What Will Blockchain Bring to India?
It was clear that India was onto something big when it hosted events like India Blockchain Week 2017 in August and Blockchain Business Conference on October 17 conducted by Fintech Valley Vizag, or when the leading public and private sector banks, SBI and ICICI, shook hands with the Blockchain technology. The technology that offers trust and integrity, solutions to many problems, work across domains, decentralisation and makes intermediators redundant. The technology that is vouched for by Gartner and PwC as the disruptive technology of the year 2017, and by Forbes for the year 2018. How can it help a country like India, whose population is exploding and yet is the fastest growing economy in the world?
The Current State of Blockchain Disruption in India
As per stats from PwC in the year 2016, some thirty-two blockchain firms were founded in India, and in the years before 2016, just twenty-three were established. Another fact from Cointelegraph says that only 0.5% of people are into Bitcoin in India, a cryptocurrency based on Blockchain technology. The Reserve Bank of India [RBI] also favour blockchain technology and are experimenting with how it could help core banking. However, they are in no mood to authorize Bitcoin trading and acceptance in India. But that doesn’t mean they are against cryptocurrency, and they are in fact keen on giving India their own virtual currency named Lakshmi. Overall, one could say that Blockchain is a trending keyword, known in-depth by a few, with its execution and implementation restricted to limited geography in India.
How Blockchain Could Transform India
While #UnionBudget2018 made it clear that cryptocurrency regulation is underway, blockchain technology is welcomed with open arms. With a positive market sentiment and a startup community geared to showcasing their innovation, blockchain technology will attain a new height in 2018.
The Travel Industry in India Could Make Aggregators Redundant
Ever booked air tickets/bus tickets via an aggregator? The price variation and communication hassle with each aggregator makes the whole process complicated. With smart contracts, the communication across different parties could be streamlined, leading to transparent pricing and a smooth service also helping in serving the customer better. While travelling via air, another nightmare is to deal with the lost/damaged baggage both for the passenger and airlines. Blockchain technology could be a saviour here. Imagine a shared, distributed ledger accessible by all the parties within the airport, which allows one to track and have control over their baggage. Once the luggage is checked in, it will enable the owner automatically to log in, and as it is received at departure, it logs out. In case of missing baggage, tracking the luggage for the authorities would be easy and accounted for.
The Banking Could Be Transparent with Digital Identity and Distributed Ledger
A prerequisite for banking is “the proof of existence and address,” but think about the immigrants, the people living on roads/slums. It is indeed tough for these individuals to produce the relevant KYC documents, barring them from utilizing government or international aids. Blockchain technology could rescue such people by providing them with a digital identity stored in a distributed, shared ledger and helping them in using banking services in India. Blockchain could also facilitate cross-border payments, helping immigrants to transfer funds at a cheaper rate to their loved ones. In the present scenario, international fund transfers take days and are subject to forex rates applicable for that day, making it a cumbersome process for individuals. With blockchain, the settlement time could be reduced, and even the individuals would witness a significant reduction in transaction charges.
Trade Finance Can Reach Its New Heights
Trade Finance is the backbone of international commerce but is often hit by bullets of fraud, payment or delivery delays and the lack of a tracking system, leading to the loss of money and unfavourable circumstances for businesses. Blockchain technology holds the potential to eradicate these pain points. The shared, distributed ledger could redefine business processes by reducing operational complexity, providing transaction transparency and tracking, and, above all, reducing transaction charges. The consensus mechanism would not only help in reducing fraud but would also boost continuous reconciliation, making the trade finance ecosystem much more efficient and robust.
Healthcare to Be Included in Fundamental Rights
How often have individuals paid the price for human errors? For example, how often are blood pressure medications prescribed when the person has a reasonable blood pressure? Or an individual visits the best doctor in another city and he is keen to look at the medical history, but there is none to show? That’s where Blockchain comes into the picture. Just imagine a folder with all the medical records since the time of an individual’s birth, medication history, treatment records, fitness data, nutrition data or allergy information. A patient could travel anywhere across the globe, and carry the digital medical file all in one go. In fact, putting healthcare onto blockchain could also help in the reduction of medical costs by removing intermediaries and making it real time.
The Insurance Sector Could Be the Next Disruption for Blockchain Technology
The public ledger spread across a network has the potential to detect fraud and fake claims within the insurance sector. The Digital ledger could verify the authenticity of the individual and transactions, making hassle-free claims a possibility. With the Internet of Things [IoT] and blockchain integration tailored for the individual, basis policies could be launched. Data collected via these sensors and telematics could help in designing more personalised plans.
Blockchain Could Build Trust for Government Initiatives and Services
No matter how hard the government tries, for each action, people still doubt them on whether it would be implemented or would be just on paper. Blockchain could help the government in building a trustworthy, open and transparent network. While Digital Identity powered by Blockchain could enable banking, it could also help government officials to provide aids and launch specific schemes/policies. The government could also take advantage of blockchain and streamline the supply chain sector, making sure the recipient receives the government aids and subsidized foods or LPG cylinder. Using Blockchain technology, the government could reduce the paperwork that could lead to digital records being accessible from anywhere and, most importantly, help in saving the environment.
Blockchain, with its unique properties of being distributed, immutable, verifiable, and encrypted to the public, could be the game changer across major sectors in India. Some of the key issues, like lack of trust and transparency, could be eliminated by Blockchain Technology. However, like any other technology, it is an emerging concept whose flaws are yet to be seen. Hence its adoption and implementation that provides openness, trust and transparency needs to be progressed cautiously.
Originally published at themarketmogul.com.