This piece does not aim to discuss how Star Wars movie’s “The Rise of Skywalker” ended. Neither will it address anything to do with George Lucas deciding to sell to Disney’s beloved corporation. The article will mainly focus on Bitcoin and its relationship to the Star Wars universe. Stick to the end. The sci-fi movie collection has become so embedded in the Western world’s popular culture, more so the United States of America, that some people have devoted a large portion of their lives and resources to breathe life into the fantasy world beyond ‘Canon’ content.
Lightsabers, Jedi, and renowned heroes such as Yoda, Leia, Obi-Wan, and Luke Skywalker are the hallmarks of Star Wars. The constant struggle to find the elusive balance between either side of the force is also a significant feature of the movie. Surprisingly, the movie collection also features a tug of war between powerful central political units aiming to overturn its authority.
In the first three episodes of the original movie (Episodes IV, V, and VI), this quest for power balance is evidenced by the rebel alliance’s efforts to obstruct, subvert and destroy key military infrastructure in the Galactic Empire during Darth Vader’s and Emperor’s leadership. In episodes I, II, and III, the struggle continues with the rise of the separatists who are protesting against galactic republics’ negligence to stimulate and protect economic growth beyond the central worlds. One could defend the move because the humanoid aliens and the human species were not particularly interested in paying allegiance and taxes to a regime that cared little (if at all) for them. Finally, in the last trilogy (VII, VIII, IX), the huge and mighty resistance is the Galaxy’s only refuge against the emerging military group, First Order, that aims to reinstate the empire’s central authority and its former greatness. This power play can be equally equated to what humanity has been doing in real life since the emergence of complexly organized societies. Naturally, these political power plots are patterned and idealized by the legendary “Force” thought to hold everything together and fill all its stories with wonder.
The complicated political power struggles birth the famous galactic battles. Large aircraft formations laboured to control specific important planetary systems and even more popular lightsaber duels have populated our screens for the past four decades. You can clearly hear the buzzing of the lightsabers and the Pew-Pew sounds of the blasters.
However, not all Star Wars’ dramatic events are motivated by the virtues or goodwill of its famous heroes or the Mystical forces, which implies that they are just effects of the inner operations of the Galaxy.
Apologies for contradicting your childhood, but the real power in Star Wars comes from money.
This is a huge claim, and to understand, we have to dissect Star Wars monetary systems and have fun theorizing how the existence of Bitcoin would have altered the course of events in the movie.
Money, the inconspicuous force in Star Wars
There aren’t many conversations in Star Wars movies about money, but the ones present are super interesting. They glorify the superior creation process used by Star Wars creators in the fantasy universe. Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn is seen in Episode I roaming the territories in the galaxy’s outer rim seeking to buy the freedom of the young Anakin from Watto, a junk dealer.
Surprisingly, Watto and Jinn have different ideas about value, especially when it’s measured in monetary terms. Because of the lack of a common mutually accepted currency, the two cannot agree on the payment method.
— Jonathan Bratnerd (@KryptykHex) February 12, 2020
In the movie, inhabitants of the distant worlds in the Outer Rim avoid using the Republic’s official currency. Although the galactic credits are widely accepted and considered the culture in Central Worlds, they are not valued much in the more backward systems located in the edge of the galaxy.
The central monetary authority invented and oversaw the distribution and issuance of Galactic Credits. It also oversaw and enforced the use of the credits in the constituent areas. The Inter-Galactic Banker Clan (IGBC), a potent private monetary organization, managed the central bank and was the sole proprietor of the main currency that quintillions of intelligent beings used. The Inter-Galactic Banker Clan directors are descended from the Muunilinst, an intelligent alien race highly skilled in mathematics. In fact, the Republic, which is the most influential political force in the galaxy, was IGBC’s main client.
Legends hold that the Aurodium standard was the measure against which money value was measured prior to IGBC ascending to power as the chief currency unit in the galaxy. Aurodium was a rare metal (much rarer than gold) that the galaxy inhabitants naturally accepted as a store of value. The leading worlds in terms of industrialization became more developed in the one thousand years preceding the Star Wars films. Banking clans came up with financial organizations that have a semblance to what we know as the national central banks today. Although the standard for local currency was based on Aurodium, the measure was slowly forgotten as the Inter-Galactic Banker Clan gained more power. By the time the drama in Star Wars films was unfolding, the galactic credits were only valid because the different political groups trusted the IGBC.
The Republic made the costly mistake of using a Fiat system which would partly lead to its demise. As the tug of war, military activity, and related industries heightened because the separatists and the Republic locked horns, the inhabitants became more aware that the Republic wasn’t managing the monetary base correctly. Desperate to secure more funding for its already huge and growing military enterprise, the Republic kicked off a borrowing spree from the IGBC. The intergalactic central bank took advantage of the situation by charging over the roof interest rates that the Republic couldn’t afford to settle the loan repayments and only survived because it maintained a good political hold over its numerous planetary systems.
The Inter-Galactic Banking Clan further pushed its evil agenda in more ways than seen at first glance. Its financial institution, the central bank, funded the Republic and the separatists separately, cutting both sides like a double-edged sword. This meant that the IGBC immensely profited from the two warring parties and successfully cushioned itself just in case either side won the battle.
