Putting a ban on cryptocurrencies and embracing blockchain, the underlying technology behind cryptocurrencies, has turned out to be quite the norm for the majority of nations. There are only a few provinces that actually favor cryptocurrencies and consider it a legal tender.
Currently trying to decide its crypto stance, India is one such nation that has been playing hide and seek with a growing crypto community that flourishes within the nation. In early 2018, India’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced that it had placed a ban on the sale or purchase of cryptocurrency for entities regulated by RBI terming cryptocurrency as non-sovereign. A year after that, the nation is now embracing blockchain tech and deploying it across various sectors.
A better voting system
In the most recent news, a new blockchain-based system would now allow Indian citizens to cast their votes from outside their registered residences. According to The Times of India on February 13, India’s Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora said that the country aims to tackle the problem of shrinking voter turnout.
Elections are a big deal in India and are almost like a festival that sees celebration throughout the nation when a political party wins. The presence of multiple political parties tends to heat up the atmosphere, this often results in riots that scare voters away, often causing the election results to be under the effect of manipulation.
According to Arora, in the 2019 elections, 300 million eligible voters did not/could not vote because they were either not politically engaged or were far from where their registered voting district on election day. The Times of India states that the country has over 450 million migrants that move for work, education, or marriage, but may only do so temporarily.
Arora continued that the blockchain voting system would be live before his tenure is over in April 2021. Furthermore, a proposal from the ministry of law to link voter IDs and citizen ID system Aadhaar is also underway. Blockchain is being utilized by the system to allow citizens to vote from outside their registered locations while also preventing the possibility of multiple votes cast by the same person.
As per the commissioner, the regulators are currently collaborating with the Indian Institute of Technology to develop the new system. If successful, this could further boost blockchain development in the second most populated nation in the world. This would also replace the antique paper ballot system.
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.
Earlier in July 2019, Indian cryptocurrency watch panel proposed fines and jail time for cryptocurrency use with up to ten years in prison for general crypto use in the country. Soon after, a Draft bill dubbed “Banning of Cryptocurrency & Regulation of official digital Currencies” was issued by the Ministry of Finance. The report followed countless petitions that were filed by crypto enthusiasts.