Crypto Finance & Blockchain

The Bits in Bitcoin- Understanding the underlying mechanism

Shubhasish Das - Finance Manager at Cargill

Mr. Das, can you please introduce yourself to our readers? 

I belong to the species of homosapiens who are curious by nature and possess a deep desire to understand ‘what’ and ‘why’ of their surroundings. I have inherited these traits which drove me to delve into whatever fields I can get my hands into, though I have specialised in finance & blockchain. 

I am a member of Institute of cost accountants of India, a certified bitcoin professional, a certified blockchain expert, a student of two of the most innovative institutes of India- IIT & IIM. I am also an innovator. I have invented world’s first journal entry app called SIMPLEJE, also converted the accounting equation into a space shooter game that students find entertaining and educational.  

I have written two finance books. The book titled as ‘Think like an accountant’ is an amazon India bestseller and loved by the student community. 

I have worked with some of the top companies in the world- IBM, Maersk, Philips, Petrofac. Presently, I am working in a senior role in Cargill. 

How do you think companies can fill the blockchain talent gap? 

First of all let’s define the term gap’. Gap is nothing but the distance between present conditions and expected conditions. If we are not irrational, it is natural for us to expect better conditions than present.  

Companies are just collection of individuals striving towards a common goal of better conditions for all. The specific vision, mission and goals of companies may differ, but the underlying structure to accomplish these goals relies on a common ground of ‘trust’ and ‘integrity’ which glues the stakeholders, enabling them to achieve better conditions for all.  

Blockchain has been called the trust protocol. It ensures trust and integrity of information by design. Before blockchain, there was no way to achieve trust without involving a trusted third party. These third parties, irrespective of their high trustworthiness , are vulnerable as single point failure. These vulnerabilities are exploited by malicious agents to cause significant exposure for corporates. Historically, the cost of trust has been huge. These costs comes in various forms like cyber attacks, ransom-wares, private data breaches, management frauds, insolvencies etc. Blockchain eliminates substantial portion of cost of trust which in turn translates into increased value for stakeholders. We can say it is a system to achieve trust with ‘less cost’. 

Every company must invest their time and resources to establish a dedicated blockchain research committee which will be responsible for drafting the blockchain policy for the company. It will also design the framework for hiring, educating, training and developing the best possible talents available in-house or out there. This will help companies to fill up the ‘gap’ which we have discussed before. 

How by your opinion has the pandemic accelerated developments in payment technology? 

Cash doesn’t work in distance. The payer and payee must be present at same place and time to carry out cash to cash transactions.  

The pandemic has made the distance between people and transactions mandatory, which in turn resulted in a spike in non-cash or digital transactions.  Digital space doesn’t have the limitations of physical space and time as far as monetarily value transfer is concerned. So, yes the pandemic has accelerated the adoption and innovation in digital payments mechanisms. 

In your opinion what is the future of crypto currencies? 

I believe in Darwin’s law- survival of the fittest. We have around ten thousand cryptocurrencies floating around the world now. For the first time in history, anyone can create their own currency and propose to the society for its adoption. This provides huge opportunities for value innovation but simultaneously creates substantial downside risk of fraud and manipulation. There have been ICO scams, crypto exchange hacks, token scams which have successfully exploited the greed and ignorance general population to cause millions of dollars of investment loss. 

Currencies with strong fundamentals will survive. As society will become more and more educated about cryptocurrencies, people will make informed and rational decisions on adopting certain currencies out of the thousands that are available. These currencies will win the race and will be used either as a medium of exchange or store of value or unit of account or, some of them might be used for all of these purposes. Who knows they may accrue a completely new functionality in future. 

Further, governments will come up with their own cryptocurrencies which may have a radical impact on commercial and private banks. Transactions may happen though a consortium blockchain operated by the central bank and few public sector banks. The role of private banks as intermediaries between people and central bank might be eliminated. 

What advice can you give to the people who are now entering this professional field? 

We are fortunate to be alive in one of the pivotal points in history. Pivot points are critical turning points in time, that create a completely new class of opportunities. Over the last two centuries, these points can be counted with three fingers, one, the industrial revolution, two, the PC revolution and three, the internet revolution. Now, you can use your fourth finger to count the blockchain revolution. Those who wants to enter this field can understand it’s significance now. This is a multidisciplinary complex field that requires mastery over a diverse range of topics. This is what makes this field challenging as well as interesting for high intellect individuals, but at the same time, repulsing for most of the people who are not intellectually capable to handle complexity. This creates resource scarcity by design. When the demand is high, and resources are less, value of resources tend to increase. People who ‘should’ be getting my advice have already got it. 

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