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On Bitcoin and beyond

Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Bit Depth
Shiva Bissessar explains cryptocurrencies at a recent TTCS tech meeting at Open Campus. PHOTO: MARK LYNDERSAY

It started as a discussion in two parts about Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, but it soon became a micro-referendum on the basic differences between digital currencies and traditional financial systems.


The talk featured Richard Jobity, an economist and business analyst who worked for a decade at the Central Bank and Shiva Bissessar, a young technologist, currently Managing and Technical Director of Pinaka Technology Solutions who also wrote is MSc thesis on cryptocurrencies.


The two men presented to a small group gathered by the T&T Computer Society (TTCS) at UWI’s Open Campus two weeks ago.


At the centre of their differing perspectives that evening is the central issue that’s emerging out of this emergent virtual system for assigning value and trading it digitally.


Bitcoin at its simplest is digital cash, electronically created and stored and accepted by members of its virtual community as a medium of conveying value.


Introduced as open-source software in 2009 by the pseudonymous developer Satoshi Nakamoto, it is the best known of a new generation of cryptocurrencies; technologies powered by the enormous complexity of cryptography algorithms.