SWIFT, the global provider of secure financial messaging service has partnered with MonetaGO, which provides private blockchain solutions for the financial services industry. Together, they will push blockchain in India by increasing its’ adoption in the Indian banking sector. They have announced a pilot program.
The move is particularly interesting. The Government of India (GoI), and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), i.e., the country’s central bank are not in favor of cryptocurrencies. However, both welcome the blockchain technology.
India is making a big digital push. The GoI is keen on strengthening and expanding the digital footprint. A biometrics-based unique identifier, a sustained focus on digital payment, and a serious focus on e-Governance are just some of the pillars.
Given this context, many industry-watchers wonder why India continues to oppose cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ether. Cryptocurrencies and blockchain are closely related, therefore, some experts believe that this tough stance might make blockchain start-ups leave India.
However, this is not the complete picture. While GoI and RBI have consistently opposed crypto, their view on blockchain is diametrically opposite. Like Indian businesses, GoI is actively encouraging blockchain in India.
GoI is taking an active interest in this technology. NITI Ayog, i.e., a premier GoI-owned thinktank in India, is piloting blockchain for several use cases. Neither is the interest in this technology confined to the central government.
Several state governments in the country are piloting the technology. Maharashtra, the industrial state in the Western part of the country, is experimenting with the blockchain technology. Andhra Pradesh, another Indian state in the southern part of the country is actively exploring the technology.
SWIFT India, i.e., the Indian subsidiary of SWIFT, counts many Indian banks among their customers. They provide secure financial messaging services to these banks. MonetaGO already has agreements with several banks in India. Their work in India includes developing blockchain platforms for payment, remittance, and trade-finance settlement.
The SWIFT/MonetaGo partnership and the pilot project will include several functional areas. For e.g., fraud mitigation to avoid double-financing is one area. Check authenticity will also be part of the pilot program. Kiran Shetty, the CEO of SWIFT India, and Jesse Chenard, the CEO MonetaGO are both understandably upbeat about the pilot project.