Technology today is pushing the boundaries of human possibility, accelerating social and financial inclusion, and making the planet healthier. We are increasingly realizing the impact of emerging technologies in improving the daily functions of our lives.
The latest and most-discussed sensation is Blockchain. While several people associate this fascinating technology only with Bitcoin, Ethereum, and cryptocurrencies in general, in reality, it is so much more.
India has had a tumultuous relationship with digital assets in particular and leadership took its time to come to terms with what Blockchain has to offer. Upon exploration, it became clear that distributed ledger technology (DLT) is massively beneficial for accelerated decentralized finance, improving supply chain management, whipping into shape the voting procedures, eliminating the shortcomings of the telecom industry, and much more- all while ensuring utmost data safety.
As per a report by Cross Tower and Us-India Strategic Par Partnership Forum, Blockchain and Web 3.0 innovations shall result in a $1.1 Trillion contribution to India’s GDP over the next 11 years.
Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of Blockchain is that the progress we see to date is just the tip of the iceberg- as adoption increases and policies are rolled out, it shall find multiple use cases across all sectors, especially in a developing country like India.
Global Talent Exchange organized a virtual roundtable discussion on “Blockchain - The India opportunity to unlock value” as part of our Technology Gamechangers Series. We intended to bring together thought leaders critical to the growth of this disruptive technology within our country to discuss the wide range of opportunities and possibly daunting challenges they see in the way of widescale adoption.
The session was moderated by Raj Kapoor, Founder of the India Blockchain Alliance, the largest Indian emerging technology tech think tank, and an Advisory Board Member at over 20 blockchain companies including, Floyx, Spherium, and XxTripz. As a global Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, and FinTech educator, he has helped organize India’s biggest Blockchain events across major cities and has spoken at several international seminars and conferences worldwide.
The panel consisted of 8 experts from companies that are defining the growth of Blockchain within the country. They engaged with GTX’s Co-Founder Avinash Bichali during the two-hour session to discuss how India is planning its road to a transformed ecology.
All the leaders were enthused about the use cases and opportunities that Blockchain presents. As a panelist pointed out, smart contracts aim to automate contractual processes, bring in efficiency, and enhanced decentralization, which can overcome the problems we face in four categories:
Time of run
Cost of run
Most importantly, Blockchain will involve the end user in the processes- a critical aspect that has been missing till now.
Mr. Kapoor went on to pose an important question before the panel: Will the country’s policies include smart contracts in the near future?
There were a range of responses- a similar pattern that was noted was that although the policies are expanding and evolving to incorporate this emerging technology, the pace must increase rapidly if India is to establish itself as a major player internationally. The panelists agreed that authentication, agnostic, and payment structures need refreshing, all while cleverly taking account of the challenges that will inevitably come about with an increase in decentralization.
The experts reckon that India is headed in the right direction. Enterprise blockchain is shaping up powerfully, enabling massive investments and working to bridge the trust gap with the users.
Several leaders felt that it was necessary to stop to identify the use cases so efforts can be focused. While we do lack a regulatory climate as of now, it can be argued that the best minds are working for it. The government must step up as a convenor- to bring consortium partners together- and as an ecosystem developer- by closely coordinating with the state governments and companies.
India’s Blockchain story is unique in itself. The country is planning for a digital currency- which shall be a great initiative, open up doors for the banking and financial sector, and enhance adoption.
A panelist also voiced the need for global action- countries must come together to create a regulatory framework that shall act as a standard for all.
The thought leaders agreed upon the urgent need of building up awareness within the community. This can be done via seminars, webinars, and workshops and by incorporating this information at the University level as well. Organizations must set aside time and resources to train their team about Blockchain and how they shall be expected to use it- and most importantly, why they should use it.
The community must be motivated and a standard for interoperability must be devised via a super-cluster approach that combines tech, users, and academia.
Blockchain has a massive social impact as well- it can help in distributing government subsidies fairly, prevent fraud, improve education, and more.
Moreover, organizations must get together to create a whitepaper with all the challenges, opportunities, ideas, and asks from the government in order to have a focused conversation and differentiate between what the lawmakers can help with and what needs to take its due course.
For any emerging technology, the drivers must have an arsenal of skilled and experienced talent. Unfortunately, India does not have a broad enough talent pool at the moment. The market demand is immense, but the availability is shockingly low. If India wants to scale fast, organizations must look beyond the border to bring in the talent we lack locally.
All in all, the session effectively covered a broad range of topics- from the use cases to the opportunities and challenges we are presented with.
Indeed, Blockchain shall be a major catalyst to revamp the governance processes to build a system that is increasingly efficient and transparent and fairly involves the end users when required as well.