Nasscom’s blockchain hackathon seeks to revive tech amid cryptocurrency ban

Nasscom’s blockchain hackathon seeks to revive tech amid cryptocurrency ban
26 Jul, 2018

IT industry lobby National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) is organising the biggest ever blockchain hackathon in India this weekend as it looks to spread awareness about the tech, which can solve the country's multiple problems, Nasscom vice president KS Viswanathan told TechCircle. 

The hackathon comes at a time when the government and Reserve Bank of India have banned cryptocurrency trading, which was the most popular blockchain application recently.

“The idea is to energise the blockchain community beyond crypto. The immediate reaction of the ban on crypto had an impact but that is going away now. We hope that this will prove to be a platform for collaboration and co-creation of innovative products for big corporates to work with startups that are emerging in the sector,” said Viswanathan.

A recent survey by blockchain community Incrypt found that eight out of every 10 blockchain developer in India will be forced to move abroad or work exclusively on foreign projects if the government does not adopt a comprehensive regulatory framework soon.

However, Viswanathan allayed any such fears saying that Nasscom was pleasantly surprised to see that it received more than 3,000 applications and partner support for the hackathon initiative.

Nasscom believes that only a few startups got funding currently but things could change rapidly for India because of the talent pool available in the country and it can take the lead in blockchain.

"The technology is still evolving and is only six months old. We see India becoming a hotbed for innovations in blockchain because of the talent availability," said Viswanathan. The industry body is also thinking of forming a centre of excellence to train more developers in blockchain technologies, he added. 

The banking and financial sector (or BFSI in industry parlance) has embraced blockchain and is now proving to be an early adopter of the technology, said Viswanathan. He added that the tech increases efficiency, reduces intermediation and can better track transactions happening through various channels.

"There was regulatory confusion earlier and the new applications of blockchain have removed those fears for the BFSI sector and now they are actively investing in developing these technologies. They are now looking forward to working with startups," Viswanathan said. According to him, only a few startups are developing blockchain technologies now and the IT industry body wants to expand that.

The eleven winners of the hackathon event will be decided from among 65 shortlisted teams. The event has seen Nasscom partnering with banking and tech giants like Societe Generale, IBM, ICICI Bank, SAP Labs, L & T Infotech, Fidelity Investments, Amdocs and Wipro.