Indian PM Backs Blockchain Technology as ‘Frontier Technology’
The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, has endorsed blockchain as an ‘opportunity in frontier technology,’ reviving hopes that the country is embracing cryptocurrencies. In a keynote address at the India Ideas Summit, hosted by the US-India Business Council on Wednesday, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi pitched the country as a haven for multinational investors.
Big Opportunities in Blockchain
Part of the speech involved an endorsement for blockchain as an investment opportunity amongst these ‘frontier technologies.’ “Opportunities in technology also include opportunities in the frontier technologies of 5G, Big data analytics, Quantum computing, Blockchain and Internet of things.” Modi continued that half a billion people in India have already been united to the internet, and another half a billion are anticipating connection. This displays a significant opportunity for companies to extend into a large market, he stated.
Unlike China, which remains mostly closed to foreign tech companies, India wants to open up. The PM stated that India had made many efforts to make it an economy more open and reform-oriented during the last six years. Retweeting the PM’s comments, the Indian crypto outlet, Crypto Kanoon, emphasized the significance of clarity in terms of regulations going forward.
“China is integrating the state-backed Blockchain network with six public blockchains in the world. It’s important that we embrace public blockchains and bring clear regulation around the whole subject.”
Crypto Future Still Unclear
On the surface, India seems to be using the same path as China, supporting blockchain but still cautious about cryptocurrencies. The recent situation continues unclear, notwithstanding the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) affirming in May there were no laws banning banks from providing services to crypto-related business clients. This came in the wake of the Supreme Court reversing a ban in March.
The deepening economic crisis in the country has hindered adoption, and banks have been hesitant to open their doors to digital assets. Some banks, like HDFC and IndusInd Bank, have still forbidden to deal with digital assets. In a webinar last week, former Finance Secretary of India, Subhash Chandra Garg, considered the future of crypto with industry executives. Garg was effective in drafting a bill that introduced a ban on cryptocurrencies, and jail time for those who hold them.
He said that crypto-assets could be utilized as regulated commodities, however, they must not be permitted to function as currencies in India. Industry executives claimed that cryptocurrencies should not be seen as a replacement for the rupee. India is a long way away from being a global crypto hub or mass adoption. Gaining banks onboard seems to be the key. Perhaps Prime Minister Modi’s current blockchain endorsement may finally catalyze the central bank into action.