Chapter 8: The Rise of the Ethereum De-Centralized Authority

To say that Ethereum De-Centralized Authority (EDCA) is everywhere is not entirely correct; it is more accurate to say that there is nowhere that the EDCA is not. After decades of global war and political unrest, The EDCA was established in 2035 as a response to man’s inability to maintain control over the growth and power of various technologies, and as a response to highly complex moral and ethical questions raised by these technologies. Originally intended to fix the imperfections and fallibility of human government, once the EDCA had become firmly in place, the law of unintended consequences began to take hold.

At birth, each human is assigned a birth number and a balance of ‘0’ Ether. All human behavior, and each specific action, is given a corresponding plus or minus Ether value which is then added to their balance in real-time. Actions deemed as helpful or ‘good’, such as picking up trash, value is calculated and then added to each human’s balance, which is then used at local Ethereum store-houses to purchase food, fuel and other necessities. Every action and the corresponding value was encoded by The Guardians in 2035, leaving absolutely no room for human interpretation of right or wrong. No one is quite sure who the Guardians were, but the code was available for anyone to inspect, and the code can never be changed or modified. This code was then dispersed across thousands of computers globally, and numbers began to be assigned to global citizens, beginning with the developed countries of United States and Europe, until all humans were under the control and guidance of the EDCA. At first it was believed that this would be a new world order which would bring peace and prosperity to all global citizens, but it soon became clear that no government, or human intervention, could control the EDCA once it was implemented. Due to the strict wording and lack of interpretation, many of EDCA’s global citizens learned the easiest and fastest actions which would provide the most amount of ether, and soon there were hundreds of people whose sole job was to open doors for one another. Soon, in crowded areas such as New York City, a mob of people would rush to open the door for someone entering a Starbucks, eventually leading to altercations which reduced each person’s Ether value, so people learned not to fight one another. The next evolution in this process was that, a group would coordinate, with one person holding the door while the rest of the group walking into the store, and then they would rotate on who would hold the door and receive the Ether for the ‘good deed’. Since there was no way to edit the EDCA code once it had been implemented, this coordinated effort could be seen in every small town and large city and eventually became part of the background and an accepted ‘quirk’ of the EDCA.

In the beginning, it was believed that the EDCA would bring a new world: a peaceful, equal society where right behavior would be rewarded and any one would be able to succeed because global resources would be allocated in proportion to each person’s morality and ethics. Kings, Queens, Dictators, and even presidents, it was believed, would be relegated to the past as each person would be judged by their deeds in a way that was pre-determined, fair and equal. The result, however, was a society that became more stratified than ever before. Modes of production, from mining to farming, had become totally automated by this time, which meant there was very little work for humans to perform. Almost all activities, including creativity such as painting had been totally taken over by technology. Robots built houses, farmed food, cleaned houses, and drove the cars for the elite of EDCA in each area, for whom almost everything was free. One member of the EDCA, number 345343, had an Ethereum balance of over 75,000 as the result of saving the life of a drowning woman. This balance was enough to buy a lifetime of food, fuel and entertainment.

It is in this framework of the Ethereum network that Benjamin found himself thrown into after 15 years separated from society. Beginning with a negative balance, it would be years of good action before Benjamin was able to purchase a sandwich at the local EDCA supply mart. Benjamin looked upon his left wrist, with a glowing red number: -9823.45. Benjamin began thinking on how he was to live in this new life, and suddenly saw the number decrease to -9823.55, as idleness was considered a negative human action. Noticing a discarded EDCA Supply Mart hamburger wrapper on the ground, Benjamin picked it up and threw it in a nearby trash-can, and noticed his red number increased by 1. Benjamin thought of Jennifer, and noticed his balance increase by 10. Love, or the feeling of it, was one of the only actions which technology had not yet replaced, it was entirely the domain of humans. Benjamin soon began to wonder how he would be able to navigate his way in this new world, and noticed his balance increase by 5.

The original intent of the EDCA was to replace God, morality, and ethics, ultimately freeing humans to live in a perfect world with no greater Authority than the EDCA. No police, no court system, the EDCA was all knowing and all powerful, whose punishments and rewards were immediate, reliable and fair. After only a few days, it became clear to all citizens of EDCA that they had hoisted on a new and entirely oppressive regime on themselves in the name of freedom, for there was no appeals process nor a judge with the quirks, emotion and fallibility of a human mind or spirit. The EDCA was cold and calculating, like a winter night: impersonal.