Bitcoin: Past, Present and Future
By Ahmed Kabir Chaion
Product Specialist, Strategy and Relationships
From the beginning of human civilization the concept of currency has evolved so much. Trade and commerce depended hugely on what both parties had to offer (material goods, services, etc.) for the transactions to happen; “Exchange”- a more appropriate term. Rice was exchanged for cloth and eventually cloth was exchanged for currency. Now fast forward to the 21st century, we not only have actual currencies but virtual and digital ones as well. A wide range of payment options have reduced the existing barriers of buying and selling regardless of the location or region. The power of technology has allowed us to entertain and utilize the latest form of currency called “Cryptocurrency”.
Paying for a cup of chocolate latte in the streets of China using a mobile app (Internet Banking, PayPal, etc.) would have been unrealistic to even imagine about a 100 years ago – now it’s a thing of the present. Such methods of technology not only fasten the transaction but also provides greater levels of security than conventional methods without costing additional fees.
Cryptocurrency is a medium of exchange, created and stored electronically within the network. Each completed transaction gets added into a block of decentralized ledgers called the “Blockchain”. Once a transaction gets added to the Blockchain it becomes permanent and cannot be altered. Cryptocurrencies have no physical form as it only exists in the network. Bitcoin is the most common and widely used form of cryptocurrency among 700+ different Altcoin (alternate Cryptocurrency like Litecoin, Dogecoin, etc) types. With record-high exchange rates, (1 Bitcoin = 2730+ USD on 21 June 2017) Bitcoin now has created a hype that is enough for millions of users to sign up for a Bitcoin Wallet Account. Similar to the concept of WeChat Wallet (in China), Bitcoin is slowly progressing towards the wide acceptance in countries such as Japan. However, it is important to know that not all countries or states allow Bitcoin to be used legally as the supply of Bitcoin is not determined by a central bank. Here is the list of countries that have banned the use of Bitcoin:
Conceptually, Bitcoin is still new and there are so many unknown areas. The very basic requirement of Bitcoin is that the transactions need to be made over the internet and there won’t be any central authority to process each transaction. A single user can have as many identities over the network and those should be anonymous and can only be identified by their virtual identity. User identities are cryptographically hashed (takes an input or message and returns a fixed alphanumeric string; this string is called the hash value). Bitcoin is generated by “Miners” and unlike conventional digging of piles of dirt, the main job of the miners is to validate each and every transaction on the network by confirming them.
The miners usually look into the history of the transactions that is available in the network for anyone to see. They will confirm that the person who is sending Bitcoin had sufficient funds in their account historically and generate a specific hash value. This hash value will consist of the record date for the transaction and the miner’s proof of work. Thus making them entitled to a transaction fee (generated from this particular transaction) which is then stored to a specific database format known as the Blockchain.
Now the obvious question arises, “How do you control the supply of Bitcoin?” Well the first rule of Bitcoin is that there can only be a maximum of 21 Million Bitcoins generated. For the record, this number is yet to be achieved. Current trends suggests that this number may be reached by the year 2140 or earlier. The Bitcoin system supports fractional values down the eighth decimal (0.00000001). This smallest unit of Bitcoin is called a Satoshi, named after the individual or group of developers who referred to themselves as Satoshi Nakamoto, who are behind the concept of Bitcoin protocol. The process of new coin generation happens while rewarding miners for validating transactions. The reward amount decreases over time and eventually will be set to zero once the total number of coins issued (21M) has been reached. Similar to the upper limit in maximum number of coins there is also a limit in daily production of new coins. Enabling this limit on how fast and how many new coins can be generated, the Bitcoin system is effectively controlling the money supply.
