Tech Mahindra CEO on how India can make up for lost time in blockchain innovation

By DataquestMarch 10, 2021

Blockchain adoption can be accelerated with integrated platform and India stack and developing relevant use cases says C P Gurnani at IAMAI’s Blockchain Summit.

Blockchain has been the new buzzword of the IT industry. With all the hullabaloo around cryptocurrency reaching its peak with soaring bitcoin prices, government policies and Elon Musk tweets, the underlying blockchain tech is yet again on the forefront. Businesses are now pondering as to where to begin with blockchain applications to make up for the time lost and how to create the necessary ecosystem for the same. Addressing few of the relevant notions around blockchain, C P Gurnani, CEO and MD of Tech Mahindra addressed the keynote of IAMAI’s Blockchain Summit.

Businesses now need to take a lead to propagate and foster the blockchain ecosystem. Gurnani set this as a central tone to the address in conversation with Tina Singh, Chair, IAMAI Blockchain Committee and CDO, Mahindra Finance. Leaning on the example of how Dubai made citizen services available through a blockchain platform, Gurnani iterated that the best of blockchain is yet to come and the best of “security and settlement system now are able to work through trusted technology.”

While businesses are eager to explore the use cases of blockchain, it is clearly not for everyday use, said Gurnani. “We all need to take a pause and take into account where it will make sense for business. Once we do, I do believe some of us will have to propagate the usage of blockchain and demonstrate it to people that it isn’t only for book keeping and contracts,” he said.

As Rome, data analytics and AI wasn’t built in a day, blockchain too would take time to penetrate into mainstream enterprise adoption. But Gurnani believes that if businesses start with observing paperless transactions, digital transformation, healthcare data, vaccine tracking and tracing, legal analysis even, there is a scope for blockchain to address the gaps.

So where can India take the lead and make up for lost time? “Focus on creating an environment,” says Gurnani. Leading with an example of how blockchain was a solution for vaccine distribution management, Gurnani says, “India should take a lead in blockchain operating system and stack. We should take a lead in creating exchanges and IPO through blockchain. A central bank digital currency using blockchain-based digital token could be an example of taking a lead.”

The discussion puts into perspective this: Looking back at March 2020, if we had a mature digital supply chain and had an understanding of blockchain, would we have sailed smoothly through the pandemic.

Therefore, Gurnani says the cloud, data, AI, blockchain, 5G are here to stay, if we marry them together, we can create futuristic solutions. “The choice is ours: manual typewriter or speech recognition system,” he says. It is important to recognize blockchain in open source, which can be trusted, is available and create an ecosystem which benefits the government, corporate and individual users.

The technology is not without its challenges. The government needs to take a lead to create an impetus or momentum for the blockchain adoption, industry and research bodies need to propagate use cases and enterprises need to invest in talent.

“There is a lack of concerted effort between private sector, government and finance minister. By dismissing the central currency, we are bringing blockchain back into lack of knowledge category,” Gurnani says. “Currently, we lack in adoption, as people think they don’t need one. it is an underestimation. But it has proven to have an ability to address the trust gap and act as a lever for digital transformation.”

We have a better chance at success with an integrated platform and India stack, concludes Gurnani.

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