These startups are demystifying blockchain

Nagpal says blockchain’s features of transparency, auditability and provable immutability (being able to prove mathematically that the data has not been tampered with) make it a compelling solution. Primechain offers blockchain contract management solutions (secure storage and maintenance of digital contracts) and blockchain APIs (application programming interfaces that make for effortless integration of blockchain with existing IT systems). The startup is also the tech provider for and runs Bankchain, a community of twenty four banks, including SBI, ICICI Bank, and Deutsche Bank, that is building and implementing blockchain solutions in areas like KYC, anti-money laundering, cross border payments, asset registry, and syndication of loans.

Ravi Jagannathan, Venkatraman Viravanallur and Mohit Sethi were the founding members of eMudhra, the digital signature certifying authority. In early 2016, the three came together to set up KyrpC, a platform that enables companies to use plain haul and drop devices to get blockchain proofs of concept (POCs). Over the past six months, KrypC has worked with several organisations across the globe, including one of the Big Four consulting firms.

The challenges are many. The lack of awareness about blockchain has made it difficult to attract investors. Signzy is among the few that have raised funds – their funding came from Kalaari Capital in November last year. Finding talent is a big fight. Avijit Sarkar, who co-founded CapOne Research in Estonia, has interviewed at least one hundred candidates in India, but ultimately brought in resources from Ukraine. “Countries like Estonia, Finland and Denmark are spearheading the blockchain movement. People there are ready to invest in learning and skilling themselves in the area,” he says.

Sharma of RecordsKeeper is investing substantial time in training students on online platforms. Ankit of Signzy says adoption is a challenge. “Banks choose to work with known names. With a tech as fresh as blockchain, sales cycles are longer because it takes time to prove its applicability,” he says.

But Karthik Iyer, founder of BlockchainMonk, which provides solutions and training for senior management and developers on blockchain, says since the technology is still evolving, there will be considerable effort involved in driving adoption. “For those who leap in and prove the technology, it is an arousing next few years.”

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