cmd /K C:\core\digitaldawn\kogarashi-intro.exe

In the years following the explosive proliferation of techno-political decentralisation, society was drastically restructured. The wealth pyramid was upended to begin with, then wholly shattered. A profound and long-forgotten cultural and philosophical introspection was aroused as mankind began to grasp the tremendous significance of the separation of money and state. The 20th Century had seen religion deprecated, and the rise of the secular individual. The 21st Century would see government marginalised, and the birth of the truly sovereign individual. Society was becoming a self-organising system fuelled by intricate economic equilibriums.

In the year 2023, the second global macro fallout of the period had seen astonishing sums of capital clamber for the exit on a dying monetary system. This had driven violent demand for bitcoin, the hardest money to ever exist. It reached $373,000 by 2025, which was its last measure of value expressed in US dollars. The creative destruction that Satoshi Nakamoto had unleashed was of cosmic significance. The emergence of true digital scarcity would turn out to be a necessary stepping stone for any civilization in the quest for post-scarcity existence. The world now revolved around three supercommodities of grave importace; bitcoin, hash power, and energy.

The Kogarashi network came to life on the 3rd January 2042, exactly 33 years after the Bitcoin Genesis block. Originally coded by Katabatic (KB) — a mysterious fanatical technology group of Japanese origin — the world had paid little attention. Its whitepaper and code skeleton had been released two years prior, outlining its plans to harness the power of a decentralised network to simulate an entire universe. None had forseen the infectious spread of Katabatic ideology. It sought to push the limits of technology at all costs without regard for legal, moral, or mortal boundaries.

cmd /K C:\core\digitaldawn\kogarashi-partone.exe

Pax’s eyes roved the textured gradient as he scrabbled up the loosely packed Earth towards the lip of the hill. He stood at the apex and sharply inhaled a lungful of air as if to declare his existence to the darkness. A tangy petrichor pricked him. The tired Moon issued amorphous shadows that toyed with his vision. The 13th consecutive hour without power in Neo Tōkyō. Pax had moved west out of the centre upon receiving a tip off about the United Nations’ intended EMP strike to the east of the city. Ever since Katabatic extremists raided the LDP’s mining farms, conflict had escalated on both sides of the equation. Gentle flames danced in place of city lights on the horizon as he watched Mount Jinba unfurl into the distant concrete jungle. He took out his Damascus knife, drew his right hand to his left temple, and made a clean incision. This was not the first time the relay for his retinal projector had blown — the Oculons were still highly experimental. He rinsed the lifeless circuit in a nearby puddle, watching as his warm blood fused with the cold starlight on the surface of the water. The Oculons were meant to use thermo-electric energy harvesters to convert body heat to power, but the voltage conversion unit was dead.

With tensions rising, Pax had to find a way to get back online. He was one of the original Cloaks, he never had a passport, nor was part of any citizen database. After the data scandals of the 2010s, an elusive strand of society had committed to keeping their progeny completely off the grid. Without access to his fabricated identity keys through the Interplanetary Filesystem (IPFS), it would be difficult to clear the UN checkpoints at the airport. There was another situation threatening to ground him — Erebus. It was the name given to the latest and most dangerous in a series of cyberattacks carried out by the Katabatics. It was expected to break the hashing algorithim used on the Global Citizen Database (GCD) in order to nullify any attempt at tracing KB supporters.

Ever since the Kogarashi network had gone live, a deeply threatening series of events had begun to unfold. It started when the incriminating findings of a UN-issued blockchain forensics report pointed to Katabatic. At the conclusion of the multi-year study, there was overwhelming consensus that the group had accounted for almost 15% of all stolen bitcoin in the past three decades. This placed them amongst the top global holders, dwarfing the national treasuries of a broken Japan and England combined. It was estimated that they were in control of roughly 175,000 BTC — almost 1% of the circulating supply. It remained a wonder that governments had not begun to accumulate coin earlier. Fear and terror swept the globe as people began to connect the dots. Information pulsed in the veins of the World Wide Web as nine billion people turned their attention on the hitherto obscure Katabatic organization. Who were they? What was their objective? Out of sheer curiosity, Pax had decided to join the Katabtic organization through their darknet forum. M0rph, as he came to be called, would see a swift rise to prominence due to his unusual technological literacy.

At the top of the sleeping mountain Pax found a shuttered cafe with a single neon sign flashing ‘bitcoin accepted here’ into the deserted space in front of it. Power, he thought. Without hesitation he circled the hut scanning for the optimal point of entry. He did not care for the security cameras he was sure would be trained on him. His exomask contained a thin hyper-reflective membrane capable of blinding them. Pax identified a point of vulnerability, and punctured the rotten wood with considerable force. He was in.

The smell of mold crept up on him as he wired the backup relay required to fix his Oculon. After rebooting, Pax was able to access his files temporarily and retrieve a new identity key. This would allow him to catch a bulletjet out of Neo Tōkyō before the Erebus attack caused a total shutdown. He would need to make it back to London where his main terminal was based before a KB member noticed his absence. As he was about to disconnect, something caught his eye. 137 alerts. Something was up. He froze upon unlocking his encrypted infobite portal:

We do not seek to destroy, we seek to create.

We have the ingredients for the next phase of evolution.

We believe humanity to be the biological bootstrapper for the creation of the Next Universe.

Based upon the principles of computational neuroscience, frustum culling, and quantum mechanics, we have created a hardware agnostic self-rendering software engine capable of growing to simulate an entire universe of conscious life.

We will release the simulation on the Kogarashi network.

We turn to you in expectation of support.

Yours faithfully, Mol3ch.

— July 13th 2042, the Katabatic Manifesto

Humanity’s lights went out.

Was it possible?

Click here for Part Two.

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Piers Kicks

Bitcoin. VC. Video games. Dreams. Sci-Fi. Optimistic about possibilities, pessimistic about their implementation.