So what is the future of Bitcoin? Well, that is an interesting question to say the least. The advantages of using Bitcoin are:
No third-party seizure
No transaction costs
No risk of charge-backs
No risk of Bitcoins being stolen
On the other hand the disadvantages of using Bitcoin are:
Bitcoins are not widely accepted
Wallets can be lost
Bitcoin valuation fluctuates
No buyer protection
Risk of unknown technical flaws
Built in deflation
No physical form
No valuation guarantee
The growing number of users by the minute, more and more communities accepting Bitcoin as a payment method, trading of coins becoming a source of income for some and the entire concept has broadened in the past couple of years. We may see more and more countries end up banning cryptocurrencies and at the same time we may also see far greater use of cryptocurrencies that we haven’t yet thought of.
From the Land of the Thunder Dragon to the Land of Golden Fields
By Phurba Wangdi
Like a tiger waiting for its prey, I was awaiting for my flight to Dhaka on 24th of August. A whole new segment of life waiting for me to explore “Golden Bangladesh”. As I waited for my flight, I could feel the adrenaline rush through my veins.
The flight from Paro Intl. Airport to Hazrat Shahjalal Intl. Airport was very short, but it marked a milestone for me as it was my first visit to Bangladesh. It is not the flight that mesmerized me, but the place that I would be living for two months and eight days. Skipping all my flight details and arrival to Dhaka, I will start off with my first day at Southtech Limited.
Southtech is my first workplace and my first job as a programmer. Like a mother’s care, Southtech cared for me during my stay in Dhaka and provided me with the best possible working area. At first, I felt like an alien looking for a work place to explore. Later on, I was surprised with the work environment, where no one is considered as a senior or a junior, but treated as brothers and sisters. It is not your everyday cup of tea to see such a unique working place. Southtech is not like other software companies that I know of. It is not like Google nor Microsoft, but it is on par with those companies. It is not the facilities that makes me say that, but Southtech itself makes me feel different. I always wanted to work for a company, where I would be given necessary attention to help me learn. During my stay there at Southtech Limited, I met people who always helped me in every aspect that I needed to work and learn. That helped me to grow as a developer, as well as a person. Southtech provided everything that a beginner would need to learn about work ethics.
Talking about my boss – I would not call him that but rather a guide who encourages and understands you. He leads the company by working together with all our colleagues. I had never come across a boss talking with his staff individually, but he changed my views on how senior management can be. I can’t get enough words to describe a man who is lot more then my words to begin with.
Bangladesh is indeed golden, for I can find different foods to taste, and explore the culture that I know little of. Except for the traffic, I love Dhaka.
Words cannot describe my gratitude to Southtech. It has provided me with a platform to learn and grow, and they have given me much more then I could have asked for. Learning starts but never ends and that is what Southtech has taught me. It is one of the most essential ethics I have learned as a person; something an employee should have. It’s hard to describe but I know I have grown as a developer and as an individual.
If you ever get to work with Southtech, I would say you are blessed.
3 tips to become a highly successful individual at work and at home
by Syeda Wedad Quader
While there are many qualities and characteristics that make a person successful, there are a few things about association that are sometimes overlooked. Surrounding yourself with the right people both at work and at home can make a world of a difference in the kind of person you become. Being motivated and hard-working sometimes doesn’t make the cut if you’re working with ‘not-so-intelligent’ people.
Though there is no secret formula to success or a definite routine to follow to become successful both personally and professionally, but there are a few things you need to keep in mind.
Associate yourself with smart people – your professional circle and your friend circle should consist of many different people but the one thing that should remain a common denominator is their intelligence. Smart people exude confidence and you get to share ideas with them. You are in a thriving environment with people who think out of the box and push the norms. This only helps you grow and think smart too. Associating yourself with unsmart people can lower your personal goals and limit your potential. Surround yourself with people who stimulate your thoughts and ways of working. Learn from them and teach them too.
Compete with yourself – while competition around you might be fierce, you should always remember to challenge yourself. You should set realistic personal targets because no one knows you more than you know yourself. Others might work 50 hours longer or study double the amount of time you have but it could just be that you are more efficient than them. And even if they do work twice as long, your targets should be your own, because you know what you can take. Setting your targets based on others’ will significantly demotivate you and can even cause you to ‘miss the point’. Success is achieved not by beating someone else but by challenging yourself to excellence first. Understand your own potential, identify your own limits and set your own goals to overcome them.
