Torus Cryptomines

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"Are you a drifter looking for work? Or perhaps you were replaced by an AI? Apply today for the cryptomines! There's always work to be done by a human!"
―An ad for the Torus Cryptomines

The Torus Cryptomines is part of a Dyson swarm network surrounding Lorem, a G type star serving as the gravitational center of the ringworld Torus. Originally created by the Valerian Empire for harvesting solar energy, they have since been repurposed by Virtuoso to serve as computational engines to generate cryptocurrency and blockchains for their virtual real estate enterprise.

In the years prior to the Virtual Wars, Virtuoso encountered a shortage of computational power when supplying assets to their clients. It was during this time they discovered that it was more cost efficient to use human neural energy over inorganic processors to generate crypto. A human, volunteer or otherwise, would be put into a shared dreamstate and have their consciousness integrated into the system to generate power. The more actively engaged a human's mind was, the more crypto would be generated meaning that the human would often have unusual, vivid nightmares of surreal, abstract imagery that would force them into a fight or flight state. If subject too intensely, a person could suffer permanent brain damage, but the overpopulation of the galaxy made humans very easily replaceable. This discovery had some enormous moral implications, but the Federation of Stellar Systems looked the other way as they were desperate to solve their own economic crisis.

The Federation saw an opportunity to relocate society's unwanted - prisoners, the homeless, people unable to pay their debts and even political dissidents were sent to the mines. Virtuoso, who saw the chance for increased profits, asked no questions. To those none the wiser, Virtuoso was simply offering job opportunities to everyone, no matter the skill level. Virtuoso even boldly claimed that they solved unemployment overnight. With the influx of a near endless supply of labor, this event was single handedly responsible for Virtuoso's extreme rise to power to the point where they would eventually usurp the government.

The data generated from the cryptomines make up for more than 60% of Virtuoso's revenue. They have since adapted a passive version of this technology on all Virtuoso developed virtual worlds outside of the cryptomines. This gathering of information is publicly known as Virtuoso describes it through their propaganda as little more than an additional fee for using their technology to, in their words, boost the economy.

Points of interest

Nightmare Ward

Officially designated as Ward 4444, this area of the cryptomines was nicknamed the Nightmare Ward due to the frightening imagery the miners have to experience. It is often described as a literal hellscape as human brain activity is forced to almost the absolute limit. Miners have their neural activity extracted on a rotational basis to limit brain damage although those with a history of other health conditions often do not survive. To many, it is considered pure, senseless torture as the miners are subject to not only their worst fears but are also forced into mind games designed to turn the miners against one another.