Interview with Renowned Chartered Accountant – Aanchal Thakur about Blockchain

Bob Coiney

July 13, 2020

Cryptoiscoming had a very interesting interview with renowned Chartered Accountant Aanchal Thakur from India. Aanchal has been in the Blockchain industry for a while and we were able to gather more insight into her thoughts in the industry.

Q. To begin with please introduce yourself and how you got involved with blockchain. We would also love to hear about your Blockchain journey so far.

I am the founder of DayOrg Consulting Group(DCG). At DCG we provide strategic, financial and legal consulting to organizations working with disruptive technologies.

I am a qualified Chartered Accountant, Information Systems Auditor, Agile Coach and certified Blockchain Expert(functional).

During the last 12 years, gained extensive experience of working with Banking and Fintech organisations. Some of the well known Blockchain projects from Indian founders have been our clients.

I have been an ambassador for a couple of International Blockchain projects for Indian subcontinent and also mentored a few startups.

I have been fortunate enough to speak and contribute at various forums on regulations around disruptive technologies, use cases and the regulatory environment around the same. I have also been featured in India’s first TV show on Blockchain and Crypto(Hard Fork)

Q. You have been in the industry for more than 11 years now, and have been a keen watcher of trends and developments, How different do you think is the approach to innovation between India and other Asian countries?

Indians are highly skilled and I have been fortunate to meet a lot of innovators in India. But if you look at the number of patents filed, we lag behind most of the countries. 

In 2017, 600000 patents were filed in the US and more than double this number was filed in China. While in India, the number of patents filed was only 46,600.

For a population of 130 + Crores, the number of patents filed is very low in India. 

Innovative Indian minds prefer to move to other countries where they get supportive regulatory environment and higher chances of funding. Indian IT industry has been primarily service based. As per Global Innovation Index, Singapore, South Korea and Japan are the most innovative Asian countries. India stands at 9th position in Asia.

Improvement in the following parameters can help us provide a more conducive environment for innovation :

  • Supportive regulatory framework and regulations to support disruptive innovations
  • More funding support for startups and a culture of innovation in educational institutions
  • Higher focus on Research and development and focus on creating intellectual property rights
  • Laws and stringent implementation to provide better IPR protection.

Q. You are aware that the Matic network has roped in Infosys as its partner validator, do you think it is a big step for Blockchain to bloom in India with reliable brands stepping in?

Tech Giants like Infosys, becoming a dapp partner validator for a public blockchain project, is certainly a big step. It indeed shows that the Indian IT industry is not apprehensive of public blockchain projects and hence Cryptocurrencies (every public blockchain project requires cryptocurrencies to run).

An even better validation of this has come just a few days back, when TCS (India’s largest IT service company with a market cap of over $ 120 billion) launched Quartz Smart Solution, to help financial institutions launch Cryptocurrency trading.

With TCS offering a crypto currency trading product for financial institutions, it is now clear that they see a market for the same. With validation by Indian IT conglomerates, many more startups should come up with innovative solutions in this space.

Q. What do you think about Blockchain standardizations efforts?

I am not very convinced that Blockchain standardization efforts are working for now. Each Blockchain, has its own set of standards and the followers(tribe so to say) of that blockchain want people to use their blockchain and hence their standards. That helps the price of their coin to grow. 

But that is not how we can make Blockchain the language of technology in future. When Internet came http, html, xmpp etc all used to go through IETF standards committee for approval. Then there are other standards setting committees of the world like ISO, IEEE, ITU and W3C. These are international standards setting organisations, which made internet truly global phenomena.

In Blockchain space, we do not have any such standards setting committees. The existing organisations have not supported or created any standards for Blockchain yet. Ethereum has its own Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, EOS has its own EOS alliance and so do other blockchains. This distributes the efforts spent in developing the technology of Blockchain itself.

Then there are projects like Polkadot, Wanchain, Cosmos etc. which are trying to allow users to create an internet where independent blockchains can exchange information and transactions in a trustless way. They are working on bringing interoperability. But we will have to see how much these will be adopted.

