, bending to your favor will not cause problem.
A) If the parallel existence has close integrity, future will need to manage past derails, and past will rely on future informations. Most commonly I think past will realize a control function above future, and as long as future is not getting fatally manipulated, past will abuse this power. So either future will sieze the altnet connections to prevent harmful events generated by past, or there will be strict regulations to use.
B) If the parallel existence has no integrity, it will be a matter of collective will appearing on the altnets. If many villains turn to altnet to benefit, altnet will have that effect for past, and same from past to future.

I hope this will prove to be a feasible answer for the setup and your question.

  • $\begingroup$ Great, thanks! I'm still wondering if by "data will reach back and forth" you thought of frequent synchronizations between both worlds (future and past). Future computers will not get any more past data. I.e. once the blockchain is synchronized with the past and the past traders deviate from the trades they would make in the future, another timeline is "defined" where future Bob may not even develop time-travelling technology. Any synchronization with a future blockchain will imply future knowledge of current traders and therefore deviations from the timeline that synchronized that blockchain. $\endgroup$
    – Armfoot
    Oct 28 '16 at 22:58
  • $\begingroup$ With "data will reach back and forth", yes, I presumed there is only 1 past and 1 future, staying in connection, effectively with so frequent sync, that it can be considered to be in one network, non-isolated. Do you plan to keep "1 future", or alternatives also? $\endgroup$
    – Sonic
    Oct 31 '16 at 13:23

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