Articles and Commentaries |
May 1, 2023

India’s Web 3.0 and Blockchain Revolution: A Roadmap for Strengthening Leadership in the IOR and G20

Written By: Ankur Saxena & Aakansha Bhawsar

“The future belongs to those who prepare for it today.” – Malcolm X

Introduction

 

In today’s increasingly digitally connected world, Web 3.0 and blockchain technology hold the promise to revolutionise and transform the way nations and societies interact and conduct business. The Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and the Group of Twenty (G20) have gained strategic importance due to their immense economic potential and geopolitical significance. India’s leadership in the G20 and the IOR is crucial for promoting regional and global stability, prosperity, and cooperation. As a rapidly digitising nation, India has a unique opportunity to leverage cutting-edge technologies such as Web 3.0 and blockchain to stimulate economic growth, enhance governance and transparency, and foster social inclusion.

 

Web 3.0 and blockchain technology signify the “next digital revolution.” Web 3.0, also known as the decentralised web, represents the forthcoming generation of the internet, allowing users to connect and interact without relying on centralised entities such as tech giants and governments. This transition provides users with enhanced control, privacy, and security. Blockchain technology, a decentralised ledger, facilitates secure, transparent, and tamper-proof transactions. It enables the creation of digital currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum, as well as smart contracts that automate and secure transactions. Together, Web 3.0 and blockchain technology can transform the way the world interacts, transacts, and governs by creating more open, democratic, and equitable systems, empowering nations, societies, and individuals to exert greater control over their digital content.

 

Both Web 3.0 and blockchain technology possess the potential to decentralise power, increase transparency, and bolster security. These features can be particularly beneficial within the G20 and IOR, where corruption, lack of transparency, and security concerns pose significant challenges to economic and social development.

 

Applications of Web 3.0 and blockchain technology

 

Web 3.0 and blockchain technology have a wide range of applications across various sectors, such as finance, healthcare, supply chain management, governance, and cybersecurity. Notable examples include:

  1. Cross-border payments: Facilitating secure, swift, and cost-effective international transactions.
  2. Land records management: Ensuring transparent and tamper-proof property ownership records.
  3. Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) management: Enhancing transparency and reducing infringement risks.
  4. Voting systems: Strengthening electoral integrity and security.
  5. Agriculture and food supply chain finance systems: Streamlining financing and improving traceability.
  6. Cybersecurity: Utilising blockchain-based systems to mitigate cyberattack risks and enhance response times.
  7. Decentralised e-commerce systems: Encouraging secure, transparent, and cost-effective online transactions.
  8. Smart city infrastructure: Establishing secure, transparent, and interoperable urban management systems.
  9. Healthcare supply chains: Combating counterfeit drugs and medical devices while reducing costs and improving traceability.
  10. Public transportation: Enhancing fare collection, lowering operational costs, and improving passenger experience.
  11. Gaming platforms: Ensuring asset ownership, mitigating fraud risks, and elevating the gaming experience.
  12. Social media platforms: Boosting data privacy, diminishing fraud risks, and empowering users to control their personal data.
  13. Real estate: Minimizing fraud risks, increasing transparency, and reducing transaction fees.
  14. Intellectual property licensing: Lowering infringement risks, promoting transparency, and decreasing transaction costs.
  15. Aviation: Advancing data sharing, cutting operational costs, and bettering passenger experience.
  16. Humanitarian aid supply chains: Guaranteeing timely delivery and efficient tracking.
  17. Education: Facilitating data sharing, minimizing costs, and elevating the quality of education.
  18. Digital identity verification: Lessening identity theft, improving access to essential services, and protecting privacy.
  19. Telecommunications: Streamlining data sharing, cutting costs, and enhancing the quality of communication services.
  20. Government services: Curbing corruption, fostering data sharing, and improving the quality of public services.
  21. Energy management: Augmenting data sharing, minimizing operational costs, and encouraging sustainability.

 

India has already made significant strides in adopting these technologies. In fact, India ranks among the top five countries for blockchain patents filed, and the government is exploring the use of blockchain in various applications, including land records, healthcare, and supply chain management. Initiatives like the National Strategy on Blockchain demonstrate India’s commitment to being a global leader in this space.

 

Significance of adopting Web 3.0 and blockchain technology in India

 

Embracing these technologies will bolster India’s leadership on the globe through various means, such as:

  1. Fostering technological innovation: To maintain India’s competitive edge in the global economy, it is crucial to stay ahead in technological advancements. By adopting Web 3.0 and blockchain technology, India can drive innovation and create new growth opportunities.
  2. Good governance and tackling corruption: Blockchain technology can enhance transparency and accountability in governance, reducing corruption and increasing public trust. For regional cooperation, multilateralism, and global good governance, these technologies can provide efficient, transparent, and secure channels.
  3. Strengthening cybersecurity: Web 3.0 and blockchain technology can bolster India’s cybersecurity infrastructure, making data more secure and less susceptible to cyber-attacks.
  4. Expanding digital financial services: India can utilize blockchain technology to provide secure, cost-effective, and inclusive financial services to its citizens, particularly those in rural and remote areas.

 

In comparison to the current Web 2.0 technology, Web 3.0 offers more decentralised and secure systems capable of addressing key challenges such as data privacy, security, and transparency. Essential features of Web 3.0 technology, like smart contracts, decentralised applications, and digital tokens, present new possibilities for constructing robust and sustainable digital ecosystems. As the digital revolution progresses, a widespread shift from Web 2.0 to Web 3.0 systems is expected, leading to the integration of these applications across industries and sectors.

