Bitcoin 2030 Pt. I

The Future is Bleak

(all individuals and entities named in this story are based on fiction)

It’s six in the morning and my phone buzzes from a text message. Another. Then another. And another. Finally, a loud siren wails, as though there’s some emergency — maybe a flash flood or tornado warning? No, URGENT VOICEMAIL is displayed in all caps.

I check the text messages first, which, for some reason proclaim they’re from Binance San Francisco Headquarters.

“What is going on?” I murmur, switching over to the voicemail.

“Hey Cas, it’s Kevin at Binance — obviously,” he let’s out a nervous laugh. “Anyway, we’ve been having quite the… kerfuffle this morning. Price got, well, it got thrashed, and we need your help. Call me back when you get this so we have an ETA on when you’ll be here.”

Be at Binance? The cryptocurrency exchange? It doesn’t make sense. But they did say my name.

I drag myself out of bed. No coffee, no food, and I need both. Plus, I’ve got to check on the property where I started construction; the foundation is supposed to begin tomorrow and I need to sign off on some paperwork.

But I can’t find the goddamn car keys. Seems like someone’s spent the night, though, because the keys to a Tesla sit on the kitchen counter.

“Hello?” I call into the ether. “Is someone here?”

There’s no response. I wander through the house, looking for whatever lunatic purchased a Tesla — but there’s no one to be found.

“Is it okay if I take this car, or…?” Again, my question directed at no one in particular is met with silence. I grab the keys and head to the garage.

Awaiting me is a massive lime green Tesla Cybertruck, a horrifying conglomeration of Tron meets monied FinTech bro. I click the unlock button but nothing happens, try opening the door but it won’t budge. The truck speaks, “Good Morning Cas. The Tesla needs to be charged before entering the vehicle. Please insert the charging line.”

I sigh, glance around for a charging station, quickly give up, and start walking downhill toward my property — a twenty minute walk to get the blood flowing couldn’t hurt anyway. My brain still hasn’t acclimated to whatever timeline I’ve landed in.

The property looks to be in nice shape, most of it leveled to accommodate the forthcoming structure already, and pits for the foundation fully dug out. Wallace, my contractor, has a hardhat on and is standing, arms akimbo, with a clipboard in his hand.

“Expected you a half hour ago!” He shouts from a block away.

“Sorry!” I yell back, “Had a weird morning!”

I jog over to him and he immediately thrusts the clipboard and a pen into my hands. “We’re waiting on you so we can start today. You need to sign and initial all this bullshit, cause right now you’re getting billed for nothin’.”

I start looking through the paperwork, trying my best to skim the twelve pages of fine print, and eight pages in I stumble on, “IMPORTANT: We will be using somewhere between 10 million — 25 million satoshis to create the foundation for the home. 12 million of these satoshis will be deducted from your F-wallet (on-file) at commencement of the construction, the rest will be either returned or deducted after construction is completed.”

I chuckle and turn to Wallace, “Hey man, this bit about satoshis… that’s like a brand of cement? Or a unit of concrete measurement or something?”

Wallace stares at me, a sense of anger encroaching on the edges of his face. “Don’t be an idiot, Cas. Sign the doc already.”

“But… so, yes?

He let’s out the loudest of sighs, “Look, we agreed early on that you wanted to build the foundation out of the soundest, most hard good on Earth, and then we determined it’d be satoshis. Now you’re backtracking?”

“What are satoshis?”

“If you didn’t want to use Bitcoin,” his voice rises and falls with genuine frustration, “and you wanted to go with some cheap shit like concrete or cement, why the fuck didn’t you tell me??”

“Bitcoin?” I’m flummoxed, but my phone rings, and when I look at it, it’s flashing BINANCE SF HQ again. I sign and initial the documents, hand the clipboard back to Wallace, and start to walk away.

“See?” Wallace shouts after me, “That wasn’t so bad! And now, you’ll have the soundest foundation in the neighborhood! It’ll completely seal away your cloud storage containment area!”

I turn around one last time, unsure what to say or how to feel. “Great!”

“Why are there Teslas everywhere?”

I scroll through the apps on my phone and realize Uber and Lyft are gone. When I check the app store the only product that sounds close to similar is something called, “BitBer — Bitcoin taxi service.” I download it, and to my surprise, I already have an account. I propose a route to Binance SF HQ and it tells me it’ll cost 25 Bitcoins. I click “Submit” because I couldn’t care less. My driver, “Peter M.” is three minutes away, it says.

Nine minutes later, Peter arrives in a black Tesla cybertruck, Metallica decals in big, silver letters on both sides. When I open the door I’m expecting the worst, but there’s no pounding metal or bad old rock, instead a warm silence. “Morning, mate,” he says, turning around and shaking my hand.

“You’ve got a Tesla truck, too, huh?”

He laughs, “Good one.”

“Ha. Yeah.”

