Blockchain-3 (Image credit C Brett 2017)

 

BankChain is an Indian bank platform for exploring, building and implementing blockchain solutions. BankChain has selected Microsoft Azure as its exclusive cloud partner. Twenty BankChain members – including State Bank of India (SBI), ICICI Bank, DCB Bank, Kotak Bank, Bank of Baroda, Deutsche Bank and others – will use the Azure Blockchain as the underlying blockchain platform.

SBI’s Collaborative Innovation Centre (CIC) along with other banks in BankChain will start testing and validating various Primechain Blockchain Pilots. Sudin Baraokar, Head Innovation, SBI states, “Azure will help enable agile Cloud nodes build and configuration. This will propel the BankChain consortium members to work together as a unified team”.

Sudin Baraokar, State Bank of India
Sudin Baraokar, State Bank of India

BankChain and PrimeChain

BankChain is a platform for banks for exploring, building and implementing blockchain solutions. Membership to BankChain is open to banks, NBFCs, payment banks and other financial institutions. Primechain Technologies is the driving force behind the BankChain consortium.

Microsoft will work with PrimeChain, to develop lockchain use cases. The first active project is Primechain-KYC, a permission based blockchain for:

  • integrated and shared Know Your Customer (KYC)
  • Anti Money Laundering
  • Countering the Financing of Terrorism.

Blockchain potential in India for Microsoft Azure

Blockchain has immense potential to fundamentally change the way markets and governments work. According to KPMG, over the next quarter, there will likely be a continued focus on developing more robust business cases for blockchain solutions, while interest in blockchain will likely expand further into the insurance and asset management sectors.

The Indian government is expected to release regulations for fintech, particularly related to peer-to-peer lending, which could lead to additional activity. From an overall fintech activity perspective, in Q1 2017 interest grew in India. It accounted for around four of the top ten deals this quarter.Payments and lending have driven investment although interest in AI also increased.

Azure BlockChain

Microsoft launched Azure Blockchain to provide an open, hyper-scale cloud platform with an ecosystem of blockchain technologies. The cloud approach enables these to learn and innovate through pilots and prototypes in a cost-effective manner. In India, Microsoft delivers availability of Azure Blockchain from local, hyper-scale datacenters with:

  • hybrid cloud capabilities
  • a extensive compliance certification portfolio
  • enterprise security.

These enterprise capabilities will help enable rapid blockchain adoption in regulated sectors. These include like banking and financial services, insurance and healthcare, as well as government.

What’s it mean?

This is a coup for Microsoft. Indian banking is a long way behind. If it succeeds with blockchain it could leapfrog most Western banking systems. It could also bring a stability and reach to Indian banking that many would appreciate. The involvement of the SBI is of particular note.

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Charles Brett is a business/technology analyst consultant. His specialist areas include enterprise software, blockchain and enterprise mobility tech (including metering). Specific industry sectors of interest and experience include finance (especially systems supporting wholesale finance), telecommunications and energy. Charles has spoken at multiple industry conferences, has written for numerous publications (including the London Times and the Financial Times). He was the General Chair of the bi-annual High Performance Systems Workshop, 2005. In addition he is an author and novelist. His Technology books include: Making the Most of Mobility Vol I (eBook, 2012); Explaining iTunes, iPhones and iPads for Windows Users (eBook, 2011); 5 Axes of Business Application Integration (2004). His published novels, in the Corruption Series, include: The HolyPhone Confessional Crisis, Corruption’s Price: A Spanish Deceit and Virginity Despoiled. The fourth in The Corruption Series - Resurrection - has is now available. Charles has a B.A. and M.A in Modern History from the University of Oxford. He has lived or worked in Italy, Abu Dhabi, South Africa, California and New York, Spain, Israel, Estonia and Cyprus.

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