Local news outlet The Economic Times reported on Aug. 27 that New York-based enterprise blockchain firm R3 chose the KBA as a general partner. According to the article’s author, the academy already designed a developer certification program on the firm’s Corda blockchain, meant for banking and technology professionals.
The Kerala Blockchain Academy (KBA), a government initiative under the Indian Institute of Information Technology and Management, is now a general partner of R3.
Governmental blockchain education
Per the report, KBA is the first government institution in India which offers a Corda blockchain development program. Moreover, the initiative also provides in-person training on technologies such as Hyperledger and Ethereum (ETH).
While being a hostile environment for cryptocurrency enthusiasts, India has been more open towards blockchain. It was, for instance, recently reported that the government of the Indian state of Maharashtra is preparing a regulatory sandbox for testing blockchain solutions across various applications.
R3’s broader work
The Financial Times wrote that many banks in Kerala have already started the implementation of the Corda platform into their core banking systems. According to the article, R3 leads more than 300 organizations working to develop distributed systems for use in fields such as insurance and financial services.
As Cointelegraph recently reported, the development of R3’s enterprise blockchain platform Corda was being plagued by fundamental disagreements over its core vision, causing frustration and delay.
India’s Defense Minister Touts Blockchain, AI Role in Warfare
India’s defense minister believes blockchain technology is the next step in contemporary warfare.
Speaking at an 80-nation plus envoy roundtable Monday before the country’s DefExpo 2020 conference this coming February, defense minister Rajnath Singh said blockchain, artificial intelligence and big data are needed for next iteration of combat, according to The Times of India.
According to Singh :
“The role of AI, big data and blockchain technologies has already revolutionized the existing paradigm of warfighting. The defence industry is undergoing a churning to cope and employ these technologies, in order to safeguard the safety and security of critical infrastructure.”
As warfare shifts from air, land and sea engagements to cyberspace and space, Singh said countries need to develop these technologies.
The challenge now, he said, is “not just to prepare for contingencies but also to repel threats from multiple sources, and at the same time possess the ability to respond proactively if needed.”
India has expressed enthusiasm for blockchain in other areas too. The nations central bank indicated as far back as 2017 that it was looking into the development of a digital rupee. Later it was said to have developed a dedicated blockchain unit, a rumor it denied at the time.
Other nations are looking into blockchain as a tool to aid defense systems, including the U.S. Department of Defense which said this July it looking to develop a blockchain-based cybersecurity shield.
India Central Bank Says It Hasn’t Banned Crypto
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said regulated entities cannot offer crypto assets in the country, but that does not equate to an overall digital asset ban.
In a Jan. 21 article, The Economic Times of India cited a document the RBI submitted to the country’s supreme court in September, which said:
“Firstly, the RBI has not prohibited VCs (virtual currencies) in the country. The RBI has directed the entities regulated by it to not provide services to those persons or entities dealing in or settling VCs”
India ban drama
In an effort of regulation, India’s central bank (RBI) issued a statement in April 2018, limiting services to anyone participating in crypto asset usage. The RBI statement said:
“In view of the associated risks, it has been decided that, with immediate effect, entities regulated by RBI shall not deal with or provide services to any individual or business entities dealing with or settling VCs.”
Pushback against the ban
After the RBI’s statement, the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), a non-profit group dedicated to digital growth, petitioned for a reversal of the crypto-related regulation, Cointelegraph reported in July 2018.
On Jan. 19, 2020, Cointelegraph reported on a recent Indian Supreme Court hearing, citing Jan. 21 as the expected date on which RBI will provide further clarity on the situation.