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EcoAvenue: Bringing Out the Inner Penny Pitcher

From perpetual money worries to the significant rise in the value of bitcoins—ESOM’s EcoAvenue addressed it all. Taking place in the Library Auditorium, the event was predominantly occupied by enthusiastic first years with an interest in economics. The excitement in the crowd was palpable as the first speaker, Abhilekh Tripathy, took the stage.

Abhilekh explained that he had had a fascination with numbers since an early age. He was intrigued by his uncle- a stock trader- and his work. In 2010, he decided to bet on the IPL match between Chennai Super Kings and Kings XI Punjab. Although he won ₹ 25,000 on that wager, he lost the entire sum while betting on subsequent IPL matches. When he later confessed this to his uncle, he was advised not to try to make money illegally. This series of events made him desire an opportunity to develop his money-making skills the right way. He made 7 lakh rupees during his time in college and 6 lakhs after dropping out, to pay for a patent to protect the idea for a company he wanted to make. But obtaining such a huge sum of money was a laborious task in itself. From sleeping on the Chennai railway station’s dingy platforms for two days to lying to his parents about his whereabouts— Abhilekh has seen it all.

Abhilekh Tripathy addressing the audience.

In his speech, he stressed upon networking and it’s importance for entrepreneurs. Emphasizing the need to develop online communication skills, he encouraged the audience to be active on LinkedIn and Facebook as well. He added that networking can help one bring home the bacon by opening up numerous job opportunities and other collaborations.

His speech was followed by a question and answer session. A question regarding Amazon’s success over Flipkart in India especially interested the crowd. Citing examples like Amazon Go and Alexa, he said that such visionary undertakings by Amazon had prompted a wave of innovation in the company, whereas Flipkart only told its employees to keep improving the sales. They weren’t given a platform to let their freak flags fly.

After Abhilekh’s session ended, Kartik Mandaville took the stage by storm. The Carnegie Mellon graduate spoke of Bitcoin and how its unexpected rise in value came as a surprise to most investors. Bitcoin, as he explained, is a digital currency that uses encryption to create and manage the exchange of funds.

After this, he introduced the audience to the realm of Blockchain— a technology extensively used for bitcoin transactions, among other things. He explained how it works by citing a written examination. The grades allotted in an exam can be changed by getting access to the examination records. But by using Blockchain, the grade would be an immediate function of the content of the paper. So to tamper with the results, a person would have to change the content in a way that the algorithm wouldn’t be able to detect. The likelihood of this happening is incredibly low.

Karthik Mandaville explaining the working of Blockchain.

On the topic of land scams in Andhra Pradesh, he talked about how handwritten land records are often tampered with and hardworking farmers lose their land. The Andhra government has attempted to overcome this issue by implementing Blockchain for land records.

He also named a few companies that use Blockchain and elaborated upon their work and technicalities. For instance, Filecoin is a distributed cloud storage company. It saves the files on the customers’ computers rather than in one big server. The data saved on each computer is so little that it is hardly noticeable. Altocar is another example. It is similar to Ola and Uber but works on Blockchain. The payment takes place only between the user and the driver without any interference by the company.

The event came to an end with the Q&A session, where the audience got the chance to pick the brains of these successful personalities and delve deeper into the concepts of Blockchain. The event was an unquestionable success, as was apparent by the excited chatter of the crowd as it slowly exited the auditorium, mentions of Bitcoin and Blockchain dominating the conversation.

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