Is India really ready for the Blockchain revolution?
This is a question that I’ve asked myself quite often. If you look up ‘Blockchain startups’ on Google, the number of results you’ll get may give you the impression that India is a booming haven for blockchain enterprises and the people involved in them.
Appearances can be deceptive, unfortunately, and this is a hard lesson I had to learn in my on-going journey towards becoming a Blockchain entrepreneur. If we’re going to talk about this subject, we need to ask the question, “Why would one want to become a blockchain entrepreneur, especially in India?
Plenty of reasons come to mind and make for a very good argument as to why anyone would dabble in the world of blockchain technology if that is where their hearts lie. For me, personally, it is the realization of the sheer disruptive potential of blockchain technology (especially in the world of finance) that compelled me to take a dive in, head-first.
I’d been working in the financial sector for a while when the worlds ‘cryptocurrency’ and ‘blockchain’ began making their rounds and started to gain a lot of attention, especially in tech communities. The word ‘cryptocurrency’ initially piqued my interest but it was when I found out more about ‘blockchain’ that I realized my true calling.
Being an entrepreneur is always challenging and anyone who leaves their corporate job in pursuit of their entrepreneurial dream must come to terms with this or they risk getting completely blindsided by the sheer weight of their undertaking.
The Reality of being a Blockchain Entrepreneur in India
If you compare being a blockchain entrepreneur in India to playing a video game, then I must tell you that you will be playing that video on the hardest difficulty setting.
Before even considering talking to investors and potential customers, you’ll need to set up a team that can help you realize your dream. This is a fundamental aspect of the startup world regardless of whether you’re involved in blockchain or not. However, the processes involving a blockchain startup are a bit more complicated.
Blockchain technology is still an extremely niche concept in India where even people in the IT sector aren’t very familiar with it. Not only do you need to find competent people across various fields like marketing, content, HR, etc. but you will also find yourself becoming a blockchain lecturer as you might spend a significant amount of time trying to get your potential team members up to speed with what blockchain is and why it matters. You will HAVE TO be prepared to do that.
Once you finally bring the core team together and start work on your products, you may find yourself being greeted by a whole other series of problems and challenges, courtesy the Government of India.
When blockchain technology and cryptocurrency began gaining momentum in India, many were skeptical of the reactions of the government. Their apprehensions soon turned out to be valid as the government has currently taken a strong stance against, specifically, any use of cryptocurrency and related blockchains.
This caused me to lose a lot of sleep, but I ended up finding a solution. I got my company registered in Singapore in order to ensure that the Bank of Hodlers was safe from potential legal action from the Indian government. Had the government been more crypto and blockchain friendly, we could have saved on additional costs of having to register in a region outside of India.
All blockchain entrepreneurs need to be aware of the legal challenges that their startups may potentially face, and look for innovative solutions in order to secure their companies.
The recent case involving Unocoin’s CEO getting arrested by the police for setting up a cryptocurrency ATM, within a week of setting it up, doesn’t paint a very inspiring picture for potential blockchain entrepreneurs in India.
Is being a blockchain entrepreneur in India worth it?
I feel like it is absolutely worth being a blockchain entrepreneur in India, despite the challenges associated with being one. Any new technology that is introduced into a slow-changing market is bound to have problems that force people to come up with innovative solutions, and I feel like that is what entrepreneurship is all about.
Being a successful blockchain entrepreneur in India would entail having your company take on international clients almost exclusively. More importantly, having the first-mover advantage when the market does come to India can prove to be instrumental with the potential to turn your startup into a major fortune 500 company and revolutionize the way people think and use money in the largest democracy in the world. That is, perhaps, the biggest reason as to why being blockchain entrepreneur in India is so damn exciting.