The car starts automatically and says in a pleasant, English tone, “To Binance Headquarters.”

Peter turns around again, “So you’re a Binance man, yeah?”

Terrified, I point to the road, “Uh, sir, don’t you think you should-” I notice the wheel moving by itself, the truck automatically steering around corners. “Never mind.”

“So I’m more of a Bitfinex man, you know, ever since they bought out BitBer and that. I don’t get many’a you Binance blokes in the truck these days. Mind if I interview you for my Bitcast?”

“I get it, like a podcast, but with Bitcoin.”

He stares at me, puzzled. “Why would anyone do a podcast, yeah? Doesn’t make sense. Decentralized audio, deflationary, can’t be hacked, right? Give away your voice without assigning a block and no one’ll take you serious, mate. Anyway, so you’ll do the Bitcast? I’m a journalist.”

“I don’t really know what-”

“Thanks, means the world to me.” Out of nowhere appears two massive mics, a mixer, soundboard, and a 2-inch squared laptop. By the time it’s rigged up, we’re heading down Geary and it comes to my attention that every single car is a Tesla.

“What the fuck is going on?” I ask aloud.

“What’s it you’re wondering about?” Peter asks, headphones on. He gives me a thumbs up, and points to the ceiling of the truck where a red light flashes ON AIR. He passes another set of headphones to me and I try to settle in.

“Why are there Teslas everywhere?”

“Oh you was serious before, were ya?”

“Yeah, what the hell, man?”

Peter laughs, “Seems like our buddy Cas isn’t familiar wiff the American Car Wars of 2025. You live in North Korea, isit?”

I shake my head, speechless.

“Back ‘den, you know, there was more than three or four car companies in America, but Elon, he famously paid billions to some Estonian hackers and shut down all the car manufacturing plants in America. Was a nasty time if you was here.”

“But, that’s illegal.”

Peter laughs again, “By the time the government found out he was light years ahead of the competition, no one had a choice in the matter. But in my heart of hearts think we’re all a lit’le better for it.”

I stare at the Teslas everywhere, sad and horrified.

“Blockchain it, mate,” Peter says. When I look up he has his hand raised like he’s expecting a high-five. I slowly raise my arm, and he throws his full weight behind the slap, then shouts with satisfaction, “Blockchained, bro!”

My stomach rumbles and I feel instantly nauseous.

“So you’re a Binance employee, that right, Cas? Can you tell us what that’s like?”

“Not really, no.”

“Ole NDA, huh? Gave us one here at BitBer, too.”

“No, I think there’s a mistake. I’m a freelance writer.”

Peter laughs again, but this time it feels forced, like he’s putting on a show for his listeners. “A freelance writer for Binance? Wassat mean? You put out Bit-Tweets for the main account?”

I take off the headphones, frustrated. “Did the world seriously just throw the word, ‘bit’ before a bunch of existing products and call it innovation?”

Peter raises a brow, “Thas’ not fair, ya know.”

“How is that, ‘not fair,’? It’s objectively true, my dude.”

He shoots me another thumbs up, as though it’s going great. I shake my head.

“Let’s move along then — since I don’t think we agree. Have you met CZ? Any juicy details about the San Francisco headquarters?”

“This is my first time.”

He snickers, “Mate, I can edit that out. Wanna try again, or is’it ya work remote?”

“Peter, you haven’t been getting it. I don’t work for Binance. They think I’m someone I’m not.”

“Oh, for fuck’s sake,” he shuts the recording off, all of the equipment vanishing as quickly as it’d appeared. The rest of the ride is in a hostile, all-consuming reticence.

“I’m here for a meeting. Binance texted me?”

The front of Binance headquarters is located on a small island between San Francisco and Oakland, previously called Treasure Island, now, apparently, called, “$BNB Citadel 12”. It looks like a 13th century fortress, a Himeji Castle in the middle of San Francisco Bay — but with a ton of FinTech bros holding AK-47s. I approach the moat.

“Hi,” I say to a guy in a stone guard station, “I’m here for a meeting. Binance texted me?”

He steps outside, M-16 in tow, bullets and grenades lining his heavy jacket — all of it weighing him down. “How can I help you?” He tries to make his voice grovely, but it’s still high-pitched and unthreatening.

“I dunno, dude, they keep texting me, so I’m here.”

“And you are?”

“Cas, Cas P-”

“Don’t care,” he says immediately, “hands up, move forward… slowly. I’m checking your F-Chip.”

I approach the guard and when he’s within arms length he takes out a bulky scanner. “What’s an F-Chip?” I ask.

“Shut your mouth!” He yells, pushing the scanner onto my upper arm. It burns and feels like someone is twisting my skin til it tears open. “All done,” he says, suddenly calm and welcoming, “come on in, Cas.” My arm is undamaged.

