The rise of emerging technologies in the Industry 4.0 era has its own sets of opportunities and challenges. As enterprises and industry players are warming up to distributed ledger technologies, governments have a significant role in shaping up the ecosystem through broad and comprehensive policies. Governments have realized the need to have an enabling regulatory framework with explicitly defined interoperability, standardization, and governance protocols.

There is a need to spread awareness about the challenges and discuss them threadbare. Workshops, seminars, conferences, webinars with thought leaders, policymakers, and industry experts act as a catalyst in dispelling myths and educate decision-makers about the need for having standards of governance. 

On 19th August, the Department of Technology, Government of Assam, in partnership with Assam Electronics Development Corporation(AMTRON) organized a one-day conference on blockchain technology at Assam Administrative Staff College, Guwahati. The keynote was delivered by Shri Vinod Seshan,  IAS, Secretary, Information Technology Department. Dr. Kalpesh Kapoor, Head, Computer & Communication Centre Professor, Department of Mathematics Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati set the ball rolling by covering the basics of blockchain. Aravind Bharathi A, Founder Akasa Labs, Bangalore spoke about Blockchain applications for the transformation of businesses and challenges. Mr.Dilip Saha, Head Of Engineering, Advance Engineering and Platform (Blockchain), Robert Bosch Engineering and Business Solutions Pvt. Ltd waxed eloquently about innovation beyond cryptocurrencies and work done by  Bosch’s Innovation Team in areas of agriculture and healthcare. Mr. Saha was accompanied by Mr. Pranav Pathak, Blockchain Consultant & Evangelist. Blockchain Consultant & Evangelist Professor Rudrapatna K Shyamasundar, JC Bose National Fellow and Distinguished V. Professor, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, Powai talked about the need to leverage Blockchain for improving governance in crucial areas – Land records, Healthcare, and Ease of Doing Business.

I had the privilege of speaking about the necessity of a nation-wide blockchain policy to facilitate growth and innovation in the country. States can take the lead by starting pilots in areas such as vital records management.  China has a national AI policy that has helped China in capturing the numero uno spot in the AI space. India is ahead of its peers in fintech, thanks to startup and industry-friendly fintech policy. India has pipped China in terms of investments received in the fintech domain. This underscores the significance of a national policy that caters to all emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, machine learning, and IoT.

In the absence of interoperability standards and security guidelines, creating an effective policy is a real challenge.  Quantum computers can make cryptography useless.  As the technology matures, new sets of problems will crop up, but this should not deter us from creating policies. We cannot afford a policy vacuum because it is worse than policy paralysis.

Author:

Sharat Chandra

Sharat is an Author, Keynote Speaker, Blockchain Evangelist, Educator and is featured among World’s Top 100 Blockchain Influencers & Leaders. He has advised many blockchain startups in Identity Management and Fintech space. Sharat is also volunteering as President of India Chapter, Government Blockchain Association, a global non-profit organization, helping governments across the world understand and adopt blockchain.