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The Bitcoin Bubble: Cursed To Fail Or Blessed To Live Forever?

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One of the most trending topic in business and economy today is bitcoin. Recently, the value of a single bitcoin has reached around ₹11 lakh. And at the time of writing this article, it has become one of the biggest things on the planet.

Here, I won’t repeat things people already seem to know. Neither will I comment on its future. I will just try to explain what a bitcoin is for those who aren’t too aware of the subject. It is a currency based on the technique of cryptography – the art of writing or solving any code. Bitcoin is just an uncontrolled public ledger (visible and shared with all) of account transactions between different parties.

Now, the question is that if a bitcoin is a ledger, where does the concept of currency come from?

Block Chains, Public Ledgers And Decentralisation

Here, I will try to explain the concepts in a simple manner.

A ledger of people involved in transactions is broadcasted over the internet after every transaction. Each transaction between individuals is added to their previous transaction, and is secured by a password – thereby creating a chain of transactions. Each transactional ledger is called a block. And the record of all these transactions creates a block chain.

For reference, it looks something like this:

This transactional ledger is continuously broadcasted over the internet. The transactions of all the people are added only to a single ledger – yes, a single ledger, and that’s why it’s decentralised and public.

For every transaction, two keys are created – a public and a private key. Now, here comes the twist, which also happens to be one of the most important but unknown facts for the masses. After being recorded, the coded transactions are decoded and verified, often through a ‘trial-and-error’ method by really fast computing devices (bitcoin miners) which can match the public key of the transaction.

This is an onging process used by these machines. Whenever there is a match, a bitcoin is said to be mined.

Mining And Miners

It may be asked what miners stand to gain if they are able to match the keys for particular transactions. Here is the fun fact – an automated system (already fed in the initial code) awards some ‘credit’ to the miners. This, in turn, becomes a transaction which is added to the main public ledger – and again broadcasted, with a public and a private key. All said and done, the private key just nothing but a proof that a particular transaction took place between the individuals concerned.

A bitcoin mining farm (Image source: Wikipedia)

There is another thing that needs to be noted. Any and all transactions happening at same time are added to the main public ledger. After the transaction has been recorded and verified by both parties and is added to the main ledger, the system deletes the individual ledger of the transaction. The system is designed to keep only the longest ledger, which is the public ledger.

How Bitcoin Is Limited

When the bitcoin was introduced, the mining reward for miners was designed to be 50 bitcoins – a limit that would be halved for every 210,000 blocks mined. In fact, these rewards are halved every four years (the time needed to mine 210,000 blocks). This progression means that there will only be 210,000,00 bitcoin rewards. That’s how it is limited.

Till now, you must have understood a little about bitcoins. But, I would like to draw your attention to the fact that all crypto-currencies are developed on different codes and systems. The only things common between them are the underlying systems of block chain and public ledger.

Is It Safe? When Will It Die?

I cannot answer this. In fact, I doubt anyone in the world can.

But, some things need to be kept in mind:

1. Block chain is the invention – not the bitcoin. Block chains will have a wide application in the future. Bitcoin is what you would call the ‘abacus of computing’.

2. The only value bitcoins have are for the people who decide to sell it and those who want to buy it.

3. One of the biggest questions is whether crypto-currencies are real or fake. In my opinion, this is something that can be understood only by those involved in the industry. In fact, many sites do look for proof before listing it as a valid currency.

4. The real value of bitcoins also lies in its virtual value. If someone cashes it out, it means that they can buy things of a similar value in bitcoin terms.

5. I also believe that it has the potential to destroy currencies. On the other hand, it would seem that if a government sticks to implementing taxes on various transactions, the basis on which bitcoins were formed is compromised – namely, the anonymity of transactions. After all, the anonymity offered by the private key is one of the prime motivators behind bitcoin transactions.

6. However, a system to implement taxes and fees on bitcoin transactions has not been developed yet.

7. Unfortunately, there’s also a high possibility that bitcoins may be used for shady and nefarious activities.

8. According to my reading, problems will eventually arise in the bitcoin world, when people starting to try and cash out. There’s a possibility that there may not be enough supplies when it happens.

After all, you only get paid the amount you have invested in the system. That’s why most exchange systems have a cap on both investment and ‘locking period’ for withdrawal and buying.

9. In my opinion, just as it was created, it’s also likely to end some day.

I am not here to answer the question of whether you should invest in bitcoins or not. For that, use your luck, knowledge – and of course, capital.


Featured image source: Wikipedia
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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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