KITCHENER — Laurel McKellar placed her left hand on the big red button.
She was tense. She only had 15 seconds to prove her mettle.
“I don’t know if I’m fast enough,” said Themuseum’s senior director of exhibitions and program development on Monday afternoon.
A game of speed and touch was about to begin.
McKellar stood before an arcade-style Virtual Bitcoin Miner game on the third floor of the King Street museum.
She was poised to be a quick-draw demon for those 15 seconds, scouring block code for the right combinations to win coveted cryptocurrency as a reward in a whack-a-mole quarter-minute.
Of course, the curator was nervous. This wasn’t like playing “Sonic the Hedgehog” at home in Stoney Lake with her brother so many years ago.
There was unreal ethereal money at stake amid the quaint two-dollar bill artifacts of this Bank of Canada Museum travelling exhibit, called Decoding E-Money, that features coins and paper currency dating back two centuries.
The downtown museum was momentarily quiet and empty.
A yellow school bus full of field-trip kids had just left in a happy hullabaloo. It was just McKellar versus the dark, three-player machine now in a “Tron Legacy” backdrop.
McKellar pursed her fingers into emu-beak formation and pecked away furiously. The video-screen clock began counting down.
New codes flashed each time McKellar punched the fat button, panning for bitcoin gold, that decade-old rebel currency that exists online beyond the control of the world’s national banks.
One bitcoin for her. Two. Three. If only her growing haul of the wildly fluctuating currency could jangle in her pocket.
“You can see it going up,” she said excitedly.
Time ran out on McKellar even if the exhibit and the Bitcoin Miner simulation continue their stay at Themuseum until September.
“I only won four …” McKellar said. “I just did it with a colleague and she was winning eight. So I don’t think I’m very fast at all.”
But four bitcoins are four bitcoins. Don’t spend it all in one place.