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Digital Economy:
What will the global market get

Digital Caste: How Blockchain Changes The Business Landscape In India

04 December 2018 11:35, UTC   |    4080
Digital Caste: How Blockchain Changes The Business Landscape In India
By Daniil Danchenko

On a modern economic scene, India is synonymous with a single word - potential. This is one of the fastest, growing at a huge speed economies. Annually they get 5.8-6.6% of GDP growth accompanied by a steady 1.1% increase of population, without any ups and downs. Even more - Indian workforce is relatively young; their average working age is around 28 years (For example it’s around 42+ years in Finland). This alone elevates India’s chances of joining the superpower’s club way above many other countries.

However, the whole ecosystem of the Indian economy is much more complicated than just numbers and facts. That’s also about the deep social context with a high number of nuances and complicated points. This is a country with a vast high tech market where skyscrapers are neighboring shantytowns,and high-tech world exists in the same reality where necessities of the people are not met. This paradox carries the key to the Indian market, one of the most promising and interesting ones in the world.  However, to get on it and stay on it for good you need to “get it” first, which is very hard unless you are an Indian businessman or have spent years in the country. decided to take a shortcut and consulted with one of the prominent members of the business scene in India, Amit SINGH, that had a lot of experience in many fields of national economy.

According to his opinion, India is on the path to important changes, and technological progress has to do a lot with it, and that includes a heavy shift towards the digital world:

“Even though segregation is banned in the constitution - it’s still going strong and decades of oppression have a high influence on the members of the lower castes, shudras and Dalits, lead a very repressed existence. A good example of that is the fact that one of the first ever traditional marriages between the members of the lower castes in Uttar Pradesh region was held not so long ago. This was unthinkable few years ago because of the prejudice and potential violent outcome of such ceremony. But even now it was held under a heavy police guard, with an EMT technician on site. Digital economy allows to simply hop over social status and related boundaries; this separation is outright impossible in the digital economy. Anyone is free to own, use, or sell money without any boundaries and social blocks”, - said Amit SINGH.

Before mainstrimization of the crypto in the economic life of the country, socially vulnerable layers of the Indian society were simply out of the economic life of the country because getting the full pack of documents, required for the banking services is too hard for many of them. Even though their equality is legally enforced since 1989, they are still heavily discriminated. And that leads to the new, global issue: accessibility of social lifts is severely limited.

Right now only 25% of Indians get into higher education (according to the 2011 census): this is a direct result of the institutionalized oppression that existed in the society. That resulted in the seriously restricted access towards the fruits of the progress. But in a modern, post-industrial society of the repressed castes it is paramount to the ensuring further development of the consumer market. Even more than that, there is a looming issue of Indian efforts to fight the corruption that led to the point where a large mass of fiat money was pulled out of the market and instead they were going for the countrywide cashless payments. But for the unbanked people this system is inaccessible due to the lack of access to the banking system. Basically - this excludes whooping 17% of people out of the economic system.

Major players at the digital economy scene are working on the changing at the rapid pace. Amit SINGH gave us an interesting example of the mobile operator called JIO that offers special tariffs for the socially vulnerable members of Indian society. For example - they can get an almost free 4g internet contract along with the budget devices they buy directly from JIO, which gives them access to the modern economic services. This pseudo-charity is a measure that leads to the development of the digital literacy that is paramount to the formation of the new markets that involve people who traditionally have  stayed outside of the banking system reach.

That is not about being trendy or modern, today’s India is building a basis for the new county. This unnerves the basis of the old world high society, as it dissolves basis of their power, reinforced by the British colonial era occupation remnants of the caste system. Right now, a new caste is being born - a digital one, and it’s open for the members of any caste regardless of the social and societal barriers.

“This paradigm of development is going to change the number of highly qualified workforce, and there will be no way to continue the old ways. This is why the digital economy is a highly political issue in India right now and it is dictated by the fact that in 2019 there will be an election in the country. After that it’s safe to assume that all the slowdowns and hiccups will be gone since a lot of processes will start to develop in a rapid pace right after the end of the election process”, - noted Amit.

And there are rich and festive grounds for the political grinding there that guide people to the opposite views on the subject. Some people call for the curtain ban, some say that they should give the nascent industry the green light. It’s worth mentioning that elites consider the crypto a novelty - but it’s a different thing with the blockchain. Mainly because the process leads to the fact that it disrupts their way of life that stayed like that for generations. However, this is unavoidable - “Old elites are hating the blockchain and crypto”, - said Amardeep SINGH, our regular commentator and founder of the blockchain company that actively uses AI, - “But they can’t do anything about it - it’s spread, and further social growth of the people is unavoidable.”

But sometimes, the financial ecosystem of India is somewhat backward and rather traditional in its form. Amit SINGH notes the importance of the well-developed business and personal networking, - “If you have good and solid connections - that's almost like a guarantee of the good business, because for example - you can check up almost anyone if you ask the right people.”

But this is not always that easy. In those cases the internet and progress can help. Platforms that implement KYC procedure in their workflow can help with that. Sure, that is not a guarantee but this outlines the real person behind the social media account. “People take care of their reputation, because in the digital economy and the blockchain based environment getting involved with the wrong crowd means to commit suicide in the industry”, - assured us Amit SINGH

And the world of digital economy promises to take a huge part in the future of the country, not just on the economic level but also on a societal level. A good example of that is one curious phenomenon that was widely reported in media - surprisingly Indian women are very interested in blockchain and crypto. Some people claim that almost 90% of the working women are involved in the process one way or another. However our expert dismissed those claims, he noted that these numbers are indeed very high, - “Out of 200 active traders I know, 45 are women. This is explainable by the fact that India is very patriarchal in its nature and there always has been a distinct separation between male and female things, and digital economy erases that. This benefits the economy due to the fact that Indian cryptomarket is far more inclusive in comparison to the western crypto scene since this gives it a greater economic potential”, - noted Amit.

So, we come to the very beginning, with a great Indian paradox when on one hand you have a whole number of telltale signs of a very promising market making India look like a very favorable investment destination: their growth promises to create a real blast in the nearest future.

But there is also a food for the thought for the skeptics: corruption, outdated ways of doing work and bad reputation leading to the huge levels of prejudice among investors, if the project is Indian or Russian - then that's a scam.

But the thing is - if they will be doubling down on their prejudice, they are going to lose big time. Just because their less prejudiced rivalries will take over every strategically promising niche of the Indian market after they took time and effort to “get” the country and understand its business climate.

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