At the moment, its an MoU between perhaps the most forward thinking State in India and the 5th largest Indian Technology firm (Tech Mahindra). And many would argue that MoUs don’t mean much, but activity within the Indian state in this space makes me feel hopeful.
The MoU is between the Telengana state and Tech Mahindra to create a Blockchain District inside the city of Hyderabad. The project will create an ecosystem for Blockchain based startups to be incubated, thanks to the backing that the Indian government has provided to innovation in this technology.
While the government will take care of the regulatory and legal framework around the programme, Tech Mahindra will provide the technology might. Tech Mahindra is also working on its own Blockchain protocol in collaboration with Eleven01. This protocol has been thought through ground up for the Indian audience. More on this blockchain here.
The past year has seen tremendous activity in the Southern states of Telengana and Andhra Pradesh (AP). While the other Indian states have been busy with their political agendas, Telengana and AP have been fighting to get the top spot in Fintech innovation. Some key initiatives to note are,
- Fintech Valley Vizag was launched in 2016 by the AP government in its efforts to be the Fintech hub of the nation.
- The Fintech Valley Vizag has since run several events for the global audience like the Blockchain Business Conference 2017.
- Subsequently, the Banking and Financial Services Industry (BFSI) accelerator programme was launched to bring together banks, insurance firms, and other top capital markets players.
- A ₹500 Crore ($70 Million) Fintech fund was announced in late 2017 to support this ecosystem – with about $15 Million of that coming from the state government.
- AP government joined the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, becoming the only state outside of the US to do so.
- The city of Vizag within the state is working on going cashless as the first city to do so in the country. The state government has partnered with Visa on this initiative.
- The Telangana government placed the Blockchain technology at the core of its new IT (information technology) policy’s 10 core areas.
- In Dec 2017, AP’s Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA) began land registrations using documents generated with information drawn from blockchain.
With all this momentum, it feels like Hyderabad is trying to steal the thunder from Bangalore, which has traditionally been the hub of tech startups in the country. There is weekly progress in this space and is definitely one to watch.
Arunkumar Krishnakumar is a VC investor focusing on Impact investments, a writer and a speaker.
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