I recently finished the Foundation series by Isaac Asimov, one of the most popular and influential science fiction series ever, and I found myself getting pulled into it for many of the same reasons I have become so interested in cryptocurrencies and decentralized blockchain projects.
The trading, the “moon” and the “lambos” are all great, but what keeps me hooked on crypto is the developing field of cryptoeconomics, a technology-enabled mix of philosophy, sociology, psychology and economics; I will leave it to Vitalik to explain it in more detail.
“Using cryptography to prove properties about messages that happened in the past and economic incentives defined inside the system to encourage desired properties to hold into the future.” (Paraphrased from Vitalik Buterin’s presentation on cryptoeconomics)
The Foundation series is set over 20,000 years in the future. Humans have populated the entire galaxy and a central empire rules over millions of planets and quadrillions of people. I will do my best to avoid any spoilers below, but the central character throughout the series (I read the series in the published order) is Hari Seldon, who creates psychohistory, a mathematical discipline intended to provide general high level predictions of the future. In doing so he is able to foresee the downfall of the empire and the millennia of anarchy until another empire can come to power and stabilize the galaxy. He then uses his new discipline to put a plan in place to reduce the time it will take for society to rebuild.
“Psychohistory depends on the idea that, while one cannot foresee the actions of a particular individual, the laws of statistics as applied to large groups of people could predict the general flow of future events. Asimov used the analogy of a gas: an observer has great difficulty in predicting the motion of a single molecule in a gas, but can predict the mass action of the gas to a high level of accuracy. (Physicists know this as the Kinetic theory).” Wikipedia