Blockchain in India – January’19 to March’19

Blockchain in India - Jan2019 to Mar2019

We have already crossed the first three months of the English calendar in 2019. No doubt, the frenzy around blockchain continues to grow as more and more platforms, products and use cases emerge.

Blockchain in India in 2019

This blog post is more of a report on what happened in the blockchain sector in India. The report takes a look at major events, announcements and success stories that are sure to make a mark in the blockchain journey of India.

The IT and digital transformation industry is witnessing exponential growth in the use of cutting-edge digital technologies like Blockchain, 5G, AI, automation, robotics, cybersecurity and IoT. One can expect all these new age technologies to make greater inroads both in the Indian and global markets, in the years ahead.

C.P. Gurnani, CEO & MD, Tech Mahindra on Emerging Technology Trends

Coffee Rides on Blockchain

Just as I was putting my thoughts together on this article, this news break made me cheer. What’s the big deal?

The Coffee Board of India has launched a blockchain-based marketplace for farmers to trade their coffee on. This was made possible by Eka Software Solutions and close to 20 coffee farmers, exporters, roasters are already onboarded on the platform.

The farmers, retailers, exporters can trade with each other on the platform. The coffee farmer can add information on where the coffee is grown, crop elevation, and add certifications. A block is added whenever a lot is sold and once this lot reaches the consumer, the consumer can use the QR-code to track the shipment’s journey.

The aim is to bring onboard 300 farmers and 3000-acre of coffee farmland while creating a brand for Indian coffee worldwide that is transparent and helps reducing farmers’ dependency on intermediaries by providing them direct access to the buyers at a fair price.

The other countries using blockchain for coffee are France and Ethiopia.

India currently stands sixth (with 67 patents) in World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)’s list of blockchain patents filed, behind China (790 patents), USA (762), South Korea (161), Australia (136) and Canada (67).

As per report pulled by HardFork from WIPO

Crypto Regulation in India

Street protests across major Indian cities rocked India demanding legalizing cryptocurrencies. This comes after India’s central banking authority, the Reserve Bank of India, ordered a complete ban on cryptocurrencies.

The matter has reached Supreme Court which will take a final call after the National Elections are over at the Government’s request.

Blueprint for Blockchain Adoption for Banks in India

India’s banking research division, Institute for Development and Research in Banking Technology (IDRBT) announced in January, 2019 that it has published a blueprint of its proposed blockchain-enabled platform for India’s banking industry.

It specifies a general roadmap on adoption of DLT-powered systems in local businesses. It provides a set of core protocols to ensure interoperability among software programs in the banking industry.

If you are interested, you may read the blockchain-blueprint for India’s banking industry here (direct download link).

The Blockchain Infrastructure Company – India’s First Blockchain Based SME Funding Project

A consortium of 11 banks named “The Blockchain Infrastructure Company” that include ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Yes Bank, RBL Bank aims to transform the funding process for small and medium enterprises in India.

All these supply-chain players, banks, logistics partners, customs, etc. have different technological platforms and technical competence.
A common blockchain network harmonizes the requirements and lets everyone see the flow of the trade on a single platform.

Akhil Handa, Head, FinTech & New Business Initiatives, Bank of Baroda

The goal is to improve lending facilities in a country where small businesses are unable to repay the amount in time. The platform will provide lenders to the credit data ensuring riskless lending.

ThynkBlynk – India’s First Ever Blockchain-based Healthcare Services Partnership

CallHealth, the world’s first and truly integrated healthcare platform has partnered with ThynkBlynk, the developers of ChainTrail, to ensure secured healthcare data integration on its platform.

This partnership aims to address key issues like fake or fraud documentation, lack of digital data verification which can drive up costs. Secondly, in the absence of trusted data sources the demand for repeated pathological tests results in a big burden for the patients’ family and relatives.

GBS Puts Certificates on Blockchain

Globsyn Business School (GBS) became the first AICTE-approved B-school to use blockchain technology to digitize its certification process.

This will enabled students, employers to access the diploma certificate from any location in the world without the need for a physical copy.

This has been made possible by Certy which is a platform enabling tamper-proof and instantly-verifiable certificates on the blockchain.