Q. How important you think is the interoperability between the different implementations of blockchain technology?

In my opinion, it is very important. 

Different Blockchains and their ecosystems are being developed as we speak. Number of developers are working on taking these blockchains ahead. There are improvements in speed, consensus and various other factors of various blockchains. Without interoperability, every blockchain will work in a silo and have its own set of consensus mechanisms, users, speed, governance structure etc. 

It is already difficult for the users to identify which is the best blockchain to support their unique business model. In such a scenario, to ensure that Blockchain scales and becomes commonplace in businesses, it is important that different Blockchains talk to each other. 

This can be achieved only by Blockchain interoperability. 

Projects like Wanchain, Cosmos, PolkaDot etc are doing good work for interoperability amongst blockchains. If they are successful, then they can become the Internet of Blockchains.

Q. How do you think Blockchain could change the world

Blockchain, essentially public blockchains, are the layer of trust in the internet.

With the decentralisation offered by Blockchain, it is possible to execute contracts, make transactions and almost do every digital transaction in a trustless manner. This is huge.

As per Harvard Business Review, “ It can provide an immutable, digital audit trail of transactions, and can be used to cheaply verify the integrity of data. It can help businesses and individuals agree, on a global scale, about the true state of affairs within a market without relying on a costly intermediary.”

Blockchain can transform the way we vote, distribute electricity, disburse loans, claim insurance, tenders are awarded, land records are maintained, supply chain is managed, benefits are passed on to the end consumer etc. One of a major transformation will happen in cross border payments, where the time and cost will be reduced immensely. 

I can keep on talking about the benefits and use cases of Blockchain. It has a very wide scope of application.

Q. What are the current limitations in India that are not letting the industry grow in India the way it should?

  1. Lack of regulations is the biggest hindrance for growth of Blockchain and Crypto based innovation and projects in India. Without regulations, innovators in this area find challenges in raising funds, adoption and even to pay taxes. 

So many innovative projects have been registered in countries outside India, where founders are Indians. We need regulations in India or our country will lag behind other developed and developing nations, who have taken positive steps towards regulating the growth and developments in the field of Blockchain and Crypto currencies.

2. Second biggest limitation is lack of knowledge and scale. We have a huge population, but very few have knowledge about blockchain and crypto. This is a major reason for rampant scams in the field of Crypto. People sometimes think that Crypto is a Get rich quick scheme. So many MLM projects have come up in past and many people have lost money in such scams. This is not specific to India, but it is very important to have some organisation like Investor protection fund, to be established for Crypto currencies as well, so that people make informed decisions about investing in Cryptocurrencies. It is highly speculative right now and very volatile. This is something which every investor should be aware of.

3. Thirdly, Startup India and current situation in the country, is focusing on innovation and fostering startups in the field of technology.

The kind of support that should be provided to Blockchain startups is still lacking. People and investors in India, should start investing in Local Blockchain startups more, instead of being apprehensive of this field.

Q. Could you talk about your role as an ambassador for India?

I have been fortunate enough to be ambassador in India for 2 global projects  viz. Rootstock and Mainframe. My role has been to educate users, promote projects and to conduct events in India for sharing knowledge amongst the community about the usage of these projects.

Over time, Rootstock and Mainframe have both grown and developed into better and bigger projects who are providing better functionality for the growth of Blockchain ecosystem on the whole.

In addition to above, I have been fortunate enough to have worked with many promising  projects with Indian and global founders. I can see growing interest by global projects in India, who are setting up marketing or development efforts in India(more prominently in Bangalore and Delhi). There are projects whose Asian growth efforts have India at their center. I and my firm have been working with multiple such projects over the last 3+ years and the journey so far has been very promising. We at DCG feel that Blockchain will be one of the biggest industries in the upcoming decade and our professionals are very well versed with the technology, compliances and strategies around Blockchain and Crypto. We are looking forward to growth of this industry and want to be a part of this journey.

Image Source – KAP Digital