After disrupting the Indian telecom market, Reliance Jio is expected to delve into the world of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies. 2017 has seen cryptocurrencies platforms such as BitCoin and Ethereum gain prominence due to the steep rise in the value of crytocurrencies. A recent report states that Reliance Jio is planning to create its own cryptocurrency called JioCoin.
If the report is anything to go by, Reliance Jio plans to build a 50-member team of young professionals, led by Mukesh Ambani’s elder son Akash Ambani, to work on the complex blockchain technology under the JioCoin project to mine the cryptocurrency.
Livemint quotes a person familiar with the development saying, “The company plans to hire 50 young professionals with an average age of 25 years for Akash Ambani to lead. There are multiple applications of blockchain (for the company). The team would work on various blockchain products.”
“One (application) is cryptocurrency. We can deploy smart contracts. It can be used in supply chain management logistics. Loyalty points could altogether be based on JioCoin,” the person cited above said, adding that all of this was “in proposal stage”.
For understanding, Blockchain is a list of records, including financial transactions, which are linked and secured using cryptography. To simplify, it decentralizes information without it being copied and is managed by a peer-to-peer network. The information held on blockchain can be accessed on a real-time basis.
The biggest and most popular use case of the technology has been cryptocurrency, such as the Bitcoin. Although Bitcoin is yet to be universally adopted and legalized, many industries and leaders are in favor of making it an official for its extremely high valuation. Last year, Bitcoin reached one of its highest valuation of over $20,000 per unit.
The report quotes an unnamed source to mention that Reliance Jio also aspires to get into the Internet of Things (IoT) segment where blockchain technology would be resourceful. IoT is another facet of modern technology which is witnessing growth and industry-wide interest. At the core of IoT is faster network and connectivity and Jio, with its positive 4G rollout and popularity, appears poised to take on the segment head-on.
While analysts and industry experts suggest blockchain is well-suited for an IoT ecosystem to flourish, it is to be understood that the Indian government is wary of cryptocurrencies, suggesting virtual currencies were not backed by assets and posed risks such as money laundering.
In addition to the Government of India, countries including South Korea have had a cautious approach towards cryptocurrency. It is reported that Bitcoins have dropped by as much as 12 percent in value to $12,801 on Thursday – its lowest since Christmas day, as South Korea’s justice minister reiterated his proposal to ban local cryptocurrency exchanges.