One of the last large orbital builds during the Petroleum Era, MIDAS-1 was designed from the ground up to be the perfect blockchain crypto-mining facility ever. It technically succeeded in this goal.
Form and Function
MIDAS-1 is a Bernal sphere space habitat, just over 300 meters long. It can house up to a dozen people in cramped conditions, and it has a single docking point. The largest part of the station is the voluminous solar panel array. MIDAS has thousands of square meters of gold photo-receptor panels, allowing it to generate megawatts of power effortlessly. The core of the station is a block matrix of solid-state processors. This accidentally created a semi self-aware computer core. When in full operation, MIDAS-1 generated the same financial output as a medium-sized nation and supported a half dozen cryptocurrencies.
In the late Petroleum Era, the environmental costs of financial and crypto-currencies were becoming painfully obvious. Efforts were made to lessen the impacts and mitigate the power costs, as electrical grids started to falter under staggering demand. Some efforts were Eco-conscious, repurposing derelict hydroelectric and geothermal power plants. Some were less so and included groups building what were deemed pirate reactors to power mining farms. For each nuclear waste reactor, there were easily a dozen small fossil fuel plants that were restarted. The short-term profit was considered worth the pollution impact, and it would destroy the remaining stockpiles of fuel goods.
MIDAS was launched, at great cost, by a multinational multi-corp investment group, and was immediately a source of hostility and friction.
Few things can more starkly mark the difference between the haves and the have nots than the launch of MIDAS. Named for a man cursed to turn anything he touched into gold, this massive space station has a nation's ransom worth of gold worked into solar panels to power blockchain transactions for the first world. They literally launched a solid gold space station so that their BitCoin indices wouldn't be bothered by the fact that most of the world is looking at food insecurity, rolling power outages, and the fucking breakdown of basic utilities. Did you see what they celebrated its launch with? An NFT offering for platinum tier investors.
We are having hospitals have to ration power, but they're trading pixel art drawings of a gold man that require an amount of power so large that it would keep an entire hospital lit and running for months. Months, for each one given out.
MIDAS-2 and MIDAS-3
Two more mining stations were planned by the joint venture, considering the economic success of the first. Neither came to fruition though. MIDAS-2 was almost completed before it was sabotaged. The facility handling its construction was struck by an unclaimed terrorist attack, which amounted to be a low-yield nuke being detonated on the edge of the construction and assembly area. A few hundred people died, and a large amount of material was rendered toxic from fallout.
MIDAS-3 reached 30% completion before a series of blackmailings and assassinations brought the project to a halt. It was determined that even without these hurdles, MIDAS-3 would have never launched because there wasn't enough refined rocket fuel to power the heavy lift it would have required.
MIDAS and Mothballs
When the Petroleum Era came to a close, the signal was sent to MIDAS for the station to furl its solar panels and power down. At the time it was assumed that the shutdown would be temporary and that once a few things smoothed out, they would send the wake-up signal and it would get back to mining. The signal never came, as the economic and technological centers that handled blockchain and space operations were abandoned or destroyed.
MIDAS is a large super-processor floating in space, with no one controlling it. It could be used by a third or fourth tier power as an off-world data processing center, or a major communications hub for a terrorist faction. It could even be a black budget location for a first world power, hiding a major modern cybertechnology center inside the golden shell of a Petroleum Era vanity.
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