In the Futurama episode "A Fishful of Dollars" Fry becomes a billionaire because he had a bank account 1000 years ago and made interest on the small amount of money he had in it. Fry seems to be the only person to have done that, but we know that many other people froze themselves and got sent into the future. Isn't it likely that they too would have had bank accounts during their time, and they too would have become billionaires? And the mere fact that it is possible seems like a major flaw, because people who never worked for their money (Fry) could still make billions of dollars.

Were there any other people that froze themselves and become billionaires like Fry?

  • 2
    So what’s the question here? Also note that this could be a real problem. The way interest rates work at the moment, that exact situation can make people very rich without work, if their predecessors made a (slightly bigger) deposit in the past. And don’t forget that cryogenics is very real, even though it’s questionable whether the people currently frozen can ever be revived. Jul 28, 2012 at 19:25
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    I agree that there is NO question here. Regardless, the interest earned need not be even a real gain. Thus if your bank pays less than the inflation rate for that period of time, then you have effectively lost money over that time. I also recall a Twilight zone episode about some fellows who freeze themselves with a cache of stolen gold, only to find that in the intervening time gold has been rendered by technology to be essentially worthless as an element.
    – user93
    Jul 29, 2012 at 14:55
  • The question is whether anyone else became billionaires the same way Fry (briefly) did, and if not, why not.
    – dlanod
    Jul 29, 2012 at 22:21
  • Thank you dlanod. That is exactly what I was asking. I am sorry if my question was not clear before.
    – Cyrus
    Jul 30, 2012 at 17:49
  • 1
    Actually - most banks have inactive account policies to prevent this kind of thing mucking up their ledgers - but that wouldn't have made a story.
    – HorusKol
    Jun 14, 2013 at 11:05

4 Answers 4


I just watched this episode again last night. When the teller read Fry his balance there was a total lack on interest or emotion on her face. Because of this, I believe that it is possible that this sort of thing was quite common. After all, there was a welcoming committee for all of the people who were unfrozen at the same time as Fry.

  • Might also explain why they didn't ask for immediate payment...
    – Zibbobz
    Sep 23, 2014 at 20:13

My guess: When Fry was thawed out, he thought he was penniless. He got a job pretty much right away, he weaseled some financial help out of his new friends, and so didn't need to use any of his money. But when everyone else is thawed out, they immediately ask about their bank accounts and get slapped with the cryo institute's steep, steep late charge for a millennium of unpaid rent.

Please note that this is completely unsourced; it just seems like something that would happen in Futurama.


In Futurama we do see some other "defrostees" but none of them appear to be billionaires as a result of their cryogenic freezing.

Out-of-universe, you'd need a very unlikely set of circumstances for this process to work;

  1. You would need to bank with a company that survives the next thousand years; The average lifespan for even the largest companies (FTSE 100 / Fortune 500) is less than one or two hundred years. Only a microscopic number of companies have managed to survive 1000 years.
  2. You would need to bank in a country and economy that survives the next 1000 years; Only six countries have never defaulted on their debts or claimed bankruptcy and only a handful have never been invaded or occupied by enemy troops.
  3. You would need to bank in a country that never enacts a "dormant accounts" law; Most countries have laws to reclaim money from accounts that are no longer in use. An account that has been fallow for a hundred years or more would certainly be fair game.
  4. Your bank needs to actually pay you the money; Withdrawing a billion dollars (that they've been sitting on for the best part of a thousand years and had no plan to pay out on) would be the equivalent of an instant "run" for most banks. Many would simply fold if asked to honour a commitment of this size.

  • To be fair, Fry DIDN'T withdraw his savings all at once - he started using large chunks of it to buy 20th century memorobilia and anchovies, but it was only when Mom's Sons stole his card and pin number that his entire account was wiped clean. Also, he had 92 cents in his account, which they may not have even bothered to clear out (unlikely in the age of digital accounts but then if we're going to add one unlikely scenario, why not a few more?)
    – Zibbobz
    Sep 23, 2014 at 20:20

Defrostees must be fairly common in New New York, since it is a full-time job for Leela's former colleagues to revive and counsel them.

We definitely see two other defrostees from Fry's era: His ex-girlfriend Michelle (Season 2, "The Cryonic Woman") and That Eighties Guy (Season 3, "Future Stock"). Both of them have other immediate concerns: Michelle is confused and terrified by the changes in the future, and Eighties Guy sets about taking over Planet Express and building a business empire.

Neither one seems to think of going to his or her old bank account. Michelle is far too bewildered for this to occur to her. While Eighties Guy's keen business mind would be well aware of compound interest, given that

he forgets to have his terminal bone-itis cured

it seems he is easily distracted by the opportunities of the future.

We don't know how many other defrostees are from Fry's time; it may be that most of them are from much later eras and don't have as much money in their accounts. Alternatively, stupendously rich defrostees may be quite common. Perhaps a lot of them are "sitting in the dark, listening to classical music" instead of interacting with the world of the future.

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