India can become a hub for blockchain development
With over 4.2M developers working in the information technology (IT) sector in India makes it the world’s largest IT-talent pool. However, only 20,000 work in blockchain. This is about to change.
Currently, the United States is the leader globally among the world’s largest blockchain developers’ workforce, who are recognized and currently working on various cryptocurrency projects, centralized as well as decentralized.
According to Tanvi Ratna, founder and CEO of Policy 4.0, a research and advisory body working on new policy approaches for digital assets, the stigma around cryptocurrency holds back Indian developers who are skeptical of the country’s regulatory environment.
This stigma started already in 2013, when the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) commenced issuing regular and cautionary guidance against cryptocurrencies, citing market volatility, general risks and no legal recognition for cryptocurrencies.
Attracting Developers to Blockchain
Developers became even more reluctant to move toward blockchain and crypto projects after RBI issued a circular in 2018 banning the use of the banking system from dealing with entities interacting with digital currency holders.
After the Indian Supreme Court struck down RBI ban last year, developers have now been showing keen interest, as projects are also getting more international funding and developers are earning more than they receive in most other software fields.
The advent of the central government hinting on its future increased use of blockchain technology for various government-operated programs has now opened the floodgates for developers opting to work in blockchain companies.
India is currently working on various projects that will be powered by blockchain technology in land registry, judicial records, e-stamping, transportation, DBT (Direct Benefit Transfer) and much more.
Centre of Excellence (CoE) in blockchain technology
Looking at the scope of India becoming blockchain hub and with an aim to incorporate blockchain-based technologies in government functioning in January 2020, the then Indian IT Minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad inaugurated a Centre of Excellence (CoE) in blockchain technology.
The CoE is expected to provide a suitable infrastructure to innovate and develop use-cases based on blockchain technology. It will also help government departments to build a proof of concept, leveraging blockchain technology, thereby improving government services.
The incorporation of blockchain technology in government services is expected to bring transparency and efficiency in sectors such as healthcare, banking, agriculture and logistics among others, and aims to create an entire ecosystem around blockchain technology.
CoE will also help startups to connect with investors and promote the use cases of blockchain-based technologies.
Joint research in blockchain technology
Understanding the importance of blockchain, India in September 2018 approved a joint research on distributed ledger and blockchain technology by Export-Import Bank of India (Exim Bank) with member-banks from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS).
The government gave its approval to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that was signed on the collaborative research on distributed ledger and blockchain technology in the context of development.
The banks include Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Economico e Social (BNDES, of Brazil), China Development Bank (CDB), State Corporation Bank for Development and Foreign Economic Affairs (Vnesheconombank, Russia) and Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA).
In a statement, they jointly stated that distributed ledger/blockchain technology holds the potential for solutions to various challenges faced in the financial sector by BRICS nations, consisting of Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa, an organization aiming to serve as a counter eight to G7 and other global bodies.
Kerala State outlines blockchain hub plan
Kerala state has unveiled its blockchain plan and announced blockchain institute called Kerala Blockchain Academy (KBA) under which it plans to train 20,000 blockchain professionals.
KBA is a member and official training partner of Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Project and a general partner of the R3 Consortium.
Under KBA, it offers blockchain certification programs, workshops, seminars, and corporate training on different blockchain technologies. Blockchain Research Group focuses on R&D activities and knowledge creation.
The academy also focuses on developing solutions using blockchain technology, such as Ethereum, Hyperledger, Sawtooth, EOS, and Corda.