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A world without Bitcoins will soon be unimaginable

Sibi Arasu | Updated on September 19, 2014

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A bestselling author on the future of finances and churning out a novel a year

Ravi Subramanian is a banker by profession and a bestselling author by passion. His latest book God is a Gamer moves from Washington DC to Delhi and spins a tight yarn around Bitcoins — the currency of the future — and its potential.

Is your latest book the world’s first Bitcoin thriller?

When I sent the manuscript to my publisher, I was told that while there were many books on Bitcoins, there hasn’t been a single thriller. Though it was not intended, God is a Gamer turned out to be a trendsetter in more ways than one. To me, the world of Bitcoins is an ideal backdrop for a thriller. Anonymity, frauds, hacking, internet, virtual currency, assassinations, upheavals… can you think of a better environment for a thriller? When I read about WikiLeaks taking on the might of the American administration using Bitcoins in 2011, my mind was made up. A thriller, with Bitcoin as the backdrop, had to be written.

What is the scope for the currency in the coming years?

Bitcoin as a concept is fabulous. Satoshi Nakamoto, its elusive founder, will be thrilled at the way it has caught on. Right now, it’s all about the dark side of the virtual currency but that’s because scandals make for good reading. If you look beyond the conspiracy theories, there lies a concept which holds enormous potential — the capability to redefine the way we deal with money. Is it perfect? No. Can it be improved? Certainly. Bitcoins, or for that matter, an improved form of a virtual currency is the future. It’s at a stage of evolution where the internet was 10 years ago. Five years hence, a world without Bitcoins will be unimaginable. They will put large financial corporations out of business. It is my belief that, with or without them, virtual currency will take shape.

Is writing one book a year a conscious decision?

If I had a choice, and the time, I would write more than one book a year. In the genre I write in, there is a shortage of good books. All the popular authors, be it John Grisham, Jeffrey Archer, David Baldacci or James Patterson, bring out a book or more every year. A book a year is bare minimum for me. That too is a compromise, for it is extremely difficult to keep my day job and write.

What is the least common denominator between Chetan Bhagat, Amish Tripathi, Ravinder Singh and Ravi Subramanian?

They are all successful authors who have made their mark in the Indian market — some are obviously more successful than the rest. The only thing I can say about all these authors is that they are extremely well-connected with their readers. They are not ashamed of standing up and marketing their books. They write with enthusiasm and market with a passion. Strangely, they are all MBAs and most of them are bankers, two facts that have had minimal impact on their success. As far as the least common denominators are concerned, would you ever ask that about Amitav Ghosh, Vikram Seth and Kiran Desai? Probably not, for all of them are different. Then why ask this in the context of commercial authors.

What is the common ground between banking and a thriller?

They are completely synonymous worlds. From the outside banking seems boring. But it’s not so, it’s an exciting world out there. Let me twist the question around and ask you what would it take to write a great thriller?

People, relationships, sleaze, murder, crime, fraud, money etc. Which of these is not there in a bank today? I believe, to write a corporate thriller, there can’t be a better backdrop than a bank.

Published on September 19, 2014

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