Cryptography Club Decodes Technology

By Jasper Li ’19

Ever wonder about the mysteries behind cryptocurrencies and their erratic price changes throughout the past years? The Cryptography club will have the answers for all of your questions regarding cryptography and other related topics.

“Our mission, like most other clubs, is to inform Midwood students of this powerful technology around them,” said Kareem Ibrahim ‘18, president of the cryptography club. “I think it’s important for people to understand this technology around them and understand its usability.”

Ibrahim interned at Consensys, a firm that creates and manages applications on a popular cryptocurrency network, Ethereum.

“My friends and I love this subject so we decided to give this knowledge to others, so we made a club,” said Ibrahim.

Cryptography is simply the art of writing or solving codes, but it also includes the studying of techniques for more secure communication. Cryptography allows users to protect their information by converting it into a safer format. “Why does cryptography matter at all?” you might ask. It is important to us all because it focuses on keeping private conversations completely private from third party programs, otherwise known as “adversaries”.        

The club is accessible to all students, regardless of their knowledge involving cryptography. The main goal of the club is not just to inform members about cryptocurrencies, it is also to ensure that members understand how their lives are affected by the general topic of cryptography.

“We talk about topics that no other clubs talk about, which are cryptocurrencies, cryptography, and their applications,” said Ibrahim. “I know it may not appeal to everyone, but it is an important topic which those who are interested in should pursue.”

The discussions are usually comprised of two topics: the economics and technology behind cryptography and cryptocurrency.

“After joining the club, I got more interested in how technology works, economics, and cryptography overall,” said Anthony Chen ‘18.

The club discussions, typically led by Daniel Shamialov ‘18, vice president of the Cryptography club,

include a lot of accountable talk. Members huddle together near their room’s smartboard and consistently contribute to the discussion by developing and building on each other’s ideas while also asking critical questions.

“Take two dollar bills, what is different about them? If one was used for an illegal purchase, does it have any less value?” said Shamialov. “Even if you might not have a problem with where your money has been, the government might.”

The discussions are usually comprised of two topics: the economics and technology behind cryptography and cryptocurrency. Students also discuss real world situations such as money laundering and how it connects to the concept of cryptocurrencies.

“Here you learn what gives cryptocurrencies, and even all currencies, like the dollar, its value,” said Ibrahim. “You also get an inside look as to how cryptography ensures your safety when you browse the internet.”

Although the club is currently comprised primarily of seniors and a junior, it is easy to acquaint with the members as they welcome new people all the time.

“The environment is really friendly,” said Arvin Wang ‘19. “Almost no one is left out and everyone is always interacting with each other.”

The club also features live demonstrations. Shamialov shows live changes in cryptocurrency prices while Ibrahim demonstrates the developing process.

The club can be found in room 302 during 10th period every Thursday.

Kareem Ibrahim ’18 contributed to the article.

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