$BNB Citadel 12 is sprawling, and I have to use a map to find the lobby, a mere 1,500 yards from the entrance. When I go inside it’s disinfected white, with bright, silver LED bulbs highlighting the gold trim on everything, a post-post-modern vibe. The receptionist, a beautiful woman in a gold and black uniform, greets me harshly. “Hello Cas, Tommy Mustache has been expecting you. Please sit down.”

I take a seat on an uncomfortable, rigid bench — concrete painted white and gold. There’s a younger woman sitting next to me taking a series of photos of herself and posting to Bitstagram. After posting, she looks at me with a wide smile, “What job are you applying for at Binance? Social Media influencer?”

“No,” I say, “I’m not applying.”

Her eyes light up, “You mean you’re a Binance employee?”

“No,” I say.

“Oh,” she’s disappointed and inserts Binance branded EarSticks into her ears. “Fly Me To The Moon (Vaporwave-Ambient Remix)” plays loud enough so I can hear it.

“Tommy Mustache is sitting on a literal black throne, but also literally has no facial hair.”

45 minutes later the receptionist says, “Mr. Mustache will see you now,” but won’t look me in the eyes. I walk through the antiseptic hallway to a glass elevator that ushers me to the top of the citadel. A massive 18th century door looms in front of me, a Binance logo splashed on front in gold leaf. I try to push it open, fail, then knock. The doors swing open automatically.

Before me is a wide, cherrywood desk, painted black (of course), cherrywood floors, also painted black (of course), and an endless window with panoramic views of San Francisco Bay. Tommy Mustache is sitting on a literal black throne, but also literally has no facial hair. He stares at his computer, hurriedly clicking, never looking up. I stand there, idly, like an idiot.

After a couple minutes the clicking slows down and then stops. Tommy is smiling and calls to me, “Cas, look at this meme!”

I take a seat and he turns his computer around to show me an image he’s photoshopped together: on the bottom is the word, “Binance,” with poop and smell lines around it, in the middle is the original image of someone with explosive diarrhea, and at the top Tommy has cropped in the face of a news-media founder, Mike Dudas, and a word bubble that says, “My job is to poop all over Binance! Haha!”

He turns the computer back around and laughs at his meme. “So good, I am going to post now. Hold on.”

Several minutes later Tommy finally finishes bit-tweeting. “Cas I called you here for very important reason,” he says. “Did you check the price of Bitcoin today? Or Binance Coin?”

“Can’t say I have, man, no.”

Tommy is mad. “What do you mean you don’t check price? Just cause it’s your day off, you are thinking there is no need for price checking?”

Flustered, I smile out of reflex, “Listen, Mister… Mustache? I’ve had a busy, weird day. I’m working on a house, and these calls and texts… I’m a writer-”

Were a writer.”

I hesitate and stammer. “What?”

“You signed contract year ago. We have been great to you so I don’t know why you are acting like baby right now.”

“Contract? Me? With Binance?

“You play hardballs? I can play hardballs.” Tommy types furiously and then turns the computer around again, to show me a digital contract, with NDA, signed by me, Cas Piancey.

“Tommy… turns the computer around again, to show me a digital contract, with NDA, signed by me, Cas Piancey.”

Speechless again.

“As you know, part of contract stipulates you must working for month straight if we needing help. After today’s Binance Coin crash, you will working next month at BNB Burning Rig 72.”

Me and three hundred other fintech bros (no surprise, all dudes) pile into a ship that’s designed to run off ASICs. The journey to the Burning Rig takes 12 days despite the rig only being 30 miles off the coast.

After ten days, the fog clears up enough so that I can see BNB Burning Rig 72 when I stand on deck. It’s located on two insignificant islands once called the Farallons. Black smoke inches upwards from four chimney stacks that soar 200 feet into the blue sky. A grumpy guy with an unkempt beard stands next to me, staring at the islands with disgust. Even though his face screams, “leave me the fuck alone,” the cigarette in his hand tells me he isn’t vaping like the rest of the incels on the ASIC ferry.

“Mind if I bum a smoke?”

“Last one I got, but you can have the rest,” he hands me the quarter of the hand rolled cigarette left and I puff on it, looking at the horizon and absorbing the stillness.

“Fucking shithole,” the bearded bro says.

“What is? The boat?”

He laughs, “You think this is bad, wait till we get to the Burning Rig.”

“Uh,” I say, trying to act cool, “yeah, man, fucking burning rig, dude. So, what’s the deal with the, uh, burning rig, huh?”

The bearded dude turns to face me, “You don’t have a clue what a burning rig is, do you?”

I sigh.

“Didn’t think so,” he looks back to the islands, “You can call me Nix. Welcome to cryptocurrency Hell.”

All illustrations by Zack Christensen. If you’d like to hear an audio version of the story please listen to it here.




Fraud. Fraud everywhere.

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Cas Piancey

Cas Piancey

Fraud. Fraud everywhere.

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