Blockchain Meets ModiNomics

Applying Blockchain to India
Sameer Kochhar, Author of ModiNomics, Defeating Poverty and Reforms Historian

Jai Arun Singh, Co-Author, Blockchain for Business
When you are 54 and feeling ancient, it is difficult enough to read up on Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence etc to stay relevant, what makes it worse is an appalling lack of use cases on block chain for business - without crypto at that. The book Blockchain for Business really helped me relate the technology to the real world...

Discover How Blockchain Networks Are Transforming Companies, Driving Growth and Creating New Business Models, reads the book cover of Blockchain For Business. Not only does it deliver on what it promises, it also has a few surprises in store.

When you are 54 and feeling ancient, it is difficult enough to read up on Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to stay relevant. What makes this worse is an appalling lack of use cases on blockchain for business - without crypto at that. The book Blockchain for Business really helped me relate the technology to the real world. This is not where the goodies end, it makes a point on explaining how you can use your existing development team and skills to do 80% of the work required in moving your applications to blockchain.

The case studies got me thinking about how this technology can be deployed to solve real life problems in India that may be very different than western use cases. Prime Minister Modi has been championing the cause of using innovation and technology to take India to a higher growth orbit. Inclusive Economics and Inclusive Governance is the essence of ModiNomics.

Apply this to blockchain and you get tokenization of assets creating ownership models for expensive machinery like tractors for the poor and smart contracts that can ensure delivery and usage. Marginal farmers can pool their lands as one large block and benefit from economies of scale. Organic farmers can actually build trust in the food chain and command a better rate.

India is the largest use case of digital identity and its Aadhaar system can seriously benefit by moving to block chain. Recently, some of the reports of the Indian Central Bank have talked of the possibility of using Distributed Ledger Technology, a more respectable name for Blockchain without crypto for Payment Systems.

When we say blockchain, most people associate it with the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. True, cryptocurrency works on the concept of blockchain. But the blockchain is not all about cryptocurrency. Its scope is far wider. In fact, it has the potential to revolutionise the way transactions are done. Chief Executive Officer of IBM Ginni Rometty has rightly remarked: “Blockchain will do for transactions, what the Internet did for information.”

Blockchain opens the door for new styles of digital interactions, something which has not yet been imagined. It has the potential to vastly reduce the cost and complexity of getting things done across industries, government agencies and social institutions.

In India ministries like Agriculture and State Governments like Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra are already doing pilots to build use cases that may hopefully scale. A lot of ground work is required though to make the technology folks understand the domain issues and vice-versa.

The biggest challenge at the moment seems to make people understand the technology. There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding this new technology. “Even CIOs and CISOs have different misconceptions,” said Jai Singh Arun, a senior program director, IBM.

Arun, who has co-authored the book 'Blockchain for Business', said adoption of the technology is limited and slow due to lack of information and misconceptions surrounding it. Bitcoins, which has been termed illegal in India and most other parts of the world, is the main cause of the misconception with the blockchain technology.  

He pointed out that IBM recognised the transformative potential of blockchain technology early on. The company started the blockchain technology business in 2015.

Arun said the main objective of writing the book 'Blockchain for Business' is to create awareness and clear the misconception about the new technology among business executives. The book, published by Pearson Addison-Wesley, is co-authored by Jerry Cuomo, who leads IBM's engineering and product initiatives on blockchain and Nitin Gaur, an IBM distinguished engineer and worldwide director. Gaur leads IBM's global blockchain labs and services.

The book is a commendable effort to simplify the complex blockchain technology and create awareness about the benefits and usage of this new technology.  

Simply put blockchain is a shared, decentralised, cryptographically secured and immutable digital ledger. It is a transformative technology than can radically change the way businesses interact. At the centre of a blockchain is a shared immutable ledger. Each member of a blockchain network has an exact copy of the ledger that is kept current as it updates over time. After a transaction is entered, it cannot be changed.

Businesses, governments and other institutions regularly interact with different stakeholders and are often required to do multi-party transaction. Blockchain brings ease, security and efficiency in multi-party transactions. “I keep telling everyone in business and even the government, if you have multi-party transactions and you are struggling with transparency and trust, blockchain would be fantastic for you,” said Arun.  

Security of data has emerged as among the biggest threats in the digital space. Almost everyday a huge amount of personal and business data are being compromised and often misused by anti-social elements. Blockchain is an effective solution to this. Blockchain provides a highly secure transaction system that is almost impossible to hack. Every transaction recorded on a blockchain is cryptographically secured with digital signatures, along with a trail of transaction updates. Participants in the network have their own private keys that are assigned to a transaction or any update to an existing transaction. Therefore, security vulnerabilities are easily identified and inherently prevented.

Clearly, blockchain is poised to usher in a new way of multi-party transactions and conducting business that will change everyday life for the better!

Blockchain For Business, Pearson Addison-Wesley, 2019 is co-authored by Jai Singh Arun, Jerry Cuomo and Nitin Gaur.

(Sameer Kochhar can be reached at skoch@skoch.in)

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