Cyberpunk 2077, the biggest game of 2020 is finally here. In all of its buggy glory. And with this game comes an entire alternate timeline, in which the year is 2077, the U.S. is characterized by extreme inequality which has led to it basically falling apart into civil war. Sound familiar?
Now that’s pretty fascinating, but for me, as a monetary economist, one of the most interesting things about the Cyberpunk alternate timeline is the rise of a new global currency, the Eurodollar, endearingly known as Eddies.
But, what are Eddies? How did they defeat the once mighty U.S. dollar, and why would Night City, a free city state located in California use a European currency? These are the questions that will be answered in this post.
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What are Eddies?
What’s a bit confusing about the Cyberpunk Eurodollar, is that it has the same name as our real world Eurodollar, while not being the same at all. In our world, Eurodollars are dollars that have been created by banks outside of the U.S. Mainly in Europe. But, in Cyberpunk, the Eurodollar is basically the same as the Euro. After all, it’s the official currency of the EEC, which is pretty much the European Union.
So basically, the people of Night city, an independent city state in California, are using the Cyberpunk equivalent of the Euro! That’s seems pretty weird. So, how did this happen?
How did Eddies become the Cyberpunk world currency?
In the world of Cyberpunk 2077, the European Economic Community established its own currency, the Eurodollar, in 1992. This is the same year that the Maastricht treaty was signed, the treaty that established that the Euro, in our timeline. At the time, the U.S. was the global superpower and the dollar was still king. So far, the timelines are pretty similar.
However, there was one development which led to a major divergence in the Cyberpunk monetary timeline. This development was set in motion by what is known as the gang of four. The NSA, CIA, FBI, and DEA. These spy agencies secretly took control of the United States and in the European Economic Community, they saw the emergence of a major unwanted rival.
Clearly, if only they had waited, they would have found out that European politicians are too incompetent to create a real superpower to rival the U.S. But, they didn’t. Instead, they started manipulating global financial markets to make the U.S. seem more powerful than it really was. Big mistake, since all the European politicians had to do was leak this information to the media (and leaking information to the media just happens to be something that European politicians are actually really good at).
When financial markets found out about the manipulation, this led to a major financial market crash in 1994. This crash was so big that it made our own market crash of 2008 look like a normal day in Bitcoin markets. The 1994 crash led to the implosion of the U.S. Economy and the demise of the U.S. dollar as the reserve currency. At that point there was only one competitor that could replace it: the Eurodollar. And so it happened. This is when Eddies achieved monetary superpower status. With even other major superpowers like the Soviet Union and Japan adopting it as their official currency at some point in time.
Why does night city use Eddies?
With the Eddie dominating the international monetary order, it now makes a lot more sense that an internationally focused city of commerce, like night city, would adopt it as their own. Their situation is actually very similar to that of Hong Kong. While the official currency of Hong Kong is the Hong Kong dollar, it’s pegged to the U.S. dollar, not the Chinese renminbi.
What night city did was just take it one step further and that is adopting a foreign currency as its own. After all, not having to transfer money into local currency at all is very convenient for the mega corporations dominating Night city. For comparison, fully adopting a foreign currency puts Night City in the same monetary category as Panama and Liberia. Two countries that are fully dollarized in our world.
So that’s why Night City uses Eddies and not dollars as their currency of choice.