Bitcoin is an online currency that has been on the radar for many people for the past few years. Renewed interest in the digital currency has come about though this January 2021 as the online coin’s value has skyrocketed into the new year, and peaked at just over $52,000 Australian Dollars on the 8th January 2021.
There are many speculations for the reasons behind the niche currency’s sudden peak, but rapid increases and decreases in the value of the online coin are not new. Other notable peaks occurred in 2013 and again in 2017, when Bitcoin’s price went from $5,000 USD to $10,000 USD in a matter of months.
Jump to 2021 and Bitcoin’s surging popularity has seen a meteoric 40% rise in 2021, quadrupling its value for the same quarter last year. Prices rose steadily into early January before starting a predictable steady and continuing deterioration in price.
Bitcoin dates back to 2008, when it was supposedly invented by Satoshi Nakamoto – a mysterious and as yet unconfirmed figure. The software was released at open-source in early 2009 in a transaction that took place a prearranged exchange between Nakamoto and an early Bitcoin user.
Papa John’s pizza chain in the USA was the first business to receive a real world transaction of Bitcoin in 2010. A Bitcoin miner chose to spend 10,000 bitcoins on a pizza in Florida – a transaction that would now make the pizza worth roughly $460,000,000 AUD.
At its origin the digital currency was worth less than $0.01 USD a coin at its conception at the beginning of 2010, only reaching $0.08 USD per coin in July. The value of the coin comes from its scarcity as only 21 million Bitcoins will ever be allowed to be mine. As of January 2021 there are just under 3 million coins left to mine meaning roughly 88% percent of all Bitcoins available are currently in circulation.
An online tech company, Better Examinations, has seen a massive boost in their profile and usage this exam season. The company hosts software that has enabled thousands of students in Australia and around the world to take examinations at home. The site, Better Examinations, is desirable for educational institutions as it allows multiple students to be monitored taking the test at the same time. All students require in order to join the examination is a stable internet connection and laptop or desktop connected to a webcam. The slightly Foucauldian-esque eye of the webcam and knowledge of the student that they are being watched are thought controls enough to prevent any unusual increase in test cheating.
How does it work?
The software uses an advanced form of artificial intelligence called machine learning, or ML, to keep watch for patterns in participants’ behaviours that could suggest cheating. Before the exam, facial recognition software is used to ensure the identity of the candidate is correct. During the exam, the software temporarily disables or fully restricts access to the internet, as well as any specified applications on an individual’s computer. The software also contains technology that allows it to mark the answers to multiple choice and Mathematics exams automatically.
A boost from the coronavirus
With millions of students at home from the ongoing coronavirus global pandemic, the company saw a much increased demand in their services in April and May this year. Piero Tintori who runs the company said: “We had 60 organisations from all over the world contact us out of the blue, who wanted to run exams online in May and June.” The demand, he went on to describe has been “everything from universities, to professional organisations, to schools”, and even five country’s governments that he declined to name. With the dreaded second wave occurring current across North America and Europe especially, it’s likely the company’s good fortune will continue.