Consensusland ISBN: 9781483491103 (Lulu Publishing rev. date: 11/16/2018) copyright and written by Mark Helfman.
Subtitled, A Cryptocurrency Utopia, “This book explores the social and cultural side of cryptocurrency. It examines the ways in which the world will change when cryptocurrency becomes a normal way to do business. It probes the pros and cons. It offers point and counterpoint. It looks at how cryptocurrency changes the way people think and act.” The author approaches his task in a fictional story as follows. Successful small American pharmaceutical manufacturer Quentin Taylor is desirous of expanding his business but has little success in obtaining the necessary funds because he ‘is too small’, ‘does not have enough successful patents’ (even though he was listed as one of the top CEO’s holding two highly credible patents). Further he did not have sufficient collateral to float the necessary loans and was completely frustrated. Suddenly he receives a one-time deal offering, complete start-up of new state-of-the-art labs, tech and a headquarters of at least six stories in a downtown location and all other necessities at no cost, if he will move his operations to a small Caribbean island, named Consensusland. The city/state recently had been touted as a growing principality that was rapidly growing and ‘different’. It was established and functioned in a milieu totally controlled by the country’s currency, a strange one collected by many individuals in America and other countries, but seemingly never used but retained as a type of hedge fund. In fact his medical/legal director included some of their currency in her portfolio. He makes the trip to the island with his wife and his medical/legal director. They are wined and dined, the glowing proposition is explained in detail and he is leaning toward acceptance although his director is more hesitant. They are scheduled to meet the island’s governor the following day, but upon returning to their hotel encounter their hotel owner. He suggested an evening trip to the beach where they meet the originator of the country’s presently used currency. This man now is discovered to be involved in still another project, development of a new currency. Accompanied by input from others, whom Quentin had just met during the day, also were in the beach gathering, He is appraised of the existence of wide dissatisfaction that exists with the manner in which the country is managing the cryptocurrency presently in use. They explain that this ‘similar but different’ currency their splinter group have developed and whose use they just are initiating, is as a reaction to, and remedy for, the unpopular functions for which the government now employs the one presently in use. The body of the tale is composed of Quentin’s action, his vacillation and ultimate decision as the pros and cons of the various components are revealed and discussed.
Discussion: The author has set forth a most interesting fictional tale about a factual subject of increasingly close study today. The intensive investigation is increasingly imperative because many, if not all, of present day society will be forced to face it at a rapidly approaching time. The security of Internet constantly is under attack. As repeatedly reported by the media, thousands are losing personal data at a rapid pace. I specifically recall reading about the 2017 ransomware attack that reportedly affected more than 100 different countries and crippled UK’s National Health Service for an extended period of time. Similarly the huge loss of data from Singapore’s government health service and others. As a result, something new is imperative. Blockchain is one most prominently growing in acceptance. Reportedly it is a technology where information is retained in ‘blocks’ that are chained together and retained in such a manner that attempting to hack would require far more time and energy to make the attempt worthwhile because each block would need to be attacked individually. As the author points out, politics and fraud probably still could exist, but it can’t be laundered or ‘go missing’. Apparently, once stored on blockchain however, cryptocurrency is required for their exchange and one of the problems here is that others may be designed to replace the one in use. One of these currencies, from the few hundred now available that seems to have gained a particular degree of prominence is Bitcoin, which is beyond this discussion. Suffice it to say, the author has set forth a fact-filled discussion in a most enjoyably fictional presentation.
5*Captivating fictional presentation of important factual material.