We are living in a world in transition, where radically new technologies that older generation can’t fathom seem to be emerging every second day. As these technologies show huge potential to improve how we live, young people across the world are getting impatient with the slowness of implementation of concepts like crypto-currency or block-chain that they feel reflect the spirit of new age freedom that they cherish.

There is no doubt that a lot of resistance faced by these technologies is because of the ignorance, and resulting fear of unknown, that old people have. But, unfortunately, the nature of these technologies is so alien that their assimilation through educating the older generation to trust and accept them looks highly unlikely. So, it looks to be a long drawn out process before they can really become mainstream modes of transaction. As young people can sense the resistance, they are now getting frustrated.

One dangerous side-effect of this frustration is a rebound love that youth is showing for the idea of crypto-currency. Writing a word against it invites ire of youth that looks at it as a key to freedom from oppressive systems like nations and governments.

This rebound love that youth has bestowed upon currencies like bitcoins has resulted in them gaining empowerment as instruments of transaction a bit too quickly. As they have not gone through due diligence that such an instrument must get before collective acceptance, there is a strong possibility that we are heading for troubled time ahead.

As crypto-currencies are just entering the chaotic world of human transactions, the biggest problem ahead is making them work for transaction between two real human beings made from flesh and blood living in the real world. And, a news item from Gujarat throws up an interesting question.

A builder from Gujarat has recently alleged that he was kidnapped by a policeman and was forced to part with crores of rupees worth of Bitcoins under duress. While the truthfulness of the allegations are subject to investigation and judicial process, they point out what is physically possible when a cyber-currency is stored in intangible form over a network beyond statutory control and can be transferred by mere ratification of a password.

So, Bitcoin may grant freedom from sovereign ratification of ownership, it also comes with an inherent weakness that allows stealing of humungous amount of wealth by brute force and fear. For anyone desirous of extracting crores of rupees by inducing physical fear in past, the process was fraught with risks as it would have demanded handling of inconveniently large amount of physical currency or gold or a banking transfer trail.

If crypto-currency becomes main-stream, it may take just couple of minutes of time, a weapon and a mobile with network connectivity to transfer limitless amount of wealth between two individuals. As the core charm of crypto-currency is freedom from institutional sovereign ratification, such a forced loss of wealth by an individual will also be devoid of sovereign protection without violating what it stands for.

Even if the allegations made are proven to be false, the case highlights one of the many practical problems that will emerge as crypto-currency is put to the test of real world. The conventional model of transaction through various instruments backed by sovereign ratification has evolved through a process that has passed through test of real transactions. Its features that may appear limiting from the perspective of youth that find institutions to be confining, but discounting existing currency models overnight for the sake of freedom has potential to be disastrous.

Even if crypto-currencies are the future, they will have to go through a lot of ironing out of chinks before they can be fully trusted to be instruments of transaction. There is a strong possibility that, once the shin of novelty wears off, and all practical problems linked with them are solved, they may end up looking just like other existing forms of currency.

In the world where humans exist through bodies that can be physically threatened, and where greed remains an innate force driving them, any new form of currency that is invented will need to find a solution that deals with forced transaction. At this point, even the conventional cyber-transactions validated by institutional authorities are not secure enough to be fully trusted to run our economies; so, the emerging chant in favour of crypto-currencies appears to be immature.

Even if young people can foresee that crypto-currency is the inevitable future, they must realise that it must pass through a process of evolution. The emotional connect that links it with freedom from authorities isn’t justification enough for it to replace existing modes of transactions. Wealth and ownership are the most serious social conventions that can’t be risked for the sake of love for freedom stemming from hate for authorities.

I am happy to admit that I have managed surviving till now with minimum effort as all my intellect has be used to avoid doing anything meaningful. As I needed to while all the free time I generated in course of being lazy, science has been my favorite muse that I have enjoyed company of. As an effort to kill time (in a way, to get even with it) one fine day I decided to write a science column, more for my personal amusement than to attract readers. After getting educated about the attention span of modern readers from my editor, it became more like a challenge to tackle esoteric subjects in 600 words that I have managed to remain interested in for more than a year now. I do not want to add my worldly profile here as these are ideas that need to be considered only on the merits they carry and not as an opinion of a certain human being.

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