Ether and Ramayana? Coinbase India Head Explains Unique Connection Between Ethereum and Hindu Mythology

Cryptocurrency and Hindu mythologies, at first glance, may not appear to be even remotely related. However, as per Pankaj Gupta, Vice President and site lead at Coinbase India, that might not be the case. Gupta on Tuesday tweeted an interesting thread about what he described as a “totally random connection” between Ethereum and ancient epic Ramayana. Gupta’s thread is specifically about Ethereum and the monkey army, better known in the country as “vaanar-sena.”

In a series of tweets, the former Google Pay India lead wrote that secure one-way hashing is a critical cryptographic primitive. “It takes as input a variable-length byte array and produces a fixed-length, random output,” he said. Gupta then explained that Ethereum uses the hashing algorithm, Keccak-256, where the output is always 256 bits (32 bytes).

Keccak-256 is not just any other algorithm. It is foundational to Ethereum, he said. Giving an example, Gupta added that an Ethereum address is the “rightmost 20 bytes of the keccak hash” of the public key. “The algorithm was proposed by a team of cryptographic researchers called the Keccak Team,” he wrote.

The NIST standard SHA-3 is Keccak with a particular configuration, he said. “Now, cryptographic researchers are somehow used to naming their inventions after dances – Salsa, ChaCha,” Gupta said, adding, “Keccak Hash is named after the Keccak dance of Bali – also pronounced as Kechak.”

Now, you must be wondering where the connection between Ethereum and Ramayana is, right? Read on. 

This Kechak dance performance, according to Gupta, is one of the highlights of anyone’s visit to Bali (Indonesia). “It is a fixture in the Uluwatu temple in southwest Bali,” he said. This dance replays the story of Ramayana in an hour-long performance where most characters represent the “vaanar-sena” chanting “chak”, “chak” throughout as the famous epic unfolds.

Gupta said watching these people perform is quite an experience and suggested that everyone must catch the performance and think about its connection to cryptocurrency. The Coinbase India lead also shared a video from his 2016 visit to Bali where the characters, surrounded by people and tourists, are performing Uluwatu.

Ethereum, the second most popular cryptocurrency in the world after Bitcoin, was trading at Rs 1.78 lakhs, up 3.22 percent as of July 7 (12:57pm IST). Its current market cap is Rs 20.8 trillion.

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