NIAS Wednesday Discussion-Mr. Lokendra, Mr. Vishnu & Ms. Avishka will speak on “From Bitcoins to Dogecoins: Everything You Need to Know About Cryptocurrencies”
NIAS Wednesday Discussion
Topic: From Bitcoins to Dogecoins:
Everything You Need to Know About Cryptocurrencies
Speakers: Lokendra Sharma
Doctoral Scholar, School of Conflict and Security Studies, NIAS
Research Intern, School of Conflict and Security Studies, NIAS
Research Assistant, School of Conflict and Security Studies, NIAS
Chairperson: D Suba Chandran
Professor and Dean, School of Conflict and Security Studies, NIAS
Date: 7 July 2021
Time: 4.00 PM
Meeting Link Click here to join the meeting
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Abstract: From the 1980s, when the first attempts were made, to the present times, cryptocurrencies have come a long way. They have not just proliferated in numbers, but also in value and reach. An important milestone in this journey was the year 2008, when a mysterious developer called Satoshi Nakamoto proposed a new cryptocurrency called “bitcoins” running on the blockchain technology. Promising anonymous transactions across national boundaries, free of any central authority, the demand for bitcoins quickly rose, especially among those looking for an alternative to the existing financial system controlled by states and their central banks. With total bitcoins limited to 21 million by design and with ‘mining’ drawing ever-increasing computational power (and energy), the value of bitcoins in
supply skyrocketed from zero to trillion in just a decade. As with all booming industries, a host of other developers joined the crypto-bandwagon by proposing their own digital currencies — ethereum, binance. tether, litecoin, and a thousand others. The entry of dogecoin, which started out as a ‘meme’, and the Non-Fungible Tokens (NFT) further added spice and dynamism to a market, already quite intrigued by these developments.
But the story of crypto is not all rosy. Cryptos have been used in the dark web, by criminal and terror groups, as well as by ransomware attackers. While many rags-to-riches stories abound, crypto markets have been extremely volatile, with billions of dollars getting wiped out in a few minutes. Cryptocurrencies are not backed by anything in the real world, and it is feared that like the dot-com bubble of the early 2000s, the crypto bubble will also soon burst. States, which see cryptos as a threat to their authority, have also mounted a counter-offensive, by either banning them outrightly or by launching their own digital currencies.
Any perusal of the crypto saga naturally brings some questions to anyone’s mind: What is the idea behind a cryptocurrency? How do they actually work? How are cryptos ‘mined’? What is a blockchain? How does a decentralised ledger deliver mathematical trust? What are NFTs? How did this all begin and where will it end? What are the problems with cryptos and would the counter-offensive by states succeed? Are cryptos here to stay? Is this technology revolutionising? What impact would it have on the world that we are familiar with?
We attempt to answer all these questions (and more) in the upcoming Wednesday Discussion on 7 July, in a language that everyone, irrespective of technical expertise, can easily understand. Join us for discussing one of the greatest technological revolutions unfolding in contemporary times.
About the speakers:
Lokendra Sharma is a first-year doctoral scholar in the School of Conflict and Security Studies at NIAS. He is working with Prof D Suba Chandran on the subject of technology and international relations for his doctoral research.
Vishnu Prasad is a postgraduate scholar at the Department of International Studies, Political Science and History at Christ (Deemed to be University) in Bangalore. He is currently a research intern at the School of Conflict and Security Studies, NIAS. His areas of research include South American politics and the effects of climate change on the international order.
Avishka Ashok is a Research Assistant in the School of Conflict and Security Studies at NIAS. She is also the assistant editor of the NIAS weekly, 'The World This Week' and the NIAS fortnightly on 'Science Technology and International Relations'