In 2019, the hype and hoopla surrounding Blockchain have dialed down a bit, awareness about the tech has begun but still is a far cry from being accepted into mainstream businesses. It has taken considerable time for blockchain to break away from the myth of being only a cryptocurrency technology, suitable only for crypto transactions. And still, it has not completely lost that shadow.
On the other hand, the promise and possibility that blockchain presents have left many global economies to adopt and implement them. India is a global emerging economy which cannot be left behind in the blockchain race. A technology that allows for the decentralization of value transaction, make it accessible yet secure, transparent yet tamper-proof and traceable makes Blockchain, an utopian solution for many business verticals.
Unabated adoption of blockchain needs human capital – skilled, competent and exciting to be part of a new paradigm. Aiding this development is EMURGO Academy in India. The education arm of EMURGO, Japan, is set up with a singular vision to bridge the deficit gap in blockchain talent through educational empowerment.
The compelling benefits of blockchain have been a driving factor for its adoption in banking, healthcare industry, pharma, Supply chain management, education, digital identity, logistics, and others.
But there is more to the Indian chapter of Blockchain than what meets the eye.
They are a plethora of opportunities for Blockchain adoption in India, as well as challenges. Overcoming these by creating awareness will be the decider for Blockchain implementation.
Opportunities for Blockchain in India.
- Post demonetization, India has a progressive outlook towards digitization and is aware of the benefits blockchain offers and its potential in good governance.
- The Indian government’s blockchain initiatives are clearly visible through the showcase of many proofs-of-concept demonstrated in the areas of banking, land registry and insurance.
- The Institute for Development and Research in Banking Technology (IDRBT), the technology arm of Reserve Bank of India (RBI), led two PoCs – domestic trade finance letter of credit and enhanced information for payments – by involving banks and technology firms like Infosys and IBM.
- Andhra Pradesh is the first state in the country to introduce blockchain in land records and is also setting up a Blockchain Centre of Excellence to set up the country’s first Blockchain state. Other states like Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, and Rajasthan are following the lead.
Many other Indian players too have become early adopters and have tested concepts in the sectors of trade finance, cross-border payments, supply chain management, digital identity, and loyalty programs.
Before they reached the Proof-of-Concept (PoC) test usage stage, they have met a fair share of challenges.
Challenges for Blockchain adoption in India
Blockchain adoption and initiatives are only concentrated in certain tech-savvy circles, the biggest challenges facing widespread adoption and implementation is,
- The awareness about blockchain is very limited and shrouded by the notoriety of the unregulated cryptocurrency market. Business interested in blockchain could probably set aside an internal team focussed to understand the technology, its impact, and areas of usage.
- Blockchain is considered as a complete technology, that will replace existing techs, this misunderstanding has also been a hindrance in its adoption. People need to comprehend that blockchain is a tech component, that will be integrated with the current system to enable business applications and new approaches. A professional services company has debuted a miniature model of a blockchain framework, to demonstrate blockchain in a practical and tangible manner.
- Blockchain-based financial services are being worked upon. Many Indian banks have started to implement the blockchain ecosystem within their banking system. But, the lack of regulation and a specific regulatory body to bring in standardization and approval for mainstream implementation is another complication.
- Another complexity is in the Integration of the current system with the blockchain and data security during the early stage development.
- Adding to all this is the ban on cryptocurrency in India. Indian blockchain startups raise their funds through ICO ( initial coin offering) rather than through the traditional funding process. The ban on cryptocurrencies has adversely affected, and now startups are moving outside India to raise funding.
Regulation and widespread awareness through purposeful research into Blockchain will only be the way forward to remove these complications.