Spotlight: Banking Giant ICICI Promoting Blockchain Technology in India
May 5, 2018 by Akshay Makadiya
The regulatory situation has been tense in India in recent months. But Indian banking giant ICICI is promoting blockchain technology on LinkedIn regardless in a bid to spread awareness about the revolutionary technology. The bank has harped on the benefits of distributed ledger technology at a time when many official Indian institutions are contending with the blockchain question. Can ICICI change hearts and minds in the country?
Also see: Indonesia Turning to Blockchain Technology for Better Governance
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ICICI Becoming India’s Blockchain Leader?
ICICI’s blockchain-centric discourse as of late highlights security, decentralization, and trust as the three key benefits of distributed ledgers.
The Indian banking giant has boasted of being the first Indian bank to successfully perform a banking transaction via blockchain in association with Dubai’s biggest lender Emirates NBD. The bank performed the transaction in 2016 and is now pushing the initiative, and others like it, forward.
That reality alone is an interesting dynamic, insofar as India’s top officials been increasingly have to contend with the fact that Indian citizens and businesses are increasingly adopting blockchain tech and cryptocurrencies — whether these officials like it or not.
In this environment, ICICI bank seems clearly set on becoming a blockchain leader in the country. Highlighting the adoption of the technology, Chanda Kochhar, CEO of ICICI Bank, recently stated:
“ICICI Bank has a rich legacy of leveraging the latest technology to bring in new paradigms in banking. We were the first in the country and among few globally to pioneer cross-border open account trade finance and remittance transactions on blockchain.”
Tailor-Made Blockchain for Trade Finance
Earlier this year, the private-sector ICICI also joined forces over 250 corporate businesses to perform domestic and international trade finance on its tailored blockchain platform. The participants hope to leverage the platform to actualize secure, cost-effective, and fast domestic and cross-border payments.
With the revolutionary technology international transactions are completed in real time, whereas using the existing banking system can take days. The bureaucratic paper-intensive financial system could also be modernized accordingly.
In reference to the development, ICICI CEO Kochhar said:
“I am delighted to share that we have scaled up the operations to sign over 250 corporations on our blockchain solution for trade transactions, the maximum for any blockchain solution in the country. I envision that the emerging technology of blockchain holds an immense potential to simplify the document-intensive trade transactions by bringing all stakeholders on a single platform.”
A Shortfall of Blockchain Professionals
The technology has created incredible demand for specialist labor in a very short period of time, hence the ongoing shortage of blockchain professionals prevalent across the globe.
Addressing the shortfall, Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi had earlier stated:
“Disruptive technologies such as Blockchain and the IoT, will have a profound impact in the way we live and work. They will require rapid adaptation in our workplaces.”
India possesses a huge info-tech technical talent pool, yet many have kept away from the burgeoning DLT field. It’s a reality ICICI and others in the country will increasingly contend with as more and more companies fight for what talent is available.
Will distributed ledgers transform India’s financial services industry? Share your views in the comments section.
Images via Glassdoor, Pune