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India picks blockchain lessons in crypto valley

Indian delegation to Switzerland will recommend policy changes aimed at adopting blockchain.

Jun 04, 2019, 08.48 AM IST
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Academicians who were part of the delegation suggested that the Indian risks around crypto technology were very different compared to Switzerland.
MUMBAI|BENGALURU: An Indian delegation that recently studied public blockchain activity in the Swiss city of Zug, known as the crypto valley, is expected to recommend policy changes aimed at adopting a similar framework in the country. “The Swiss focus on building conducive framework conditions is a big takeaway from this trip. They stay hands off and don't promote particular sectors or technologies,” said Tanvi Ratna, one of the team members and a US-India Fellow of the New America Foundation.

The Reserve Bank of India’s ‘Draft Enabling Framework for Regulatory Sandbox’, released on April 18 had considered blockchain applications for testing.

Already, pilot tests of enterprise public blockchain are being conducted by the Niti Aayog in partnership with Oracle, Apollo Hospitals and drug maker Strides Pharma Sciences.

The Andhra Pradesh government, in partnership with German genomics company Shivom, is conducting yet another pilot.

“Based on the observations, the Swiss approach is agnostic to the technology and is focused on creating an enabling framework for public blockchain. After quantifying the risks and benefits of the approach for the Indian ecosystem, we will convey it to policy makers and regulators,” another team member said.

Academicians who were part of the delegation suggested that the Indian risks around crypto technology were very different compared to Switzerland.

“What states like Telengana have done is commendable where they are actively investing in blockchain to transform their own government processes. The big takeaway for India however is that to sustain any kind of edge in this space, it would need to focus on a long process of reform of the education, legal, tax and other regimes,” Ratna said.

One of the models cited by the group included a public blockchain system used to certify the organic nature of farm produce and packaged milk.

“Switzerland has advanced prolifically in blockchain technology, implementing it to solve macro issues,” said Akshay Aggarwal, cofounder of Blockchained India, who also participated in the delegation.

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