The adoption of blockchain technology in India is generating significant interest across sectors. Market forecasts point to a 58% CAGR for the sector over the next six years, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi believing it can change the way “we live and work”.
Not Just Bitcoin
Blockchain’s potential applications extend into any transaction that involves value. It uses a network of computers to create an encrypted, decentralised database. Exchanges on the network – the blocks – are verified by each computer and added to the chain of previous transactions. No one can tamper with its data and it eliminates the need for middlemen.
The BFSI sector has been one of the early adopters of blockchain technology in India. A Trade Connect consortium of 14 banks are developing a blockchain platform for loans that back trade transactions. If implemented, lengthy trade finance processes could be completed in less than a day.
Another group of banks called BankChain is collectively solving real-world cases from corporate KYC to cross-border remittance. This would benefit India’s migrant workers, who will be able to bypass high remittance fees on the money they send home. Since it doesn’t require expensive infrastructure to run, blockchain could also help quicken financial inclusion in rural areas.
Agriculture is another sector that stands to gain from the adoption of blockchain technology in India. It can empower smaller farmers and establish a direct link to the customer. For instance, Argentinian farmers sell produce using blockchain. The consumer can view data about the crop and pay securely using cryptocurrency. This would reduce the financial and mental pressure our farmers are under.
With two-thirds of civil cases in Indian courts based on land disputes, verifying land records accurately is a huge problem in India. Using a blockchain solution, governments can easily trace the truth of ownership and view property history. Andhra Pradesh is one of the early adopters of this application, with 1 lakh land registries already secured.
Similar applications can be developed for employee record verification and other databases such as vehicle registrations and credit scores. However, India’s regulatory uncertainty is harming the nascent ecosystem. The recent RBI ban on cryptocurrency has led to independent developers and startups moving operations out of the country.
Blockchain technology ensures accuracy, efficiency and security in virtually any process. Theoretically, anyone with a smartphone and the internet can begin encrypted transactions. It has the potential to disrupt businesses in much the same way the internet did, and with a digital future ahead of us, India cannot ignore the blockchain.