The Internet Mobile Association of India (IMAI) announced Oct. 15 that it would be forming a committee to push more government involvement in the blockchain ecosystem.
IAMAI Forms Committee For #Blockchain . The group will identify opportunities and challenges and work with government, industry and #startups to develop the ecosystem. https://t.co/Ciu10RV7Kf @SecretaryMEITY @FinMinIndia @PMOIndia
— IAMAI (@IAMAIForum) October 16, 2018
The groups stated goal is to “identify opportunities and challenges and work with government, industry, and startups to develop the ecosystem,” according to The Economic Times.
Committee Heads Optimistic on Blockchain
Committee Chair Tina Singh said she believes blockchain is the “technology of the future” and will usher in a new era of trust and accountability for businesses, stating:
“Blockchain is undeniably the technology of the future, slated to bring decentralization, trust and accountability into multiple areas of business. However, in order to be more effective and enter the mainstream, blockchain technology needs the intervention of government bodies, regulatory authorities and corporates.”
Singh is the chief digital officer of Mahindra Finance, and other members of the committee bring some equally impressive credentials with them. Mastercard’s Manish Gupta, Samiran Ghosh of Microsoft, and Jitan Chandanani are all members.
Blockchain Committee co-chair Prasanna Lohar echoed Singh’s sentiments, saying the committee would look for ways to push innovation forward and make blockchain a “radical change agent” in India’s economy.
“Blockchain adoption will be achieved through building trust in the economic, social and environmental potential of the token and blockchain economy,” said Lohar of the committee’s goals, and added that “to reap blockchain benefits, however, the technology will need to be developed responsibly within the right regulatory frameworks.”
Crypto Slowly Expanding in India
Despite a persistent negative outlook by the Indian government on cryptocurrencies, they do appear to be ready to explore the applications of blockchain tech in other areas. As we reported in August, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) instituted a task force to investigate unique uses of the blockchain, AI, and cryptocurrency. The effort to form a regulatory body governing digital assets mirrors efforts by agencies like the CTFC in the United States.
The Indian Supreme Court has been scheduled to hold a hearing on crypto since the summer but has continued to defer it, and the country is scheduled to get its first crypto ATM machines very soon, courtesy of Unocoin. The machines will reportedly be installed in shopping malls and will not accept debit or credit, and only be accessible to Unocoin customers.
All of this makes for an uncertain atmosphere surrounding cryptocurrencies. The RBI task force means the Indian government is taking it seriously, but it remains to be seen how the new asset class will fit into the overall scheme of Indian society.