Blockchain and Web 3.0 innovations will propel the value of the digital asset economy from $5 billion in 2021 to $262 billion over 11 years, resulting in a contribution of $1.1 trillion to India’s GDP, according to a report by digital asset exchange Cross Tower and US-Indian Strategic Partnership Forum. The blockchain is a distributed, decentralized and immutable ledger secured by cryptographic hashing algorithms. Technology, if used and deployed strategically, can help solve many economic and social problems. In a conversation with FE Digital Currency Subhash Chandra Garg, former Secretary of Finance and Economic Affairs, discusses how blockchain can be a game changer. (Edited excerpts)
How can blockchain as a technology be used by government to address e-governance issues?
Blockchain is a constantly evolving technology. Its advantage is that it is based on a decentralized architecture. The greatest potential comes from permissioned architecture where it is not under anyone’s control. Technology can be used to extend problem solving in areas such as e-commerce, land records, among others. The government can use this technology developed by the private sector mainly to create better services.
Given the current crackdown on cryptocurrency, is this the end?
I don’t think the government can do that. So far, only the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has shown any kind of distress about cryptocurrency. There is no opposition in the system against blockchain or other technologies. RBI is a reasonably powerful institution in the country. There is a hint of a “crypto-thing”. This prompted the government to adopt a more casual approach. If the government tries to kill crypto, we will all lose. But this unease can only be lifted when dialogue takes place between the industry and the Centre.
Why is India so resistant to cryptocurrency?
No ruler likes someone else interfering with his country’s currency. Bitcoin came as currency and it was like an onslaught. It was not advertised as a blockchain product and the initial bet was so high because there was no way to judge its true value. The real concern was that it could be used by unscrupulous people.
In terms of Internet security, is Web3.0 better than Web2.0?
Web3.0 is a decentralized system while Web2.0 is a centralized system. In web3.0, data is so decentralized that it is not available in one place. It will take a lot of effort to get data. In my opinion, web3.0 is less prone to hacking and other cybersecurity risks due to ownership structure.
What is the biggest challenge when it comes to driving mass blockchain adoption?
People adopt anything when they find value in it. Also, UPI now works fine. People don’t need to adopt the technology, they will need to use the services that rely on it. If relevant services are created under blockchain which are also cheaper, they will be used as a successful technology.