Bitcoin boom and my Twitter bot.

I am sure you heard the name of Bitcoin (BTC) in the news recently, or some of you must be actively following the currency or even trading right now. Trust me, the last time I heard about Bitcoin was when in college. It was just introduced then. And then only few weeks ago.

For a person like me who has never traded stocks or currencies in life, it is a whole new world. And more importantly a whole new world of opportunities. Over the last couple of weeks I have spent a lot of hours trying to figure the Bitcoin frenzy and also read up on other crypto-currencies in the market. I started putting in some money into the market to test waters and right now I have invested a small amount in some of these currencies. Not just that, I started another twitter project and explored new software. All thanks to the magical growth in crypto-currencies.

Just a couple of weeks ago, my friends were talking about how 1 BTC grew from 2.5 lakhs INR to almost 3.5 lakhs INR in a week and that it is  worth investing. I being a normal individual who thinks trading comes with its own risks, did not show much interest and ignored the news. Couple of days later, on the Nov 1st, BTC grew by 70-80k in front of my eyes. I just could not believe it happened. That is when I decided to spend more time on crypto-currencies.

What is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin
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At a very high level, Bitcoin (BTC) is another currency just like INR, USD etc. What differentiates bitcoin from other currencies though, are the following –

  • Virtual currency – BTC is not real printed money. It is a quantity stored in alphanumeric ID digital wallets (like 1GTVRgn2X3G1mLAGyzAZMCCUEigDW7bzk).
  • Circulation – Unlike normal currency, the overall planned circulation of BTC is 21 million coins. No less, No more.
  • Governance – BTC is the first (popular) decentralized currency that is not issued by a government bank. All the transactions are tracked and validated using block chain (shared public ledger).

Bitcoin has multiple advantage over regular currency and its adoption has grown significantly in the year 2017. Crypto-currency is expected to become more main stream and an acceptable currency for multiple payment gateways in the coming future. There are already a lot of online stores that accept bitcoins. Another alternative currency – Litecoin – has ATMs where you can withdraw your coins.

My Twitter bot – TweetBitcoins

Everything that is mainstream news gets popular very quickly. Things get escalated fast and I wanted to be in the mix of it. I was evaluating different things that I could do – starting from trading coins to twitter bot to writing this blog post. I thought creating a space for myself on twitter could be a good way to start. Without any delay, I started reading up on twitter APIs and how to automate a twitter handle. I followed this blog to get started and created a new twitter account TweetBitcoins. A simple tweepy library on python that can pull and push information from twitter. I chalked down a three pronged approach and brought it live about 10 days ago. The three being –

  1. Content creation – I pulled some BTC live rates from couple of exchanges (using their public APIs) and pushed tweets every one hour. One sample looks like this –

  2. Retweets – I also put in a search query to pull current tweets with hashtags #bitcoin #litecoin #ethereum and retweeted some of these every few minutes.
  3. Followers – And the last was to follow some users who regularly tweet about these related coins. Again using search queries and APIs.

Along with the above, I also push some latest news from RSS feeds of some  bitcoin news websites using IFTTT. So with 3 simple python scripts –  I was able to tweet, retweet and follow new users within the context. Bingo! My first twitter bot is ready and kicking. Within 10 days, the twitter handle hit 1000 followers and is still going strong. I have also explored few other tech like Influx DB, Grafana to store data and create live graphs in this process.

In summary, something new in the world is something new to learn. I did a lot of “First in my life” things in the last couple of weeks and I just wanted to share all of this with you people. I hope you read something new today.

PS: While I write and review this post, bitcoin prices have crashed drastically and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) grew four times in two days.

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