Much of the talk about cryptocurrency focuses on the traditional powerhouse marketplaces of North America, China, and Western Europe, but it would be foolhardy to ignore the significant contributions and user potential of virtual currency especially Ethereum In India. This is a country of extremes: widespread poverty and hardship mingle with leading-edge technological advancements including a space program and green and solar energy. It is a country teeming with people – rivalling China, with a population of 1.3 billion as of 2016, and more of its citizens are gaining access to internet technology every day.
India is also taking a leadership role in introducing and supporting blockchain technology and Ethereum, working with global industry giants including Cisco, Mastercard and ScotiaBank as part of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance. Journalist Joseph Foulds, in his blog, EEA and Cryptocurrency Adoption in India, identifies several key items that point to her growing status in this leading-edge industry.
The Government of Andhra Pradesh, the tenth most populated of India’s 29 states with 49.3 million inhabitants, has embraced a blockchain-positive attitude, and is looking to create a financial technology capital that focuses on blockchain technology.
Foulds points out that “significantly lowered cross border transaction fees offer a unique opportunity for India to position itself as a hub of international trade, bringing currency into a borderless world with Andhra Pradesh as the ‘central’ hub.”
India is also a global leader in remittance, with $62.7 billion USD flowing back into India including $22 billion coming from the UAE and United States collectively. Foulds points out that “a blockchain-based transaction system would be dramatically advantageous to the numerous Indian citizens receiving remittance payments from abroad,” both in terms of speed, economy, and transparency.
Foulds points out that India’s reputation for corruption (ranked No. 79 in the Corruption Perceptions Index, tied with China, Brazil and Belarus), might not be a great asset, but the opportunity to integrate the blockchain of Ethereum In India “would allow India to make dramatic leaps forward in anti-corruption, essentially improving transparency exponentially through the use of b-tech…and would renew international investor confidence in the country, help remove barriers for growth, and encourage international integration.”
Joining the EEA
Andhra Pradesh becomes the first Indian state government to join the 150-member strong Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, and the second “government” in the world to do so, following in the footsteps of the State of Illinois, which joined in May 2017. Other companies to join this year included Samsung, pharmaceuticals giant Merck, and automaker Toyota.
India already boasts a powerful and sophisticated high-tech sector and its percentage of the country’s overall GDP grows significantly every year.
In addition to commercial transactions, the Ethereum blockchain has other significant areas of growth within India including:
- Reducing/ eradicating voter fraud and voter manipulation/bribery/suppression.
- Fixing a broken identity system which sees millions of Indian citizens go unaccounted for due to homelessness, poverty and an antiquated system. According to ETHNews, a pairing of biometrics with the Ethereum blockchain “could present a more accessible and widely accepted form of identity management.”
India is already a formidable powerhouse in the banking and finance industries, and numerous domestic exchanges already exist for the purchase, sale and trade of cryptocurrencies. Virtual banking has evolved to compete against traditional banks, to address the savings and borrowing needs of Indian citizens, especially the growing class who enjoy full employment and disposable income.
Ethereum In India – Growing Public Acceptance
The best-known digital currency and payment networks in India at present are Unocoin, Zebpay, BTCXIndia and Coinsecure. Indian citizens are actively exploring bitcoins as an alternative investment option, and on a retail level a growing number of merchants have started to accept Bitcoin as payment.
Supply Chain Potential
One of the biggest problems facing commerce in any country is the complexities of the supply chain. India knows this all too well, both internally, serving its own people and cities, as well as externally as part of the global supply chain, involving shipping, logistics and quality control.
In this area too, companies that are headquartered in India as well as those that have satellite offices there, recognize the ease, transparency and potential cost savings of incorporating blockchain into every step of the manufacturing, agricultural and shipping processes.
Advanced internet delivery systems are bypassing traditional infrastructure needs, such as utility poles and fibreoptic cabling in exchange for innovative technologies like the Google X balloon project. These offer even the poorest areas of India and other countries an opportunity to leapfrog the industrial and technological revolutions of decades and even centuries past, and leap full speed into a diverse digital economy at precisely the right time, with Ethereum In India being front and center in its evolution.