R3 is an enterprise software firm that is pioneering digital industry transformation. It delivers purpose-built distributed ledger technology for all types of businesses in all industries. Developed in collaboration with an ecosystem of more than 350 institutions, R3’s enterprise blockchain platform, Corda, is transforming entire industries by digitalizing the processes and systems that firms rely on to connect and transact with each other.
Here, Amit Ghosh, Head of Asia Pacific, R3, tells us more. Excerpts from an interview:
DQ: What is the current scenario of blockchain and its adoption in the country?
Amit Ghosh: According to Gartner, by 2025, the business value added by blockchain will grow to slightly more than $176 billion, then surge to exceed $3.1 trillion by 2030. Against the backdrop of a global pandemic, digital transformation initiatives must move beyond their experimental phases into implementation. Blockchain, having proven its ability to deliver real impact in a multitude of sectors within the APAC region, is a key part of the technology stack as companies look to stay nimble in times of turbulence and uncertainty.
The pandemic has exposed several vulnerabilities in various sectors and their conventional business-management methods. India has already begun its transformation into a digitally empowered society through Prime Minister Modi’s Digital India initiative, and blockchain will be a key part of the transformation.
So far, active applications of blockchain technology have been gaining the most traction in the financial services, trade finance and supply chain, and insurance industry in India. R3 has been exploring other industry use cases throughout the region and is well positioned to lead this technological transformation. India has the potential to become a global leader in the wide-scale adoption of blockchain and has already established its place in the blockchain industry as one of the leading nations in blockchain patents.
DQ: What are the verticals that you cater to and how? Please share examples.
Amit Ghosh: Launched in September 2015, R3 is an enterprise software firm working with a global ecosystem of more than 350 participants across multiple industries from both the private and public sectors to develop on Corda, its open source blockchain platform, and Corda Enterprise, a commercial version of Corda for enterprise usage.
We see a significant amount of Corda applications in the APAC region in the blockchain industry. Countries like India, Thailand, Singapore, Australia, Japan, and Hong Kong became the center of blockchain innovation and progress. These countries optimize R3’s Corda to smoothen the business operations, increase levels of automation, and create new business opportunities.
Specific to India, we have several industries of focus:
DQ: What are R3’s strategic plans for the Indian market?
Amit Ghosh: We always anticipated that widespread adoption of blockchain would be a gradual process. As with any emerging technology, it takes time for industries to adapt and integrate new systems with existing infrastructure. Within the Indian market, we’re very pleased with the uptake of Corda to date and the level of adoption is well beyond our expectations.
So far, we see active applications of blockchain technology gaining the most traction in the financial services, supply chain, and insurance industry in India. As the largest ecosystem in the enterprise blockchain space, we’re in continuous dialogue with a wide and diverse range of businesses, regulators and various blockchain initiatives. We are also focused on working with partners building on Corda, to discover new ways to leverage blockchain technology in their respective industries.
For example, we are working with the Kerala Blockchain Academy (KBA) to explore the disruptive potential of blockchain for achieving public good through research, development, and entrepreneurship. Within the supply chain space, we work with Infosys Finacle in their construction and maintenance of Finacle Trade Connect, a trade finance application, with eighteen banking groups and 250 corporate users onboarded.
By creating a distributed, global business network of nodes running Finacle Trade Connect, the trial facilitates smooth trade finance transactions for intra-country and inter-country groups.
R3 is currently working with partners to explore other verticals that will benefit from Corda and expand our presence in the market.
DQ: What is Corda and its value proposition to enterprises?
Amit Ghosh: Corda is an open source blockchain platform that enables businesses to transact directly and in strict privacy using smart contracts, reducing transaction and record-keeping costs, and streamlining business operations.
In a world of permissionless blockchain platforms, in which all data is shared with all parties, Corda’s strict privacy model allows businesses to transact securely and seamlessly.
R3 delivers an interoperable and fully compatible distribution of the platform—Corda Enterprise, an enterprise blockchain platform which offers features and services fine-tuned for modern-day businesses.
Corda Enterprise offers the robustness and professional support expected from enterprise software carefully tested and designed to transact and protect highly valuable assets.
Designed and deployed with input from more than 2,000 industry experts, including C-Suites, technicians, systems integrators and technological specialists, Corda is the first custom built blockchain for enterprise, designed for business, by businesses—and prioritizes easy integration, presenting businesses with easily deployable solutions, not more problems.
Corda’s strength comes from its vibrant ecosystem of CorDapps (applications developed on Corda), built by our rapidly growing network of partners who generate significant revenue and harness the power of Corda. These CorDapps overcome the specific challenges faced by their customers and are already being used in industries across the public and private sector, from financial services to healthcare, shipping, insurance and more.
DQ: What are the common misconceptions and challenges related to blockchain? How are you working to resolve them?
Amit Ghosh: When adopting any type of new technology, it is very common for large businesses with established legacy systems to strategically evaluate implementation of new technology as overhauling existing systems can prove disruptive to their business. Businesses need to ensure that new technology has low time to value, fits with their strategic objectives, and can work with their existing technology investments.
This has been the main challenge preventing firms and businesses from implementing blockchain technology. However, R3’s flagship product Corda, is built by businesses for businesses—meaning that it easily integrates with legacy systems and reduces downtime in a firm’s daily operations.
By providing a blockchain platform and professional services tailored for business needs, R3 has been helping countless businesses overcome the challenges of legacy-based enterprise technology platforms. Efficiency, expediency, and flexibility will be the currency of business in the new world order. It will require knowledge sharing, collaboration, and a new way of working across data silos and national borders to ensure progress.
For companies hoping to not only survive but thrive in this new world, blockchain will enable tomorrow’s industry leaders to make better decisions, collaborate across national and industry lines, reacting quicker to market turbulence and changing consumer attitudes.
DQ: What is the role of blockchain in a post-Covid-19 world?
Amit Ghosh: With the global economy slumping, the limitations of traditionally run enterprises have been laid bare. Many have been left wanting in their operational processes and business continuity plans. In the new world order, the currency of business will be efficiency, expediency, and flexibility. Blockchain can play a substantial role in making previously difficult-to-implement business models more feasible.
For businesses dealing with sensitive or confidential information, a permissioned blockchain can limit data sharing to a need-to-know basis, with strict authentication requirements, providing both disintermediation and decentralisation without sacrificing privacy or security. Blockchain will enable tomorrow’s industry leaders to make better decisions, collaborate across national and industry lines, enhancing responsiveness to market turbulence and changing consumer attitudes.