Do not find companionship with people who backbite or spread lies – spend time on doing productive things. While it is true that you must always find time to relax and unwind, always make sure the time you set away to unwind and relax doesn’t include these things. Also, never confuse networking with gossiping – they are two separate things. Your friends, family, colleagues and acquaintances that you associate yourself with are very important in your life and the kind of people they are can somewhat shape you. Always surround yourself with people who speak the truth and those who constructively criticize. People who constantly see the worst in others will also always see the worst in you. You should associate with people who help you grow and who also teach you to see the good in others.
Associating with smart people can mean you see the world in a different light. They can open your eyes to opportunities and help you overcome problems. Self-assessment is indeed an important key to success. You need to know where you are and where you want to be – you can’t compare yourself with others. You have to be your own person. Participate in constructively criticizing others rather than backbiting about them. Speak the truth and be with those who do the same.
YOUR NEXT IT SOLUTION
by Mahzabin Chowdhury
Marketing and sales hypes are everywhere. In this dynamic technology landscape, we are bombarded and overwhelmed everyday with ample number of IT choices. Selecting a software solution, be it a Financial Solution, Human Resources Solution, Enterprise Resource Planning Solution, Restaurant Management Solution or Point-of Sale software solution, is a challenging task. Unless you are an IT geek, chances are there that you might end up spending a huge amount of money and dig up your own source of frustration.
Generally and traditionally, the selection process starts with a software requirement analysis, Request for Proposal (RFP) and identifying vendors. But does this process help to identify the right solution for you? Not only that, through this process how do you tell which vendor will be trustworthy and provide you with consistent after-sales support and service? It is important to have a game plan to choose your right software as well as the vendor that will work for your venture without breaking your bank. So, how do you sort through all the choices that you are offered to and select your desired IT solution and vendor?
Let’s have a look at the factors to be considered while selecting your next IT solution vendor.
Know your software needs: Before you head out to the marketplace for vendor selection, identify your business challenges. The first step is to nail your real problems. Remember, these are the ones that you truly desire to see resolved and therefore needs to be pinpointed as accurately as possible. A vague set of requirements will only get you a vague solution. Therefore, gather your IT needs as accurately and articulately as possible. Once you have the big picture, you can now narrow your must-have list down and start looking for vendors.
Know your budget: The next related step is to determine your budget for this solution. Always remember that you are paying for solving a real life problem and so you must establish a realistic cost associated with it. Going cheaper would often mean an unreliable solution and/or vendor. On the opposite spectrum, spending more than you need may often translate into procuring something that you may not even need. So, try to accurately predict your budget through looking at your problem areas.
Financial stability, expertise and reputation: When acquiring a software, be it expensive or not, it is mandatory to know that the software company is well-reputed, proficient and financially sound and will be around in the future. You should consider their background and experiences (such as, number of years in the business industry, business trends, a good track record of successful completion of work, adequate staff members with required domain knowledge, credentials and certificates etc.). Client base and word-of-mouth are indicators of vendor reputation and their business strength. You should know the number of clients your vendor has, the size of clients and what other people are saying about your vendor in the industry. Ask your vendor for references, if possible visit their client(s) to get a better understanding of the product.
Good assistance throughout the journey: During the technology partnership, you will be needing a lot of troubleshooting and software assistance. Therefore, know the vendor’s policies and practices regarding maintenance and support service, contract terms, service level agreement, user training, consultation and customization facilities.
Figure out the cost: Concerning the cost, you often hear businesses claim that budget is not a big deal, however, in reality, it becomes one of the prime factors that impacts your procuring decisions. Hidden costs! – always find out what the total cost of procuring will be. Make sure the price on the label is actually the final cost. Get all the necessary details and full cost of the software to get rid of any unwanted hidden and/or additional fees.