Consequently, the lust for huge profit margins and substandard banking practices caused rapid inflation and undermined the value of galactic credits. However, this greed and ethically questionable banking practices led to rapid inflation and degradation of galactic credits. Hyperinflation had largely negatively impacted the main currency by the Clone Wars that the people no longer trusted the main currency, and the Republic could no longer effectively control huge sections of its subjects.
With all its strengths and shortcomings, the Republic is finally put out of power by a more centrist organization known as the Empire. The organization is led by the new omnipotent leader, the ominous Sith Lord, who appoints himself Emperor and decides to take total control of the monetary systems. He puts the IGBC under government control and orders the killing of the clan’s president when he ascends to power.
The Empire did a complete overhaul of the monetary system by doing away with the Republican credits, despite being the main form of currency in the galaxy for almost one thousand years before its issuers, and replacing it with the government-backed Empire credits.
If you have stuck along this far, it is evident that money influences the universe in Star Wars to a large extent. You could argue that the continued deterioration of the Republic’s currency was a significant cause of the Roman Empire’s fall, and you would be right. From the fall of the Roman Empire, we can deduce that the constant wars and wars of conquering were never genuine, as the empire would have the citizens believe but a front to cover the corruption and rot that was haunting the citizens’ money.
What about Bitcoin? Would it have exalted or undermined the Republic?
I have been lucky enough to stumble upon a deep and thorough analysis of how Bitcoin would behave if humans were to use it on different planets. Bitcoin Astronomy by Dhruv Bansal is a wonderful read as the author speculates how Bitcoin would evolve if humans travelled between and lived on different planets.
This must-read article has been featured in the Unchained Capital Blog. You can’t afford not to read it if you enjoy topics that incorporate credible scientific thought processes and sci-fi. I will support his stance because his postulations and claims have been mathematically and logically proven.
To give you an overview, Bitcoin Astronomy postulates how early Martians would use Bitcoin in their new home. As humankind explores how to travel and settle on other planets, money would remain a standard unit of measurement against which humans would weigh and quantify commercial and industrial achievements in the new planet. At first, the Martian economy would be very minimalist and survivalist because the surface of the red planet isn’t suitable for maintaining an economy.
Although the Martians will quickly need a currency, and assuming that Bitcoin will be the monetary culture in the post-hyperbitcoinization era, we can infer that Bitcoin will be the central monetary form in their young and developing economy.
Dhruv Bansal continues to paint a theoretical scenario where Martians will become disillusioned with Bitcoin supremacy due to the central hashing being located too far away here on earth. A Blockchain hashcenter simply means the average location of the miner in space on a blockchain weighed against their hash rate. The average Earth-Mars distance is anywhere between three and twenty-two minutes compared against the time Bitcoin takes to block, which is 10 minutes, making block validation for Martians next to impossible.
While the Martian Bitcoin system will be in its infancy, Earth will be making huge leaps and bounds in its development of the mining industry, making it an arduous task for Martians to catch up with earth dwellers.
The fact that Martians will trade Bitcoin with Earth dwellers doesn’t guarantee that they will ever gain much influence in the Bitcoin mining industry.
Bitcoin Astronomy suggests that because of lack of monetary issuance control and collection of transaction levies, Martians will be forced to invent a localized cryptocurrency to prove their work which will most likely be a clone version of the value of store model from Bitcoin.
We can draw an inference that it will be an uphill task centralizing a monetary system over vast distances that span between planets because there is a limitation to the speed of light despite being the fastest substance ever known. However, this doesn’t mean that Martians and earth-dwellers will not exchange goods and services as long as both have proof of their working currencies.
Revisiting Star Wars, we come to a realization that units of money described in the Empire and Republic look underdeveloped and lacklustre when contrasted with other technological advancements in the Star Wars universe. For example, the spaceships used to travel in Star Wars can achieve maximum speeds of up to a hundred times that of light and can co-exist with many intelligent druids. With that in mind, it is easy to see that the monetary units used by the inhabitants of the galaxy are quite primitive and completely reliant on third-party trust.
Intelligent beings have a tendency to seek out more intelligent and advanced life forms, and some planetary systems will be on the lookout for other planets who have successfully created a local proof of work system. They will then model their own systems after superior systems to benefit from an enduring and rare store of value. Following Bitcoin Astronomy’s logical sequence of thought, we can clearly visualize a universe in Star Wars with every planet having a local “Bitcoin” that the inhabitants trust. Industry experts have equated Bitcoin to the focal point of money, which means that humans and humanoid species could potentially cohabit and trade in their respective store of value “coins” in the absence of a centralized (sinister) oversight authority like the Intergalactic Banking Clan.
The inhabitants of the Galaxy would coexist in peace as the galactic bullies featured in Star Wars, such as the Empire, would not have enough reason to exert control over huge reserves of cash serving quintillions of humanoids and humans. The main engine of economic growth would be the industrial and commercial needs met by righteous and ethical galactic and interplanetary enterprises serving quintillions of living beings.
Creating and successfully managing a galactic army is also more than an impossible and self-defeating task, as it is such a risky and costly business that it will have no return on your investment. One could therefore imagine that a Galatic Empire and the rise to power of the Sith Palpatine would have been prevented by a solid standard like the Aurodium Standard or one of the cryptocurrencies based on a Proof of Work like Bitcoin.