Various Indian news outlets have reported that the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) is exploring web3 and building an Indian national blockchain infrastructure. In fact, it has been working on a project since June 2022 after updating its blockchain strategy in late 2021.
The project is not dissimilar to Europe’s EBSI and, to a lesser extent, the domestic arm of China’s Blockchain-based service network (BSN).
India’s project is called the Unified Blockchain Framework for offering National Blockchain Service and creation of Ecosystem. It aims to provide a blockchain-as-a-service infrastructure so that developers don’t have to worry about the heavy lifting involved in setting up blockchain nodes, their security and interoperability with other blockchains. It will also provide smart contract templates for a variety of use cases.
The applications being explored emphasize government use cases, but the project will also investigate the relevance of blockchain in industries such as shipping, logistics and finance. The government applications include health records, tax enforcement, and education certificates. This is why Europe’s EBSI is a closer model because it focuses on public applications, whereas China’s BSN makes it easier for SMEs to adopt blockchain.
In many cases, Indian applications will link to blockchains via APIs. Regarding the underlying blockchain technology, enterprise blockchains Hyperledger Fabric and Sawtooth are the first ones to be deployed. Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) will be supported.
Last year the CEO of the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) called for an Indian blockchain platform that should embrace public and enterprise blockchains.