Application potential in different domains such as governance, banking and finance, cyber security
India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has identified Blockchain Technology as one of the important research areas having application potential in different domains such as governance, banking, finance, and cyber security.
MeitY has supported a multi-institutional project titled Distributed Centre of Excellence in Blockchain Technology with C-DAC, IDRBT and VJTI as executing agencies. As part of this initiative, agencies have carried out research on the use of Blockchain Technology in identified domains and developed Proof-of-Concept solutions and piloted them.
Blockchain Technology based solution for property registration has been successfully developed and is piloted at Shamshabad District, Telangana State. Proof-of-Concept solutions are developed for enabling Cloud Security Assurance, CKYC and trade finance. Generic Blockchain based Proof-of Existence (PoE) Framework is developed to enable PoE for digital artifacts, used to check the integrity of academic certificates, sale deed documents, MoU etc.
By using PoE framework, a solution is developed to authenticate academic certificates and is being piloted at C-DAC Advanced Computing Training School.
To promote the development of Blockchain ecosystem the team has also demonstrated the implemented solutions to various other states and has successfully conducted capacity building programs specifically for user agencies. C-DAC is also a founding member of Blockchain District initiative of Telangana State.
Centre of Excellence (CoE) in Blockchain technology was established by NIC in association with NICSI. The objectives of CoE are to accelerate adoption and deployment of Blockchain technology in Government, execute projects focussing on different use cases, pilot deployment, offer Blockchain-Platform as a service to ramp up the design and development of solutions, offer consultancy services and capacity building.
CoE is focusing on collaboration across Government, public and private sectors. The application areas identified and developed through CoE are Blood Bank, Digidhan, Public Distribution System, Land Registration, GST Backoffice, Excise Management System and so on. NITI Aayog has recognized Blockchain as a promising Technology enabling features such as decentralization, transparency, and accountability.
NITI Aayog has executed various use cases in Blockchain Technology and piloted them in association with various Government departments and Private agencies. These use cases include land records, pharmaceutical supply chain, fertilizer subsidy disbursement, educational certificates. C-DAC has successfully carried out PoCs and pilot deployments, which has given confidence that Blockchain Technology is going to play a transformative role for the industry 4.0, Government and public sectors.
C-DAC has identified Blockchain Technology as one of the mission areas. C-DAC’s vision is to design and develop Blockchain Technology solutions to provide trusted & auditable shared infrastructure for cross domain application development and large-scale deployment.
C-DAC’s mission in Blockchain Technology in categorised in the following top level components: Unified Blockchain Framework: Unified Blockchain Platform for cross domain applications addressing the performance, scalability, interoperability, security and privacy challenges
Blockchain Services: eSign integrated with Blockchain based Proof-of-Existence (PoE)
Blockchain Applications for different domains:
- Blockchain for Track and Trace
- Blockchain for Electronic Health Record (EHR)
- Blockchain based Digital Evidence Management System
- Security for IoT Deployment
- Blockchain for Self-Sovereign Identity
- Blockchain Technology for APEDA TraceNet
Blockchain technology for government e-Marketplace (GeM) Platform, Blockchain Technology for Voting and Blockchain based Property Record Management System.
Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is exploring on applying Blockchain Technology in banking domain. Mahindra and IBM are jointly collaborating on supply chain management solution. SBI has associated with commercial banks and financial institutions for Blockchain based application pilot. Yes Bank, Axis Bank and ICICI Bank are also adopting Blockchain in their banking business. As per Blockchain Report 2019 of NASSCOM Avasant India, different states across India have initiated Blockchain based use cases. Land registry, Farm insurance and Digital Certificates are the top three use cases.
Challenges to the adoption of Blockchain Technology Despite the fact that Blockchain technology is very encouraging and with immense potential, it still encounters a few challenges for adoption in India. Apart from the technological challenges, there also exists legal challenges that needs to be resolved before adopting this technology.
The technological challenges are from the perspective of performance and scalability, security and privacy, geographically distributed infrastructure requirements, lack of skillset & awareness among user agencies.
Some of technological challenges for the large-scale adoption of Blockchain are elaborated below: Performance and Scalability challenges:
- Unlike traditional centralised systems, the decentralized architecture of Blockchain means it will be slower than traditional systems. Considering this, designing a system that provides faster synchronisation is important. While significant research is being made in this area, initial use-cases should be chosen with care so as not to require real-time processing and results.
- In Blockchain data is replicated on each node and this may lead to performance issues many a times. Further, the performance also is affected due to calculations associated with encryption- decryption and hashing at every node.
- Scalability aspects of Blockchain systems are affected by the factors such as architecture, configuration of the Blockchain platform, variable requirements for processing power, network bandwidth, block size, Consensus, transaction validation mechanisms, privacy requirements, file system and data storage. The design architecture of Blockchain network and platform should address these scalability requirements.
- Storage – Blockchain is considered to be an append only data storage mechanism. As data stored in the Blockchain cannot be modified, it becomes perpetual and also is replicated at all the nodes in the network. This demands a heavy resource in terms of storage and may become an issue as the chain of blocks grow.
- Transaction details and interoperability – A design decision on what part of the application data goes offchain and onchain is crucial for establishing good performance benefits. The details of the transactions which need to be kept should be minimum and would depend on the targeted application. In order to get the benefit of interoperability across similar applications, transaction standardization for certain class of applications has to be evolved.
Being distributed in nature, resource allocations for the network and node infrastructure would vary and would depend on the cost of network maintenance, peripheral security, and other essential requirements.
Lower resource allocations in such cases may have performance impact on the entire system. Moreover, challenges related to deploying Blockchain Infrastructure spanning across the country also needs to be addressed.