Last month a 16-year old girl from India created a digital currency price ticker that tracks the price of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin cash, ethereum, and many others. However, when Harshita Arora introduced the iOS application to members of the bitcoin community who patronize the Reddit forum /r/bitcoin, she was accused of plagiarizing the app. Unfortunately, even though the accusations were false, Arora was further discriminated for being a woman, while commenters also speculated that an individual at her age couldn’t possibly create an iOS platform.
This week news.Bitcoin.com spoke with, Harshita Arora, a 16-year old girl who developed the Crypto Price Tracker application for iPhones. Arora explains she lives in a small town just outside of New Delhi in India and she’s a big fan of technology. Arora has been studying computer science, and was accepted to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for a summer internship. Arora decided to make a cryptocurrency price tracking app for iOS and announced the launch of the project on January 28.
However, when she announced the app herself on the forum /r/bitcoin, she was greeted by a mob of people who didn’t believe she created the app. One critic wrote a blog post detailing that the app was plagiarized although the story was later revealed as false. Most of the criticism came from the fact Arora hired help to do some of the backend coding on the Crypto Price Tracker. But following the accusations /r/bitcoin patrons started harassing Arora for being young and a wrote hateful and sexist comments to her. News.Bitcoin.com chatted with Arora to hear how she got into coding and cryptocurrencies but more importantly how she dealt with the issues she faced launching the platform.
Harshita Apps: How This Young Woman Overcame False Accusations and Attacks from Redditors
News.Bitcoin.com (BC): Can you tell our readers how you got into coding applications?
I got into technology at first because of my CS teacher at school. He’d assign really interesting projects to play with design software, Google Scratch, and the MIT App Inventor so we could learn programming concepts and start building fun programs and software. He planted the seed that eventually made me more interested. I then invested my time in programming and building things. I learned iOS app development in Swift around 2017 after I came back from MIT summer program. After working on an iOS app, at the university with a team, and learning from my friends.
BC: What got you into bitcoin and cryptocurrencies?
The first time I heard about cryptocurrencies was in 2016, in a tech magazine I used to read every month (Digit). I learned about Bitcoin mining and understood some basic underlying technology and cryptography.
And then in 2017, cryptos and bitcoin was all over my Facebook feed and Quora. So I started getting more curious and read up more online.
BC: What made you decide to develop the Crypto Price Tracker?
I’ve written a bit here in this article. In short, it was because of frustration from using horribly-designed apps that made it extremely hard for me to keep up to date with prices. And being a designer and maker at heart, I couldn’t stop myself from designing a new app with a better UI and UX.
BC: When you introduced the application to the Reddit (bitcoin) community there were a lot of negative people saying mean things. Why do you think that happened?
Well, when I first introduced the app on the launch day (28th Jan), it got a lot of positive reaction. This was the thread. I got a lot of positive feedback on the app and how I could improve it further. I saw a lot of my traffic (in iTunes Connect App Analytics) came from Reddit. And I read four 5 star reviews mentioning that they came from Reddit. One of them even said, “I came here from Reddit, and I was not disappointed.”
But a woman decrypted my app on a jailbroken iPhone and wrote an angry blog post accusing me of plagiarizing the app based on inconclusive evidence. She posted it on Reddit, and that’s where it went viral and invited a lot of abuse and hatred.
BC: Do you think your age had anything to do with the criticism?
Likely, but I’m not sure. I’ve been thinking about it based on the patterns in the comments. There were quite a lot of sexist, racist, and ageist remarks by some abusers. Not sure if any of that was the sole reason people criticised me and my app. But it could be a strong reason because *some* people have a hard time believing that there are teen entrepreneurs and developers out there.
BC: Do you think this type of behavior may be only particular to the Reddit bitcoin crowd? — as in — Do you have confidence the bitcoin community overall is far friendlier?
After the article on The Daily Beast was published, I got an overwhelming amount of positive emails and messages from supporters in the bitcoin and crypto community.
People emphasized to me and understood what I had to go through. It might be just r/bitcoin that was nasty to me – but again, I’m not too sure.
BC: Are you a bitcoin holder or own any other cryptocurrencies?
No, I don’t invest in bitcoin or other cryptos. I’m much more interested in the technology more so than the economics. I think people have been treating cryptos wrongly as an asset to invest in and to make quick money with.
BC: Where you live do any of your peers or classmates know much about bitcoin and cryptocurrencies? Maybe classmates or friends?
I live in a small town in North India. All of my friends use the Internet regularly. My closest friends know about bitcoin and are actually building applications for bitcoin and cryptos. I tend to spend most of my friend time with other nerds. As for classmates, I do not go to school. I left formal schooling in 2016.
What do you think about the Crypto Price Tracker app? What do you think about the issues Harshita Arora dealt with? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Images via Shutterstock, The Crypto Price Tracker, Harshita Arora, and Twitter.