Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Releases Bullish Report on Blockchain for Clearing, Settlement

An employee counts currency notes at a cash counter inside a bank in Kolkata June 18, 2012. REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri/Files

According to a recent whitepaper Applications Of Blockchain To Banking And Financial Sector In India released by the Institute for Development and Research in Banking Technology (IDRBT), an arm of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) – the advantages of Blockchain implementation in banking and finance includes cost savings, efficiency and transparency – and there are plans for implementation of Blockchain in the financial industry in India. 

R. Ghandi Deputy Governor, Reserve Bank of India Chairman, IDRBT writes: 

During recent years, banking industry across the globe is closely observing the developments in one such disruptive innovation viz., the Blockchain technology (BCT). BCT provides tamper-evident recording of the linked transaction history in a distributed network, and has the potential to disrupt the financial business applications. Sound theoretical underpinnings of BCT such as fault-tolerant distributed computing and consensus have been studied for the past two decades.

The nature of BCT addresses risks and inefficiencies in multi-party systems, and that is where its benefits will be most widely received. Applications of BCT for encoding economic signals have been in vogue for the past decade and the claims that it may be useful for digitizing currency are being studied.

Smart-contracts are an advanced application of BCT that can encode complex business workflows for enforcing their conformance, and enhances efficiency through event triggered mechanisms.

Several BCT platforms provide the necessary features to encode smart-contracts in a simple and efficient manner. IDRBT has taken the initiative of exploring the applicability of BCT to the Indian Banking and Financial Industry by conducting a workshop involving all the stakeholders such as the academicians, bankers, regulators and technology partners.

In the process, the participants of the workshop came together to bring out this White Paper detailing the technology, concerns, global experiences and possible areas of adoption in the financial sector in India. The Institute has also attempted a Proof-of-Concept (PoC) on the applicability of BCT to a trade finance application with active participation of NPCI, banks and solution provider, the details of which are presented in the White Paper. I congratulate IDRBT for the timely initiative and trust that the White Paper provides the necessary impetus towards accelerating the adoption of this innovative technology. All members of the Working Group deserve compliments for their inputs and efforts.

The working group included experts from the central bank, IBA, NPCI, CCIL, ISI, State Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, Bank of Baroda, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Axis Bank, Citi Bank, Deutsche Bank, Infosys, TCS, IBM Research, Deloitte and MonetaGo.