In a recent interview with India Today, Manoj Bhattariya, a doctoral student at the Centre for Computational Science at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (CNSU), spoke about the challenges faced by scholars studying cryptocurrencies, why he’s convinced that they are valuable, and what it would take to make them widely adopted.
“I’m a huge fan of cryptocurrencies, but I am not convinced by their use in academic research,” Bhattaroi said.
“If I wanted to work in a field where I am going to be involved in, I would have to go through a very rigorous process, but as far as I am concerned, cryptocurrencies are not a suitable substitute for a research project.
They are a niche technology, and we need to think differently about the research process and the field.”
Bhattaroin, who is currently working on a paper on cryptocurrencies, told India Today that the only reason he decided on writing his dissertation was because he had to.
“I had been looking at cryptocurrencies as a research tool for years,” he said.
“For the last few years, I have been studying cryptocurrencies from the point of view of the research agenda, not because I wanted some quick buck.”
Bharat Ramakrishnan, a PhD candidate at the CNSU, said cryptocurrencies have some interesting properties.
“Some people are sceptical of them, but they are interesting, and they offer some opportunities to develop technologies,” he told India Times.
Ramakrishan also pointed out that cryptocurrencies are different from traditional finance instruments like bonds or stock markets in that they have no inherent value.
“These are not like money that can be converted into something else like bonds, stocks or other investments.
This is not money that we can borrow from the banks,” he explained.
According to Ramakishan, cryptocurrencies do not have the same value as other types of money.
“You can buy bitcoins in India, and this is exactly what people buy from online platforms like CoinDesk, which has an exchange rate of around 10 to the dollar,” he added.
“There are a lot of people who have invested in these cryptocurrencies, and if they don’t return their investment, they have lost their money.”
Bhataroi, who was working on his dissertation when he realised that cryptocurrencies were being discussed in the same breath with other academic research, said he had not realised how much research was being done on cryptocurrencies.
“There is a lot that is going on in the academic research space, but there are also many academics who are working on blockchain and cryptocurrencies, like me,” he observed.
Now, the research is being done by scholars who have no vested interest in the topic,” he pointed out.”
When I was working in the field, I had to get my research funded.
Now, the research is being done by scholars who have no vested interest in the topic,” he pointed out.
Bhattarayan added that cryptocurrencies, while they are technically useful, have drawbacks.
“For instance, it’s difficult to understand how much a cryptocurrency transaction costs.
When people talk about blockchain and cryptocurrency, they are not really understanding what the cost is.”
The lack of transparency surrounding cryptocurrency transactions, Bhattarpathi added, has led many researchers to write off the technology as a fad.
“They have no idea about the actual costs of using cryptocurrencies.
They just think that the cost will be high, and it will go up in the future,” he claimed.
However, Bhatarayan said he believes that blockchain will ultimately become a powerful technology.
“Blockchain will eventually be the solution for all these problems.
You will never need to write checks or pay taxes to anyone in the world,” he argued.
While many scholars are still sceptical about cryptocurrencies, Battaroi believes that it is only a matter of time before the technology becomes widely adopted in academic settings.
“As we grow, the number of academic scholars will increase, and the adoption of blockchain will grow exponentially,” he stressed.