Is Crypto a Missing Link in The Path Toward Star Trek’s Moneyless Future?

There’s no money in the Star Trek Universe. Why? Because El Capitan Jean-Luc Picard says so:

The acquisition of wealth is no longer the driving force of our lives. We work to better ourselves and the rest of humanity.

OK. But, here’s the catch. Actually, two. Just because there’s no money, it doesn’t mean that:

  1. You don’t have to work, because all those Federation starships ain’t gonna fly themselves. That’s a fact.
  2. There’s no economy, because there are moneyless economies. That’s also a fact.

Talking about the Star Trek “economy,” one French economist wrote the whole book about it. You don’t have to guess twice what’s the book’s title, do you? “ Trekonomics: The Economics of Star Trek “ by Manu Saadia.

Here’s something that Star Trek’s Beam-Me-Up-Scotty (teleportation) technology and my HackerNoon writing have in common. Both have to be surgically precise and quick for the Star Trek crew and HackerNoon readers to survive. So, full ahead, Mr. Sulu, maximum warp!

Alice, Forget Rabbit-Hole! Try Star Trek Economy Wormhole!

Something very important happened in the Star Trek past ( our “pending” future) between the years 2064 and 2364, which according to Picard had as a “result” that:

People are no longer obsessed with the accumulation of “things.” We have eliminated hunger, want, the need for possessions.

I guess that an in-tech-we-trust approach paid off big time. Automation plus AI equals post-scarcity, or “free stuff,” plain and simple. Transition processes don’t run smoothly, especially in the financial sector. You can’t just wake up one day, and say, as of this morning we’re a money-free society. We don’t need it. Actually, you can, but instead of a hyperdrive paradise, you’ll end up in a hyperinflation hell.

Can you imagine Picard using a credit card and looking for the nearest ATM on the Enterprise NCC 1701-D? Of course, you can’t. It’s ridiculous. Can you imagine the United Crypto Federation of Planets? Sure thing you can. It makes perfect sense.

Imagine that Ralph Offenhouse was a crypto investor from 2014 and not a “traditional” financier from 1994 in Star Trek TNG “ The Neutral Zone “ episode. He wouldn’t be “shocked by the fact that humanity no longer used money.” Ralph “Crypto” Offenhouse would be glad to hear from Picard that “A lot has changed in the past three hundred years. We’ve grown out of our infancy.”

I dare to speculate that he’d say something like: “What took you so long?” Ralph “Crypto” wouldn’t waste his time desperately trying to locate his gone-with-the-wind bank accounts and contact his lawyers, of all people from his previous life (?!). Let your crypto-imagination run wild because your crypto wallet in 2364 would take your breath away compared to the Bitcoin price in 2014.

Crypto is The Star Trek’s Economy’s Plot Hole Salvation NOT the “Replicator”

Deus ex Machina of the whole Star Trek economy is the miraculous — Replicator. Even with the almighty Replicator, the so-called “Trekonomy” has more plot holes than Swiss cheese. Who makes these Replicators in the first place? It must have been some open-source and non-profit “entity.”

This is the machine that makes Star Trek’s post-scarcity possible. Post-scarcity’s meaning is the infinite social wealth. You know, “free stuff,” you don’t have to work and pay for.

The “Trekonomics” author himself warns that technology alone won’t create a post-scarcity future. If we’re not careful we could end up like the greedy Ferengi, who charge money for the use of their replicators rather than making them available to everyone.

I stumbled upon another of his interviews, but this time with Marketplace’s Jack Stewart. Here’s the most interesting part where Jack asks the right questions about “Trekonomy,” the greater good, and — Bitcoin.

Stewart: Are there any examples in our society today of this concept of doing things for the greater good, not necessarily for accumulating wealth?

Saadia: There are plenty. In fact most of scientific research — that then turns into marketable goods — is done for prestige, to benefit the greater good in whatever form, whether market or non-market. Another example of a public good like that is Wikipedia. It’s amazing. It’s free, and it’s all human knowledge at your fingertips.

Stewart: When Gene Roddenberry was coming up with this universe and this concept, things like Bitcoin didn’t exist. What do you think he would have made of that? Does that fit into this concept at all?

Thank you, Jack, I’d like to take it from here, if Saadia doesn’t mind. I typed “Gene Roddenberry and crypto” in Google, and I wasn’t surprised at all with this finding that’s so Star Trekish:

“The signature of Star Trek producer Gene Roddenberry has gone boldly where no nonfungible token (NFT) has gone before — into the code for life itself. Back in 1965, Roddenberry signed a contract with Lucille Ball’s Desilu Productions to finance Star Trek. On Tuesday, that signature was turned into an NFT and implanted into the DNA code of a living bacteria cell — 30 years after the sci-fi legend’s death. Roddenberry Entertainment describes it as the first-ever “Living Eco-NFT” and a “true intersection of science and science fiction.”

Also, did you know that there’s a Star Trek starship with an interesting or convenient name (depending on your perspective) — The USS Defiant? Short version — The USS DeFi.

Star Trek New World Economy and Federation “Credit”

The creators of Star Trek were onto something big, they just didn’t know what it was exactly.

The New World Economy was the economic system that took shape on Earth, according to Tom Paris, it was around the 22nd century that “ money went the way of the dinosaur.” ( VOY: “ Dark Frontier”)

Gene Roddenberry was still light years away from the concept of cryptocurrencies, which would perfectly fill in the “traditional” currencies gap, he and his creative team tried to “fix” with the Replicator. He created the whole Star Trek Universe that asking for crypto would be simply too much back in Kirk/Spock days.

“The Federation credit was a monetary unit used by the United Federation of Planets.

Although it was stated on more than one occasion that the economy of the future was very different, and that money no longer existed on Earth from as early as the late 22nd century or in the Federation as late as the 24th century, this medium of exchange did still exist within that period. All known examples of credit use were via transactions outside or on the periphery of the Federation. (DS9: “In the Cards”; VOY: “Dark Frontier”; Star Trek: First Contact)”

When you look at it from today’s perspective, it all comes down to semantics, doesn’t it? Federation Credits or Federation Tokens or Federation Crypto, what difference does it make other than to make more sense to the next generation of Star Trek fans? Right?

There would be plenty of time and opportunities to fix the “injustice” done to all money-related concepts in the Star Trek franchise with new movies, series, and spin-offs. All that needs to be done is to replace the Replicator with crypto, which would hit two Klingon War birds with one stone (photon torpedo): Trekonomy plot holes and moneyless society criticism.

In the meantime, we shouldn’t leave out another Star Trek moneyless society that’s crypto-friendly to the bone (literally) and “sounds Swedish:”

The “Trekonomics” author didn’t forget about them:

“The Borg are such great villains because they’re so similar to the Federation, when you think about it. The Borg have a perfect allocation of goods, and supply and demand, and everybody is connected to everybody in the beehive, and they just seem to be extremely efficient. They’re also the other society in Star Trek that could be characterized as ‘post-scarcity.’ Any Borg drone never wants or needs anything, it’s always provided by the Collective. So it is the mirror image-and the dangerous image, almost-of what a society that is both redistributive and satiated could look like. It’s almost as if the writers tried to incorporate the criticism of the society they propose.”

Federation Crypto Credit vs. Borg Crypto. Wouldn’t that be something?

Originally published at on September 20, 2022.



Eight-Time "Noonies" Writing Award Winner

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