At the very end of Cryptonomicon, what becomes of the gold from Golgotha that has liquified and has become a “bright, thick river of gold.”?

1 Answer 1


By all indications, it stays there, and continues to be used as backing for Epiphyte's currency. It is still present on the land, theoretically they could still chip ingots out of it, the melting has eliminated any real opportunity for someone to lay claim to a particular portion of it claiming serial numbers or a particular alloy composition to the gold, and the fact that it's one solid piece ensconced in a river bed means it's very difficult for anyone to run off with any sizeable piece of it without having to seize and occupy the land.

I'll admit that I have no citation from Stephenson on this, but there's some good discussion of the issue here.

  • I'm sure they'd "mine", assay, and re-cast the gold into measurable ingots for the purposes of backing their currency. But it's all speculation.
    – gowenfawr
    Commented Apr 16, 2020 at 16:12
  • 1
    There are all sorts of theories out there, such as that it was used to fund the company of "Fall, or Dodge in Hell", but it looks like there's not real evidence.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Apr 16, 2020 at 16:28
  • I've always viewed Epiphyte as the first nation-state of The Diamond Age
    – gowenfawr
    Commented Apr 16, 2020 at 16:30
  • @FuzzyBoots You're right; I was just looking for any actual evidence and I didn't find anything.
    – DavidW
    Commented Apr 16, 2020 at 16:50

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.