Ever since the Indian government banned regulated entities including banks from dealing with businesses or individuals in anything related to cryptocurrencies, the Indian crypto industry took a hit. India has been dead silent about cryptocurrencies ever since.
Last month, the governor of the Reserve Bank of India, Shaktikanta Das, stated that the institution for entities regulated by RBI views no possibility of allowing private digital currencies to operate in the country. India’s hostile reception towards cryptocurrency was confirmed by the existence of the bill dubbed “Banning of Cryptocurrency & Regulation of official digital Currencies.”
Just like China, India has completely shifted its focus on blockchain technology and how it can benefit the nation.
Kerala – a blockchain hub
A report from the local media outlet The Economic Times state that the south Indian state of Kerela is exploring the various use cases of blockchain technology to benefit various sectors including finance. The state plans to enhance the existing financial system alongside creating blockchain professionals.
The government is also trying to implement blockchain technology in several pilot programs, such as for land records, workforce management, organic food traceability, and immunization. Shri. M. Sivasankar, the state’s electronics and information technology secretary, said:
“We are looking for intelligent use of blockchain in specific domains in the next five years so that its applications can be sustained. Companies that produce solutions based on the technology can sell it as products or services.”
Sivasankar stressed on the fact that the technology can heavily benefit the state’s financial sector, which comprises several banks, chit fund companies, microfinance lenders, remittance service providers, and other organizations. He explained:
“Since there is a huge financial market, we can provide the blockchain provider access to the market so that they can develop new concepts and models … The state’s strength in blockchain will be an incentive to attract the right companies that will trigger the ecosystem.”
According to Sivasankar, Kerala is becoming a talent hub for blockchain experts. The secretary recently said that the state plans to train 20,000 people in blockchain development over the next two years. He continued:
“Around 2,000 of them have gone for the next level in the blockchain developer program and 800 have graduated.”
This isn’t the first time the regulators were implementing the use of blockchain technologies in India. Previously, Uttar Pradesh (UP), the most populated state of India, also tested a blockchain-powered solar energy trading platform with tech assistance from Australian blockchain startup Power Ledger and India Smart Grid Forum (ISGF), a public-private partnership initiative of India’s Ministry of Power for accelerated development of smart grid technologies.
In so many ways, India’s stance towards cryptocurrency and blockchain technology have been largely been compared to China’s unfavorable stand on the same. The ban of cryptocurrency in India in April 2018 played a significant role in the dip of Bitcoin prices globally.
Reports have also revealed the possibility of India launching a central bank-issued digital currency like it’s neighbour. However, it was too early to speculate on the issue since the technology to introduce the central currency was not yet in place.