Currency & Identification
In the Firmament, how you pay for things and how you can be tracked are two sides of the same coin. The Firmament has a universal currency (credits and bits) but exactly how that currency is used to buy and sell things depends on where you currently are. In the most distant parts of the Rim, the credit isn’t used at all. After all, it’s only useful if you regularly trade with the rest of the Firmament. Some places prefer to trade in precious metals, or simply barter.
Credits come in two forms: electronic, and in the form of hard cash. The methods for tracking notes and preventing counterfeiting are more advanced, but cash hasn’t really changed much in the past few centuries. Electronic payments are more convenient, but easier to track - and in many parts of the Firmament, they’re unavoidable. Most upstanding citzens have bank accounts where they store most of their money, but electronic credits can also be stored on a datapad, terminal or even a credit cartridge. A lot of people prefer this, as it makes them slightly more anonymous - if they make a payment, it’s associated with the serial number of their datapad, not a bank account in their name.
|A lot of money for a slum-dweller||$50|
|A lot of money for an ordinary worker||$500|
|A lot of money for a comfortable professional||$2500|
|A lot of money for a wealthy person||$25K|
|A lot of money for an oligarch||$1M|
A guide to payouts for crime jobs:
- Petty crime includes milk runs, opportunistic theft, stealing personal data from random people, light intimidation, and so on.
- Low-level crime includes violence, extortion, smuggling and bodyguard duty. It also includes extraction, investigation and data snatches where the target isn’t important. It doesn’t include killing.
- Serious crime includes the same stuff as low-level crime, but the target is significant, well-guarded, or there are serious obstacles at play.
- Elite crime includes heists, shadowruns and the kind of jobs that are planned for months in advance. Celebrities, public officials or high-security targets may be involved.
- Wetwork involves killing - not as an unavoidable eventuality, but as the objective. Wetwork jobs are usually assassinations.
The Firmament has a universal system of identification - basically a birth certificate, passport and credit history rolled into one. Known as your “imprint”, it is associated with biometric data, credit and purchase history, crminal records, and so on. However, how widely it is used and monitored varies widely depending on where in the Firmament you currently are.
On the Rim, universal identification is basically not a thing. You might have an imprint if you were born in a big city, but it’s not uncommon for the majority of a planet’s population to go without one. Transactions on the Rim rarely take the imprint into account; far more important are documents like deeds of ownership or gun licenses. These are things whose purpose is not to track and identify you, but to prove you are who you say you are. Cash is more than good enough for the vast majority of Rimworlders. You’re more likely to see electronic credits in a big town or city, where they’re used for convenience. Using anonymous datapads and credit cartridges is completely normal, and even electronic transactions can be difficult (though not impossible) to trace. Tracking people down tends to be a matter of old-fashioned detective work.
In the Territories, pretty much everyone has an imprint unless they were born in a warzone or something. Although cash is unusual, you can get away with “anonymous” payments using an unregistered credit cart or datapad for most things. If you want to buy movie tickets, food, public transport, or even send money to someone, you won’t have too much trouble. Significant purchases are likely to be a “verified transaction”, though, and require identification. If you want to buy a gun, rent a car, form a company - you’ll need to use a payment method that is associated with your imprint. If you use a datapad to make a verified purchase associated with your real identity, then that same datapad hacks into a corporate node - you’re in trouble.
In the Foundation, identification and surveillance are ubiquitous. Citizens are required to be identifiable at all times - natives are implanted with a microchip at birth - and the extensive surveillance apparatus is wired directly into biometric databases. Just walking down the street, you’re probably recorded and run through a hundred biometric databases. All payments are verified transactions, and unregistered datapads or credit cartridges raise instant red flags. Every transaction is tracked and logged, and cash transactions are accepted in very few places.
As long as there are systems designed to identify individuals and make them accountable, there will be people trying to find ways to circumvent these systems.
To make anonymous payments, the easiest way is still to stick with cash. Failing that, an unregistered credit cartridge is the next best thing - though even these have a serial number that gets recorded when you make a payment, and can be cross-referenced and tracked. It doesn’t get really tricky until you’re talking about verified transactions - they need to be associated with someone’s imprint. If you want to buy a gun from a legitimate dealer without it being linked to your identity, you need someone to hack into a government database and fabricate a false identity for you.
When it comes to false identities, they come in a few classes:
- Random imprints are just that - completely random. They will only fool the most basic checks, because the biometrics and even basic physical details don’t match. Good for when you need an imprint that isn’t your own, but not much else. 2500 credits.
- Rough-match imprints are the right age and sex, and in the right ballpark for details such as age and ethnicity. The biometrics still don’t match, and the other details might not hold up to a close inspection. 5000 credits.
- Plausible imprints match you pretty closely. All the details are right, and the only thing that doesn’t match is the biometrics. You’ll need surgical alteration if you want to pass those off. 10,000 credits.
- Alternate imprints can only be made by hacking into government databases. They’re the same as plausible imprints, except that even the fingerprints and retinal scans match. 25,000 credits.