Is India emerging as a blockchain trendsetter?
Certainly, the sector has been moving in fits and starts in what’s becoming the world’s fifth-largest economy. Despite a bearish outlook on cryptocurrencies from regulators, progressive Indian states and companies are charging ahead in exploring the applications of blockchain technology.
Now, there are signs that local companies are seeking to integrate blockchain platforms into major businesses. Announced Thursday, Swedish blockchain startup ChromaWay and Indian IT giant Tech Mahindra are joining hands to bring blockchain solutions to the Indian market.
“This partnership represents an opportunity to leverage our open-source consortium database technology to bring real and measurable improvements to society by empowering individuals, fighting corruption and fostering collaboration,” Henrik Hjelte, CEO of ChromaWay, said.
The project is also expected to build blockchain solutions for government agencies, a release said.
And this wide-lens approach fits with Tech Mahindra’s interests, according to Rachit Batham, head of the company’s Blockchain Center of Excellence.
In statements, he sought to portray the company as willing to invest in exploring how blockchain could be applied to existing verticals and new ecosystems, with initial exploration areas including banking, telecom and healthcare, along with public sector opportunities.
Batham told CoinDesk:
“Tech Mahindra is bullish on blockchain technology, and is making focused investments in building sustainable solutions and platforms.”
Boon for Chromaway
Still, the announcement is a notable one for ChromaWay, which is seeking to position its Postchain technology and its unique combination of SQL database and blockchain technology in a crowded market for enterprise-focused software.
Launched last year, Postchain works with established enterprise database systems like Oracle and Microsoft, or open-source databases like PostgreSQL, and already, the technology is being used in limited trials as part of a land registry platform in Sweden and India.
Andhra Pradesh announced a partnership with blockchain startup ChromaWay to pilot a land registry ledger last October
Tech Mahindra, too, sees the potential for government partnerships to boost its R&D efforts.
Already, the company claims its in talks with the Department of Industries (and a few other state governments) to discuss potential applications for reducing market friction.
Apart from land registration and real estate, August Botsford, technical director at ChromaWay, told CoinDesk that the potential areas of exploration for his startup include trade finance, supply chain management, logistics, maintenance and part tracking.
All this amounts to early signs that blockchain is gaining momentum in India in both in the government and the private sectors.
For example, the government think tank, NITI Aayog, said recently that it is exploring blockchain applications by developing other proofs-of-concept in sectors including education, health and agriculture. It recently revealed a blockchain solution it is working on, to curb the country’s massive counterfeit drugs trade.
State governments such as the government of Maharashtra have also revealed five to six pilot projects to test blockchain technology, as reported by EconomicTimes in February this year.
In this way, Vivek Agarwal, global head of enterprise verticals solutions at Tech Mahindra, stated that blockchain can help address some of the challenges of Indian public sector.
Botsford sees the public sector having huge potential for innovative development in the country.
“There are strong indications that empowering citizens and public agencies by delegating control over vitally important data to those to whom it is most important can help to significantly reduce fraud and increase efficiency.”