Last but not the least, keep an open mind and take your time to select your vendor. Happy hunting!
Solar- powered Smart Phones
by Sourav Saha Ratul
Being an integral part of our lives, Smart phone brings a common problem “battery life crisis”. When you move out of your house for an average of 10-12 hours, you will certainly need to carry your battery charger along with you. But, the problem does not end here. For outdoorsy people, it is not always that easy to find a wall socket, right when your phone’s battery is about to drain out. Seems like the days of running after wall sockets are going to end pretty soon, with the evolution of transparent solar panel technology into the smartphone screens.
Photo source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3465946/Never-run-battery-Kyocera-concept-uses-solar-panels-screen-charge-phone-using-sunlight.html
According to Daily Mail, Japanese electronics manufacturer Kyocera has demonstrated a smartphone prototype, which features a solar panel in the smartphone screens. This solar panel device will add one minute of call time for every three minutes of sunlight charging. A French company SunPartner Group is bringing in these solar panel called Wysips. These solar panels will be less than 0.5 millimeter in thickness and as much as 90% transparent. The sunlight capturing component called Wysips crystal can soak up energy from sunlight. These transparent solar panels will not be an absolute alternative to the conventional charging system, but can provide enough support in emergency situation when there is no charger available.
Collaborative technology: A dream or reality in Bangladesh?
by Syeda Wedad Quader
Having worked abroad for a year and a half, I can easily notice the difference in the adoption of technology in the workplace. The use of collaborative technology, such as video conferencing was a matter of conducting your daily work. Meetings would be held in virtual rooms, personal desktop endpoints with high quality cameras and speakers would allow employees to have meetings, with life size video. If phones rang for too long, calls would be automatically transferred to one’s mobile so no customer call would be missed. Technology was relentless, there was no escape from it.
In Dhaka, technology is seeping in to our daily lives and at work but at a much slower rate. Meetings are sometimes conducted via video conferencing but the cultural norms way heavier than the convenience of meeting via the Internet. It’s customary to physically go meet your clients or ‘important’ people. The general consensus still remains to be that face-to-face meetings are more impactful and lead to more successful follow-ups. This opinion however remains as such because CXO’s and decision makers are yet to experience the true immersive capabilities of collaborative technology.
Even if the bandwidth issues and cost of endpoints and implementations are resolved, the question still remains, are the people in Bangladesh ready to use technology? Not just technology, but collaborative technology that breaks the social and cultural norms that have been developed over centuries. Can we really convince people to evolve into becoming a much faster and efficient workforce with the opportunity cost being that age-old traditions would have to go? Would the ‘important’ people realize that meeting via video wouldn’t make them any less important? Could management trust employees to work from home?
While the idea may seem too far-fetched and ‘change inducing’, there is still hope in Gen Y bringing some more collaborative technology to the workplace. Given that they have had a chance to grow up with more technology than their parents and have been exposed from a younger age, they are likely to expect more technology adoption in the workplace. Younger entrepreneurs in the market place means they are also likely to set up ‘smarter’ work environments, with young and fresh ideas of working. But it doesn’t mean there is no place for older generations in the office. They have had to adapt to changes beyond belief. The fact that they have slowly moved away from pen and paper and are relying on technology means they are also open to change. It may take a bit longer for them to adjust to the change but the change comes, slowly but surely. Experienced professionals in the workplace provides benefits outside of technology adoption. They allow the human element to remain, something we cannot cope without.
Technology Vs Human Touch. We can never think of it that way – they have to work hand in hand. We have no other choice. With traffic being one of this city’s biggest disabilities, where commuters have to spend hours getting to and back from work, there is nothing apart of technology that can pave the way to a greener and efficient country. On the other hand, without technology, we have to work in the confines of our offices, cities and country. We won’t have the chance to work with talented individuals as easily. Technology and people. One should never replace another, a symbiosis must be established.
