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Demystifying Blockchain As Game-Changing Technology

"For businesses to transact with each other, they need security, trust, process information, and blockchain allows businesses to interact and transact with each other," said Deepak Sawardekar, Director, Indus Valley Partners

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At the BW Businessworld Growth Leadership Conclave and Awards 2018: From SMEs to Unicorns, there was a panel discussion on “Can Blockchain be a game changer?” which was moderated by Hoshie Ghaswalla, CEO, BW Engage, BW Businessworld.

“I have been hearing a lot about it and it has been gaining a lot of traction. Blockchain has been happening in the banking sector, as the BNFI sector has always been ahead in technology. Through a lot of time, I have seen a lot of hype about this, and we need to see why it is gaining a lot of noise and traction. Blockchain is now perceived as more than just banking technology," said Ghaswalla.

Deepak Sawardekar, Director, Indus Valley Partners, said, “We’re capital markets, products and services technology firm. We look at a lot of emerging technologies, like big data and blockchain. The opportunity of allowing peer-to-peer transactions to happen was allowed by blockchain, through cryptocurrency. For businesses to transact with each other, they need security, trust, process information, and blockchain allows businesses to interact and transact with each other. Skype uses a lot of peer-to-peer interaction. The interesting thing about blockchain is that it is providing a huge opportunity for intermediates to get transactions get done.” He also added, “In the small to medium industry segment, there are opportunities where transactions and trade facility transactions can happen through this network. Mostly there are private ledgers, and you need to be a part of the network to facilitate this transaction. If an industry association can create infrastructure, this can be scaled up. You can reinvigorate a network, if there is a software infrastructure present." “An infrastructure to centrally aggregate demand and push it down for consumption has been in play. For blockchain to disintegrate that, there needs to be economies of scale. Maybe to sell a particular service today, to do a price discovery or product discovery, if that can happen through a ubiquitous presence of a blockchain. Blockchain as an infrastructure allows you to disintermediate all that. The network has to be laid out, as it is extremely difficult for participants to come into a network, unless someone has laid it out with trust and security," said Sawardekar.

“If you see, in the 14th century there was a gap of knowledge as it was not easy to distribute it. The printing technology solved that problem. In the 16th century, there was a gap of speed, and the advent of engines happened and the speed increased. In the last couple of decades, with the advent of the internet, there was previously a gap on the speed of information which the internet solved but letting you share it in real time. When we talk about blockchain, it is about how we can give a value to that information. Trust is also important for blockchain. We have been dealing with intermediaries like the government or the bank. Trust can be automated through the technology of blockchain. If I can associate a unique identity to a person or an asset, there can’t be a double spend, and that’s possible through this technology. There are impacts all throughout the market, whether it’s the capital market, technology etc.," said Som Shekhar Singh, Director, Technology Sapient Consulting.

He also added,“In a very generic way, there are two places where we can apply this technology. Where there is a lack of trust, where there are intermediaries present, this can be used. Also wherever there is identity involved there we can have this kind of a solution. If we take it forward, health is an area that lacks the trust. Then there is Facebook, so the question is can we really hold the security of our data? There this solution can be applied. The ration system or the subsidy distribution system is where blockchain can be utilized. There are a lot of other places like accounting or compliance where this system can play a disruptive role. Smart contracts is a solution aspect of blockchain and it ensures that your contract with the other party is done the way it was agreed to be. A lot of avenues and possibilities with this technology are possible. A lot can be explored, but what needs to be understood is where there is a lack of trust or security, for this system. Ola cabs is an aggregator, but we don’t really need Ola if there is a smart contract through the blockchain technology. It has applications in the health sector as well, to keep medical records and prescriptions secure." “The technology aspect of blockchain has existed for a long time. If you want to understand or dive into it deeper, it won’t be that difficult," said Singh.

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