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INTERVIEW | Aman Sanduja

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DTU Times interviewed Aman Sanduja, founder of TowardsBlockchain, who was invited as a speaker at TEDxDTU'19.

A blockchain has the potential to disrupt the world just like the Internet did at one time. It may even digitize the national currency. Why do you think so?

A blockchain isn’t necessarily a replacement, its meant for ease of access alongside security. We can curb inflation. Digital assets like a cryptocurrency don’t require printing presses to be issued. A distributed, decentralized ledger reduces administrative costs and allows for an easy investing and storing mechanism.

We are getting stuck in a vicious cycle of trusting the centralized systems. Digital assets and currencies can exist hand in hand. Now the big question is 'Can Bitcoin act as a payment mechanism? Can it store value?’ Probably, yes it can. I haven’t been to a bank in the past year. My dad used to take a day off to go to the bank. Things are changing and becoming more digitized, but when things become digitized, there's an underlying question which comes up. The question of trust. You need to trust someone who is reliable and will not play with the services you have asked for. Digital assets have the ability to bring about a prosperity evolution to the economy of a country.

Even at the atomic level, electrons exist with protons and neutrons. So, I see that a combination of blockchain, IoT and AI will play a crucial role to boost the economy. Ten years back my uncle used to transfer money from India to the US. There was a huge cost to it, nowadays cryptocurrencies can solve that problem. You can’t remit money on Sunday mornings.

Recently decentralized cryptocurrencies have become a big question mark, and Bitcoin remains illegal in many countries. How do you think this looks for the cryptocurrency market?

If we analyse Nirav Modi’s case: he took a lot of money and ran away. Many families got affected by the demonetization movement. Till date, identities of millions are compromised on a daily basis, and bank credentials can be only a few intelligent clicks away. We have seen it in many cases like that of Mariott and Facebook, to name a few. Trust among the people is slowly built, there is no shortcut in this aspect, and there should not be any as well. When the Wright brothers invented the flying machine, do you think anyone volunteered to go flying on it? Certainly not. When a new technology, that is potentially revolutionary, comes along people are usually hesitant to go along with it.

What would your message be to fellow engineers?

If you do not make machines more intelligent, machines will make you slaves. Do not fear that machines will replace you, there always will be different opportunities that machines are unable to perform. Machines don't have emotions, and they can’t think. Of course, they are more efficient since they have the ability to work all the time. 

Message for all the fellow engineers, do not get stuck in a brick and mortar routine. Do not believe that getting a job is the only aim in life. Explore emerging technologies like blockchain, AI and IoT. The best way to explore is to educate yourself with the fundamentals. Have the power of unlearning, because the moment you start unlearning, the real learning begins and becomes more enjoyable. Age doesn't matter, the new generation definitely has the potential to leave behind the old technology’s trajectory and have a major impact on the Indian economy. Do not settle, keep on unlearning and learning.

Posted by Shrey Padhi

Imagination is the strongest power of humankind. It carries us to a much distant world, some place unexplored, but without it, we progress nowhere.