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Real mastery comes from creating, not just consuming: Ramkumar Venkatesan, CTO, Cashfree Payments

Ramkumar Venkatesan, CTO, Cashfree Payments, shares insights into the transformative potential of fintech and the technologies driving India's digital payments revolution on the occasion of National Technology Day 2024

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Supriya Rai
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Cashfree Payments

Cashfree Payments

In the dynamic landscape of India's digital economy, fintech stands as a beacon of innovation and inclusion. As the nation charts its course towards the ambitious milestone of a $5 trillion economy, the role of fintech emerges as pivotal. Ramkumar Venkatesan, CTO, Cashfree Payments, shares insights into the transformative potential of fintech and the technologies driving India's digital payments revolution on the occasion of National Technology Day 2024.

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DQ: What role do you see fintechs play in India's journey towards becoming a $5 trillion economy? Which emerging technologies are you most excited about that have the potential to revolutionise the future of digital payments in India?

Ramkumar Venkatesan: Fintech is proving to be India’s digital success story in the last decade and the sector will play a major role in India’s ascent to becoming a $5 trillion economy. In my time in the space I’ve realised it injects agility and innovation into financial services while unlocking new avenues for inclusion and growth by making finance more accessible to individuals and businesses. Innovations like UPI have showcased India's prowess in digital payments, and we’re seeing its success now being replicated in several countries globally. At Cashfree Payments, we're excited to participate in the country’s growth and we’re leveraging multiple emerging technologies to make payments more seamless and secure for our users.. One example is our use of AI in our risk and fraud protection product RiskShield which leverages AI to guard merchants against fraudulent transactions. Apart from AI, biometrics for frictionless authentification also holds promise. As India embraces frameworks like Account Aggregator and ONDC, which have fintech aspects attached to them as well, we anticipate more opportunities to innovate and solve pressing financial challenges, ultimately propelling India's digital economy forward.

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DQ: On Technology Day, what message would you give to young Indian minds interested in pursuing careers in Fintech and digital payment?

Ramkumar Venkatesan: Technology Day is a reminder of how much the world has changed thanks to tech while also ensuring that as a tech community, we keep our momentum in innovation ramped up. To young Indians exploring fintech and digital payments, I say that this field is full of opportunities to make an impact at scale. Get familiar with AI/ML, blockchain, and cybersecurity—they're driving the future of finance.

But remember, real mastery comes from creating, not just consuming. Ensure your learning never stops, take courses that offer hands-on experience and consider contributing to open-source projects. They're hubs of collaboration and innovation. Embrace the spirit of community-driven development where we can achieve more together.

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As you start this journey, know that every challenge is a chance to grow. Stay resilient, keep learning, and let's use technology to make finance fairer and more inclusive. So, on this Technology Day, let's commit to using technology for the greater good—to make finance accessible to all and build a better world together.

DQ: Could you elaborate on the technology powering a few recent innovations by Cashfree Payments? Additionally, how do you ensure that a new product is prepared to scale and manage 10x or 100x volumes?

Ramkumar Venkatesan: Our recent innovations at Cashfree Payments are based on the foundation of a technologically advanced stack designed for scalability, reliability, and performance. We leverage microservices architecture coupled with containerisation and orchestration technologies like Docker and Kubernetes to build modular, resilient systems that can handle dynamic workloads. Event-driven architectures enable real-time processing and seamless integration with external systems. To ensure readiness for exponential growth, we employ a combination of load testing, horizontal scaling, and auto-scaling mechanisms. By monitoring key performance indicators and leveraging cloud-native infrastructure, we proactively optimise resource utilisation and mitigate bottlenecks. This approach empowers us to confidently scale our products to accommodate 10x or 100x volumes while maintaining optimal performance and cost efficiency.

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DQ: What are the security engineering procedures and protocols implemented at Cashfree Payments to ensure compliance and security for businesses utilising your products?

Ramkumar Venkatesan: Security is at the core of everything we do at Cashfree Payments, and our engineering procedures and protocols reflect our unwavering commitment to safeguarding customer data and ensuring regulatory compliance. We adhere to industry best practices and standards such as PCI DSS, ISO 27001, and OWASP to establish a robust security posture. Encryption at rest and in transit, multifactor authentication, and role-based access control mechanisms safeguard sensitive information from unauthorised access and data breaches. Continuous monitoring and vulnerability scanning enable us to identify and remedy security threats in real time. Regular security audits and penetration testing further validate the efficacy of our security controls. By fostering a culture of security awareness and investing in employee training, we ensure that security remains a top priority in every aspect of our product development and operations.

DQ: Building a secure and scalable digital payments platform requires a robust DevOps culture. How does your engineering team leverage engineering culture/ DevOps principles to achieve continuous integration, delivery, and deployment?

Ramkumar Venkatesan: Our engineering team at Cashfree Payments embodies a DevOps culture that emphasises collaboration, automation, and continuous improvement. We encourage engineers to imbibe customer connectedness. We do this by ensuring that I team is a part of customer feedback conversations so they understand how our products are received. No matter what the feedback is, it helps stimulate innovation at a mindset level. Furthermore, we encourage them to go beyond their roles and automate internal processes. We leverage infrastructure as code and configuration management tools like Ansible and Chef to automate the provisioning and configuration of our cloud infrastructure. Continuous integration and delivery pipelines enable us to rapidly and reliably deploy changes to our production environment, with automated testing and deployment gates ensuring code quality and stability. By adopting a microservices architecture and containerisation with Docker, we decouple components and enable independent development and deployment cycles. Real-time monitoring and alerting provide visibility into system performance and enable proactive issue resolution. Blameless postmortems and knowledge-sharing sessions also foster a culture of learning and continuous improvement. Through these practices, we empower our engineering team to iterate rapidly, deliver value continuously, and maintain the security and scalability of our digital payments platform.

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