We cannot stop until we find ways of utilizing our time better. Time is precious, time is money. Our lives should be spent making the world a better place rather than waiting in gridlocked roads questioning our existence.
Les Blues: The Strongest Contender of Euro 2016
by Sourav Saha Ratul
With the Euro 2016 approaching towards the Round of 16, it’s time to make a call for the strongest contender for the title. This Euro 2016 presents us with European super powers like Germany, Spain, Italy, and England. On the other hand some newbies like Wales, Albania, and Iceland who have proved their capability to upset any of these super powers. However, you shouldn’t forget teams like Portugal, Sweden, or Poland. They have big names like Cristiano Ronaldo, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, or Robert Lewandowski. You know they don’t believe in the word “Impossible”! Despite all these super powers, big names, or rising threats, my vote for the strongest contender goes to France.
Automatically qualifying as the host, France always has to be in the conversation when it comes to major competitions, even if they are no longer ‘the team to beat’ after a purple patch that saw them claim both World Cup and Euro glory. France has a respectable record in the Euros, qualifying for every edition of the tournament since failing to feature in the 1988 championships in Germany.
The Les Blues have numerous attacking options and possess talent in abundance across the park. The swashbuckling Paul Pogba in midfield, combined with the dynamism of Blaise Matuidi and Kante is a sight to behold. In attack, Antoine Griezmann is arguably Europe’s most lethal striker at the moment, netting at a prolific rate for club side Atletico Madrid. Dimitri Payet has been a revelation at West Ham and continuing his legacy with two consecutive goals in his two Euro 2016 appearances. He poses a threat from set-pieces as well as on the wing. Don’t forget to keep an eye on youngster Anthony Martial, who has made such impressively free scoring start to the season for Manchester United. Besides they have experienced seniors like Olivier Giroud and Patrice Evra. Besides, these individuals also make a great team, after playing 12 friendlies right before the tournament.
You might have noticed that France is a dangerous side on the counter, but simultaneously like to dominate possession and dictate proceedings on their terms. And like icing on the cake, they are having the advantage of playing on the home grounds. The support from the spectators will definitely lift their spirits up. This advantage also comes with tremendous pressure too, and it is fascinating to see how they are playing with their hearts out.
Just think about it. Wasn’t it amazing to see two stunning goals in last couple of minutes of the game against Albania? To me, the spirit that they demonstrated is the beauty of the game.
What are your thoughts? Who’s the favorite in your eyes?
Question is, will Microsoft gain or lose from its acquisition of LinkedIn?
by Md. Fahim Alam
For Microsoft, big acquisitions have not proved to be very fruitful in the past. It has a long history of unsuccessful purchases that led to massive write-downs, sometimes more than what they actually paid to acquire. Before the recent purchase of LinkedIn, which has many people doubting Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella’s bigger plan, Microsoft decided to take a bite out of Nokia for $7.5 billion. People wondered if they would witness a revolutionary change in the world of smartphones again but much to the Giants’ disappointment, they did not.
The recent $26.2 billion dollar acquisition of LinkedIn by Microsoft has the industry abuzz. Critics have already questioned this move and are already pretty certain this again is a bad move for the tech giant but some have spoken positively, stating Nadella has not wasted his money.
The problem is this – underestimating the real value of LinkedIn. While some think it’s just any other ‘professional networking’ site that hasn’t taken off like Facebook, others think it’s a brilliant tool for those looking for opportunities in the professional world. LinkedIn and Microsoft together will mean people will have more tools on one platform. Connecting and selling will become easier with LinkedIn giving notifications on interests, similar backgrounds, and common connections before meetings. While many will say people already had access to these functionalities, now Dynamics CRM and Sales Navigator can work seamlessly together, providing rich data that is crucial to anyone in sales.
So let’s give Nadella a break. Just because Microsoft hasn’t made the right choices in the past doesn’t mean they’re always doomed for failure in the future. What do you think?
Will Microsoft gain or lose from its acquisition of LinkedIn?