Is Bitcoin real money?
We have become so accustomed to using cash for conducting our financial transactions that it is difficult for us to understand the entire range of ideas that are driving some of the newfangled digital payment systems. Who needs a Bitcoin by the way! For the time being the old fashioned cash, or the credit and debit cards, will suffice for you, but a vocal community of libertarians and anarcho-capitalists has now started applauding Bitcoins as the currency of the future.
How do Bitcoins come into being! You actually need computers to mine Bitcoins. The computers use their processing power to solve mathematical equations. Once solved, a batch of coins gets released and is given to the owners of the computers used to mine them. Often many computers work in tandem to speed up the mining process. The mathematical equations have been designed in such a way that they will automatically get more difficult as coins are mined. Only 21 million Bitcoins can ever be mined. Till date about 11.9 million Bitcoins are in circulation.
In 2009, when the Bitcoin phenomenon was new, the cost of a single Bitcoin was around one cent; in that era anyone with a decent amount of processing power in their computer could have mined Bitcoins. But today when the price of each Bitcoins has surged beyond $400 and there are millions of such digital coins in circulation in the Internet, it has become progressively difficult to mine these by using the home computers. Now the Bitcoins can only be mined by use of powerful computers working in tandem with each other.
Many people will ask – how can we have a currency that is not backed by the Central Bank of any Government? Even the technology behind the Bitcoin network is not owned by anyone, much like no one owns the technology behind email. It seems that the Bitcoin users around the world control the Bitcoin phenomenon. Large numbers of developers have been working to improve the software that is being used for mining or transacting in Bitcoins. Mostly users are free to use the software or the version that they prefer for transacting in Bitcoins. Bitcoin payments are made from a wallet application, either on your computer or smartphone, by entering the recipient’s address, the payment amount, and pressing send.
So can you use Bitcoins for buying real products and services! In some developed countries there is significant growth in the number of businesses and individuals who use Bitcoin. You can pay with Bitcoins at restaurants, apartments, law firms, etc. Some of the popular online services like Namecheap, WordPress, Reddit and Flattr also accept payments in Bitcoins. According to some estimates, at the end of August 2013, the total value of Bitcoins in circulation around the world was close to Rs 10,000 crore.
Influence is the ability to control not just the conversation, but actual events. Ambitious people always want to control the flow of events, but they can only do that if they are seen as being decisive and decision makers. Great leaders, like Narendra Modi, win support of the public on account of their supreme confidence; due to the decisive manner in which they conduct themselves and express their views, they are able to seize the news cycle. By virtue of being decisive and knowledgeable, Narendra Modi has seized the reigns of Indian politics and he is now in a position to plot its course.
Today Narendra Modi is regarded by the younger generation in the country as not only a decisive and strong leader, but also as a voice of reason, restraint and the rule of law. His main political rival, from the Congress Party, seems downright underwhelming in comparison. Narendra Modi presents a clear vision of the economically prosperous destination to which he wants to lead the country, whereas his political rivals come out looking like they are lost, confused and out of touch with the needs and aspirations of modern India.
Decisiveness is an essential aspect of power. No country would want to be under the command of a leader who stands flat-footed in the midst of crisis. If you are employed in a company, your boss and colleagues will not value you enough if you are not capable of making decisions on the fly. No one would respect a person who is so plagued with insecurity that he would keep avoiding decisions till as long as he can. Of course, it is not enough to make decisions. You have to make decisions that are “right.” But you can only make right decisions if you have adequate knowledge of what is at the stake.
Before making a decision, you should get as much information as possible. There is no point in sitting in useless thoughts or meetings waiting for the right answer to emerge somehow. You have to take a proactive attitude for quickly finding the answers that will help you to decide. At times all the information that you need might not be there; in such a case you will have no alternative except going with your gut feelings. There are many scientific studies that have shown that a correct gut feeling can hit us before our brains can even rationally process what is going on.
Globalisation : An Impressive Influencer–I
Much has been said about ‘Globalisation’. Depending on the point of view of the observer globalisation constitutes both a threat and a challenge. It is, without doubt, one of the major defining characteristics of the present day society, say, at least an influencing force everywhere in the world. Globalisation has given rise to economic, social, and cultural dynamics, and also witnessed an overriding contradiction between the power of global networks and the struggle for local identity.
It is observed that there is great influence on English language with the fast-paced changes brought about by globalisation and mainly by technological developments. English has reached high status worldwide because of several factors; as the connecting language of millions, as the language that millions of children learn at school and the language that is used in international relations and for global communication and as the major media language. It is, additionally, used to establish and maintain connection and relationship among people with different backgrounds from different cultures.
This emphasises the use of communicative approach whereby English is employed for functional interaction rather than achieving native-like perfection. This is really peculiar of today’s young generation. Worldwide in general and in Indian scenario in particular, globalisation corresponds to the imperatives of the new society in which English is shared among many non-native speakers rather than dominated by the British or Americans. Increasing number of people are turning to English as a requirement of international communication, but they emphasise their own local variety of English rather than colonial standardised norms maybe in order to project their identity and values. This has given rise to the variety of Englishes e.g. Hinglish, Banglish and Manglish, etc.
You might have noticed that today’s education too is localised and at the same time also globalised to foster both local and global knowledge and wisdom for learning. This may help us to become contextualised intelligent citizens, enjoying individualised, localised and globalised education.
In the next part we will discuss the role of English language in order to face the challenge of globalisation. We will also talk about what new skills of reading and writing we will require in the context of globalisation and basically technological advances. Just to mention, you might have observed that now the reading practices are shifting from the page to the screen. Please do place your comments on what do you think about globalisation as impressive influencer.
(The writer is a Assistant Prof. in Late BRD Arts and Commerce Mahila Mahavidyalya, Nasik, Maharashtra. Email: [email protected])