Vitalik Buterin, founder and inventor of Ethereum, the world’s first distributed ledger technology platform to take the technology behind bitcoin mainstream and applicable to almost every industry, arrived in India on the 6th December 2016 in order to address the first ever Blockchain India Summit, which was sponsored by CryptoCarbon (CCRB).
Vitalik addressed an excited crowd at the summit, that took place at the Shangri La Hotel, which was comprised of 150 tech enthusiasts from the likes of Microsoft, Wipro, ConsenSys, TCS, Accenture, Synechron, the National Payments Corporation of India, and several of the world's major bitcoin and blockchain startups.
During the speech, he advocated blockchain technology’s transformative potential to make smart contracts possible in fields such as agricultural markets, education, healthcare, identity-based transactions, microfinance and financial inclusion. "I am excited to see the growing interest in Ethereum and blockchain technologies coming from India; the world is finally waking up to the great potential that the technology has, particularly in emerging markets, and I look forward to seeing developments with the technology grow in the months and years to come”, he stated.
The first ever Blockchain India Summit is timely as it coincides with the ruling BJP’s recent currency-ban fiasco, and illuminates the power of decentralised person-to-person platforms like bitcoin and blockchain, to sidestep the tradition of issuance and supply-control mechanics of fiat currency, and to counter the authoritative control of central banks and governments.
Ms. Arifa Khan, the conference chair, welcomed Vitalik Buterin to India for the first time, and she commented, “It is a rare privilege to be in the midst of an inventor of the stature of Mr. Buterin, with not only an unparalleled mastery of the most exciting technology of our times, Blockchain, but also with a multi-dimensional understanding of the business, economic, political, and legal aspects of his invention. It is humbling to host, interact and learn from a genius of this magnitude in India, who is the toast of the town with central banks, regulators and governments around the world, and can dramatically transform the established ways of working of banking and financial systems everywhere. We will extend every bit of cooperation Vitalik ever needs in India and other emerging markets, to take Ethereum mainstream and to support his research efforts in solving cryptographic challenges", she commented.
Buterin is a keen nurturer of developer communities around the world, and focuses his time on mathematical advances in solving privacy and scalability issues of current blockchain protocols, and to evangelising the work of his non-profit foundation Ethereum around the world.
Mr. Buterin is currently the only known public face in the world of Blockchain, coming after the somewhat elusive and mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto, the Bitcoin fonder, and he has truly captured the public's imagination, with his cryptocurrency Ether being the second most popular after bitcoin and currently valued close to $1 billion, after Bitcoin’s $10 billion valuation. He has overseen several ponderous decisions such as obtaining consensus from investors on effecting a hard fork in Ethereum’s Decentralised Autonomous Organisation (DAO). The hard fork, generally scoffed at by purists of blockchain, was administered for damage control by consensus of investors, when the crypto fund found itself vulnerable to a $50m theft by a hacker.
Mr. Buterin displays giant intellectual capacity, remarkable maturity for his age, acutely sharp intelligence to assess people, and a multi-dimensional grasp of varied complexities of world economy and business - all pointers to a possible Nobel Prize in years and decades to come!
Answering a question from the audience on whether writing smart contracts can ever be made free of gas (the computational fuel required on Ethereum to upload any smart contracts), Vitalik advocated some sort of transaction fees for sending blocks, and also incentives for miners so as to prevent the protocol from being jammed by frivolous computational requests. Every economy has to have self-governing self-sustaining market rules, and the crypto-economy is no different.
Answering questions on how easy it is to create a new cryptocurrency in India, Vitalik said it is simply a matter of copying 50 lines of code, but the challenge is in building the value of the new token, and a circular economy around its acceptance.
The Blockchain India Summit was powered by CryptoCarbon (CCRB), a new cryptocurrency behind loyalty rewards, and the software giant Microsoft, which has introduced their Azure’s Blockchain, as a service platform to ride on the growth wave of Blockchain.
CryptoCarbon is the world's first consumer-oriented cryptocurrency, where issuance is directly proportionate to products and services that are available in return. Users can transfer CryptoCarbon, convert it to BTC or cash through eternal exchanges, or spend it on premium features, products and services offered through the company's cashback and price comparison platform, CCRB.
The Indian bitcoin blockchain enthusiasts present at the event were understandably thrilled and excited to meet Vitalik, with a wealth of unending selfies being taken with the pioneering cryptocurrency entrepreneur, with the inventor graciously and politely obliging each request.
India is eagerly looking forward to more developments from Vitalik and Ethereum in the coming months which they hope to get involved in and become an integral part of.