At one of our recent NASSCOM conferences, a lead speaker had remarked on a jocular note: “There are more Blockchain experts than users.” As we weigh the veracity of this statement (even though it was meant to be a joke) there’s no turning away from the fact that it’s a very complex piece of technology.
Things complex need to be evangelized and in a definitive way by which we can hack away the inevitable flurry of “fake news” that attaches in its wake, often as a result of ignorance. We have to make the right noise instead.
The implication of the RBI pronunciation which banned Cryptocurrency trading must be seen in its entirety, and separated from the larger discussion on Blockchain Technology which many believe to be an idea even more revolutionary than the internet. If anything, it’ll mark its second coming.
That, Blockchain is a very powerful technology is well established but we have to ensure that time is not lost in the incessant din. The myths need to be busted as does quick adoption and identification of trained professionals in this area. Else, we are likely to have an exodus of such people with niche and sought-after skills.
An overwhelming response which saw more than 3000-odd applications pouring in and equally, the extensive support from our partners for the “NIPP Blockchain Innovation Challenge”, we knew that we had hit something big!
The 1st Enterprise Blockchain focused pan-India NASSCOM hackathon (June – July, which concluded over a 36-hour final hackathon in Bangalore on July 28th & 29th) was a challenge thrown at Blockchain developers. 30th July being the day of crowning glory - demo, prize distribution and gala evening, was also about recognizing the NIPP Innovation Day. It was most encouraging to see 6 large corporates including Fidelity Investments, ICICI Bank, Amdocs, SAP Labs, Wipro and IBM (also the Technology Partner) joining us as strategic partners of the initiative and sharing 20 use-cases across 10 tracks such as BFSI, Retail-tech, Health-tech, Auto-tech, Telecom, Supply chain etc.
Inasmuch, the programme had a two-fold aim: To find solutions based on Blockchain Technology catering to different industries, and in process, identify emerging Blockchain Start-ups in India. In addition, the initiative also paved the way towards building a comprehensive Blockchain forum for enterprises, start-ups, developers, experts, and enthusiasts to come together for ideation and collaboration. Strong future linkages have been established.
The applicants were a diverse lot: start-ups, student teams and the enterprise developer community. The extensive process finally met the twin objectives of creating a solution repository of blockchain problems and talent identification.
Winners took away?
- Cash prizes upto INR 5.75 Lakhs
- Pilots/ PoC opportunities with participating corporate partners
- Fast track entry to incubation under NASSCOM 10K
- Opportunity for mentorship by industry experts
- Chance to pitch in front of high profile corporates/investors
- Strategic Partners: ICICI bank, Fidelity Investments, Wipro, Amdocs, LTI and SAP Labs
- Technology Partner: IBM
- Ecosystem Partners: Divum, Blockchained India, Appiness, Codeops, Innmind, Headstart, TieBangalore, Hasgeek and Inkher
- Registrations/Submissions Stage 1: Applications opened on 21st May. Originality, feasibility and impact on the industry, main criteria for assessment.
- IBM Workshops (23rd May to 2nd June): Day-long workshops each, across 6 cities, with IBM as our Strategic Partner. Primarily about bringing forth the true potential of the technology. Participants were most excited, being given 6 months access to IBM cloud, including the starter pack for Blockchain service, and they simply lapped it up.
- Pre-hackathon meet-ups/Submission Stage 2 (6th & 7th July) were organised in the top 3 cities (based on number of submissions) where shortlisted teams met mentors for one-on-one guidance sessions (Bangalore. Hyderabad and Gurgaon).
- Announcement of Shortlist (22nd July): Top 50 teams that qualified for the final hackathon.
- Final hackathon (28th & 29th July): A 36-hour hackathon, at our Bangalore Warehouse, where teams competed as part of the final leg of the NIPP Blockchain Challenge.
- Demo day (30th July) & prize distribution for the winning teams coincided with the NIPP Innovation Day where all 30 NIPP Partners met to felicitate the winners.
Fintech Track: Sponsored by Fidelity Investments
- Winner: Ayuda (Student Team from SRM University Chennai). They have also won an opportunity to intern with LTI's Blockchain CoE in Mumbai. They are aiming to disrupt P2P micro lending with a dynamically-priced, fair, and transparent blockchain-based system for financial inclusion.
2. 1st runner-up: Nuo Having created a unique protocol for creating collateral backed financial products, Nuo helps customers put products on the Blockchain.
- 2nd runner-up: Microchain(team of working professionals). They are building an Aadhar connected blockchain protocol through which anyone can avail low-interest loans from micro-finance companies.
Banking Track: Sponsored by ICICI Bank
- Winner: Infimonk (startup team). Blockchain application aimed at bringing efficiency into collateral based funding for farmers and maintain repayment capability.
2. 1st runner-up: SimplyFI (startup team). Simplifying Global trade solutions by enabling a trust network between trade & supply chain to get finances in time and compliance.
3. 2nd runner-up: Cubereum (startup team). Enterprise-grade blockchain solutions to simplify blockchain adoption in financial institutions.
LTI Most Innovative Solution: Sofocle Technologies (startup team)
· Identify & Eliminate Counterfeit Products - information of the product gets recorded on the Blockchain and tokenized.
Overall Track (Sponsored by 10,000 Start-ups)
- Winner - Bəsis (team of working professionals)
Bəsis created the platform for a Socially Incentivized Smart city that instills trust to engineer Socially responsible behaviour.
- 1st Runner-up - Print2block (startup team). The truthful Infrastructure for issuing True Digital Documents on private or Public Blockchain