Telangana Government to Use Blockchain to Provide Credit Scores to the Unbanked Population

The Government of Telangana has partnered with Cognito Technologies (a UK-based startup) to provide credit scores to the population.

The start-up is expected to set-up an office in Hyderabad and work with
Sthree Nidhi Credit Cooperative Federation Ltd. to initiate a pilot project consisting of 10000 self-help groups from across the country.

In the case of SHGs, the institutional framework has been developed very carefully through two decades of hard work in Telangana. The credibility of this structure is very strong and hence lots of deliveries such as loans and welfare schemes happen through this channel. While a serious scam or fraud has not taken place in Telangana, the possibility of system weakening due to some unscrupulous people taking advantage is always there and can affect the credibility of the system. Therefore, Blockchain is the most appropriate tool to be implemented here.

Jayesh Ranjan, Principal Secretary, IT and Industries, Telangana

The transactions are scheduled to be on the blockchain starting April, 2019 and will run for a couple of months before the decision to scale up can be considered.

Those with good credit ratings from the platform will find it easier to access to cheaper loans.

Crop Seeds Goes the Blockchain Way

Ahmadabad-based agriculture startup MyCrop is implementing a pilot blockchain-based solution in a rural Gujarat village that can validate and track distribution of good seeds.

Currently there is no mechanism to do the same which ensures that the quality of seeds that the farmers receive are of poor quality resulting in a bad crop output.

TCS Developing Five Blockchain Platforms

Indian IT giant Tata Consultancy Services has announced that it is developing five blockchain platforms for India for different sectors.

These will be hosted on Azure which is a world leader in cloud computing platform offerings from Microsoft’s stable. The blockchain platform used is R3’s Corda Platform which is open-sourced.

Some of the anchor solutions that we are building on these platforms include skills marketplace, anti-counterfeiting of luxury goods, affordable mobility, shared telecom infrastructure for 5G and loyalty and rewards programmes.

Lakshminarasimhan Srinivasan, Global Head, Blockchain Services, TCS

Turbloq – First Blockchain Enabled Commercial Communication Stack for Telecom Sector

India-based Tanla Solutions has launched Turbloq to comply with the new TRAI regulation (2018) to empower individual mobile users to to set and manage their communication preferences and consents.

It seeks to address issues like trust-deficit, security, spam, fraud and privacy breaches in developing and emerging market like that of India

This initiative would perhaps be the largest use case for Blockchain in the world with potential transactional volumes of above 10 billion per month. We are confident that it will empower the billion plus mobile users. It truly is Made in India for Digital India and beyond!

Uday Reddy, CMD, Tanla Solutions

Eleven01 – India’s First Native Blockchain Protocol

India’s first native blockchain protocol, Eleven01 launched its testnet. This will ensure that the technology it developed is ready to provide services in real-world test cases.

Our team has been busy working on the platform seeking to improve on existing protocols in the market and engage the developer community. We have two key launch partners: KhethiNext, a growing Agritech startup, and DocsInBlock, a financial documentation blockchain project, to start using and deploying the code to test run the platform

Ausaf Ahmad, CEO, Eleven01

This protocol will find usage in both public and private sectors for implementation in retail, agriculture, banking, healthcare, finance, etc.

Other Notable Stories

  1. Federal Bank and Ripple Inc. has entered into a partnership to help the former improve on cross-border remittance through its network.
  2. The Software Technology Parks of India (STPI) under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India has planned to create 28 Centres of Excellence (CoE) across the country in emerging fields like IoT, cloud computing, AI, Machine/Deep Learning, Blockchain, Augmented and Virtual Reality.
  3. Cardano’s (ADA) EMURGO is launchings Blockchain Academy in India to train developers to create a pool of blockchain experts in the country.
  4. IIM Calcutta has announced that it has joined hands with TalentSprint to provide an advanced programme in FinTech and Blockchain for its management and financial professionals.




 

Concluding Thoughts

NASSCOM’s “Blockchain Report of 2019” revealed that blockchain is now present in 50% of the states in India. India has for sure positioned itself among the world superpowers when it comes to adopting and implementing blockchain.

However, as I always say, the blockchain journey has just started and India has a long way to go. This journey is a marathon and not a sprint. A lot more is coming!

Blockchain in India – January’19 to March’19

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