The DAIICT Student Chapter of ACM organized a talk on Thursday, the 22nd of January where Lt. Cdr. S. Rahul from the Navy spoke on Bitcoins. This, being ACM’s first event this year, lived upto the hype.
Simply put, Bitcoin is cryptocurrency. It is fast becoming the most widely accepted digital currency (if the world ever had one). The transactions carried out in Bitcoins are anonymous.No central authority controls Bitcoin. It is decentralized. It’s most striking feature that differentiates it from other forms of money is that anybody can mine it. So where did the first Bitcoins come from and who created the software for mining? How exactly do transactions take place? How can you mine your own Bitcoins? A record of all Bitcoin transactions is maintained. Whenever somebody spends a Bitcoin, the information gets added to the ‘block chain’. How is the anonymity of the buyer and sender ensured then? These are some of the historic and technical questions addressed in the talk.
Then Lt. Cdr. S. Rahul talked about why Bitcoins are so controvertible. One of those reasons is that the black market accepts Bitcoins, making Bitcoins the ideal form of payment for buying things that you wouldn’t want to be known to be buying. (There was a huge controversy regarding Bitcoins when it came to light that the founder of Silk Road,an online drug trafficking site accepted payment via Bitcoins) . He also explained how the exchange rates for Bitcoins are determined. He further clarified that since mining consists of cracking a really complicated encryption, it is hard for a single person to have enough computational power in their machine to mine a significant number of Bitcoins. Usually, miners form ‘pools’, which basically enables people to combine their processing power with other people’s.
Later, after the talk, the speaker answered the student’s questions and also showed us what a ‘Bitcoin wallet’ looks like. He ran the miner on the computer and showed us how it takes too terribly long to mine Bitcoins on our regular computers for Bitcoin-mining to be a sensible means of making money. Then he proceeded to show us mining pools on the website. We visited a website which showed the exchange rates between different currencies and learnt that 1 Bitcoin equals around 17000 Indian Rupees. Lt. Cdr. S. Rahul shared his opinion that mining Bitcoins for the fun of it is a good thing as it would get you to think and learn about processing. However, trying to make money out of Bitcoins, according to him, might not be the best way to spend one’s time.
Overall it was an informative talk. Lt. Cdr. S. Rahul explained unheard-of concepts very lucidly so that people who did not know anything about Bitcoins could also easily follow what was going on. He gave a lot of examples and made even some of the boring details sound interesting.
The event garnered a good response. Students from different years turned up.
ACM-DAIICT believes that outside-the-lectures learning is important. If you’re lucky enough to be living on campus, you should attend talks like this, hear somebody speak about something they know a lot about, interact with them and learn from them. We learn so much from each other when we get together at events like these!
“I’m a big fan of Bitcoin … Regulation of money supply needs to be depoliticized. ” – Former Us Vice president Al Gore.
“Bitcoin is a technological tour de force.”- Bill Gates.
“Every informed person needs to know about Bitcoin because it might be one of the world’s most important developments.” – Nobel Peace Prize Nominee Leon Louw
For those who are interested-:
Getting Started-: https://bitcoin.org
Bitcoin conversion rate and Price Index-: http://www.coindesk.com/price/
Bitcoin Mining Pool-: https://bitminter.com/
Hoping to see you in large numbers at our next event!
We would also like to thank Lt. Cdr. S. Rahul for conducting a brilliant talk and engaging our interest in Bitcoins.