andrewdroll.com

Bitcoin, and action

Today I was given a challenge. A friend arranged for me a meeting with the CTO of a prominent tech start-up in Ottawa. Without revealing details, the meeting was enlightening and inspiring. The challenge given was this: To write a detailed blog about Bitcoin's current status; in particular, to analyze its security features and to examine its inherent potential for fraud and problems associated with reverses of Bitcoin payments.

The idea behind the challenge is this: For the last year and a half or so, I have been looking for a job in government or industry. I have done some teaching, tutoring, and part-time tech work during this time, as well as traveling fairly extensively. There was also a promising stretch, during which I went through clearance for a government research position. However, when it comes down to it, I am still in the same position today - looking for a hook to land me a job in industry.

I have a strong academic background, and I've done cutting-edge research in multiple, varied fields. This, along with at least decent written and verbal communication skills, is my primary strength as a job seeker in a tangible sense. I also have strong passions for talking about and thinking about ideas, for problem solving, and for teaching, which may help me sell myself in the job market - but these are not representative of tangible accomplishments.

And so appear my two biggest problems in terms of an industry job search:

1) My tangible accomplishments, and my specialization to date, are in extremely abstract fields, or in fields whose connection to practical business problems is not obvious. I may have done research on the Riemann hypothesis and on Higgs bosons, but those things do not mean anything to any prospective employer outside academia (or perhaps high level government research).

2) I think too much, and act too little. I spend a lot of time thinking about things I can do to help find a job - applying on different websites, talking to different people, finding interim positions to fill in my resume with experience, and so on. I do not act on enough of these ideas, and when I do, it is not aggressively enough.

And so this challenge, to explore Bitcoin, starts to address both of these problems.

  • First, it will hopefully result in tangible understanding of a technology and dynamic that is new and extremely relevant to the present world of business and e-commerce. I will apply my analytical abilities and love of problems and ideas to produce results that potential employers will understand.
  • Second, it will be a move to action - to learning about something that I didn't know about before, to producing content, and to engaging with the world. Both figuring out the mechanics of Bitcoin and blogging about them in an intelligent way will help to accomplish this goal.


So what should you expect from this blog over the next few weeks?

An iterative analysis of my understanding of Bitcoin, especially from a security perspective, and from the perspective of handling reversed charges and fraud.

My starting point is very simple:

  • I know that Bitcoin is an online currency solution that a lot of people are excited about.
  • I do not know anything about its standards or implementation.


I don't know where my investigation will lead. I look forward to finding out. Thank you to anyone who has stuck around to read my first blog post. On y va!