 

Where to choose Web 3.0 over Web 2.0?

 

The following are a few examples of use cases where Web 3.0 can be advantageous over Web 2.0 in the context of India’s leadership in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and G20. These are some of the instances where currently India’s interactions with G20 and IOR countries face challenges and how Web 3.0 technology can potentially resolve these issues:

 

India and China: Long-standing border disputes between India and China have led to tensions between the two nations. Current Web 2.0-based dispute resolution mechanisms often prove slow and ineffective, resulting in prolonged disputes and increased costs. Web 3.0-based decentralised dispute resolution mechanisms can provide more efficient and transparent resolutions, reducing the risks of prolonged disputes and lowering costs.

 

India and the US: While India and the US maintain close economic and strategic ties, the current Web 2.0-based logistics systems present challenges, leading to inefficiencies and higher costs. Web 3.0-based decentralised logistics systems can offer more secure, transparent, and efficient logistics management, reducing operational costs and improving efficiency, thereby enhancing the economic relationship between the two countries.

 

India and Myanmar, Pakistan: Web 2.0 technology-based voting systems frequently suffer from fraud, errors, and a lack of transparency. With the aid of Web 3.0-based decentralised voting systems, countries can rely on more secure and transparent methods for conducting elections. For example, blockchain-based voting systems can help reduce the risks of electoral fraud and improve voter turnout.

 

India and Australia: India and Australia share close economic ties, but challenges exist with the current Web 2.0 technology-based supply chain management systems, leading to inefficiencies and higher costs. Web 3.0-based decentralised supply chain management systems can provide real-time visibility and traceability of goods, reducing operational costs and improving efficiency, thereby enhancing the economic relationship between the two countries.

 

India and Indonesia: As part of the IOR region, both India and Indonesia face challenges with the current Web 2.0 technology-based logistics systems, resulting in inefficiencies and higher costs for agricultural products. Web 3.0-based agriculture data management systems can offer more secure, transparent, and efficient logistics management, reducing operational costs and enhancing the quality of agricultural products, thereby improving trade and economic ties between the two countries.

 

India and Japan: Although India and Japan enjoy close economic and strategic ties, challenges with the current Web 2.0 technology-based intellectual property rights systems result in infringement issues and poor record-keeping. Web 3.0-based decentralised intellectual property rights systems can ensure that rights holders maintain complete control over their IP, reducing the risks of infringement and lowering transaction costs, thereby enhancing the economic relationship between the two countries.

 

India and Saudi Arabia: Close economic and strategic ties exist between India and Saudi Arabia, but challenges with the current Web 2.0 technology-based supply chain management systems lead to inefficiencies and higher costs. Web 3.0-based decentralised supply chain management systems can provide real-time visibility and traceability of goods, reducing operational costs and improving efficiency, thereby enhancing the economic relationship between the two countries.

 

India and Brazil: India and Brazil share close economic and diplomatic ties, but challenges with the current Web 2.0 technology-based healthcare data management systems lead to a lack of interoperability and poor data sharing. With Web 3.0-based decentralised healthcare data management systems, secure and transparent data sharing between different stakeholders becomes possible, reducing operational costs and enhancing patient privacy, thereby strengthening healthcare ties between the two countries.

 

India and France: India and France maintain close strategic and diplomatic ties; however, challenges with the current Web 2.0 technology-based environmental monitoring systems result in a lack of transparency and data quality issues. Web 3.0-based decentralised environmental monitoring systems can provide secure and transparent data sharing between different stakeholders, ensuring data quality and enhancing sustainability efforts, which will improve environmental ties between the two countries.

 

India and South Africa: India and South Africa have close economic and strategic ties, but current Web 2.0 technology-based energy management systems present challenges, including a lack of interoperability and poor communication channels. With Web 3.0-based decentralised energy management systems, secure and transparent data sharing between different stakeholders can be achieved, reducing operational costs and enhancing sustainability, thereby strengthening the energy ties between the two countries.

 

India and Mauritius: India and Mauritius share close economic and cultural ties, but challenges with the current Web 2.0 technology-based agriculture data management systems lead to poor data sharing and a lack of transparency. Web 3.0-based decentralised agriculture data management systems can provide secure and transparent data sharing between different stakeholders, reducing operational costs and enhancing the quality of agricultural products, thereby improving agricultural ties between the two countries.

 

India and Singapore: India and Singapore enjoy close economic and strategic ties, but challenges exist with the current Web 2.0 technology-based digital identity verification systems, resulting in a lack of security and transparency. Web 3.0-based decentralised digital identity verification systems can provide secure and transparent identity verification, reducing the risks of identity theft and fraud while enhancing privacy, thereby strengthening digital ties between the two countries.

 

India and Thailand: India and Thailand maintain close economic and cultural ties, but current Web 2.0 technology-based tourism systems present challenges, such as a lack of transparency, inefficiencies, and poor customer experience. Web 3.0-based decentralized tourism systems can provide secure and transparent data sharing between different stakeholders, reducing operational costs and enhancing the customer experience, thereby improving tourism ties between the two countries.

 

India and UK: India and the UK share close economic and diplomatic ties, but challenges with the current Web 2.0 technology-based intellectual property rights systems lead to infringement issues and poor record-keeping. Web 3.0-based decentralised intellectual property rights systems can ensure that rights holders maintain complete control over their IP, reducing the risks of infringement and lowering transaction costs, thereby enhancing economic ties between the two countries.

 

India and Iran: India and Iran have close economic and cultural ties, but challenges with the current Web 2.0 technology-based agriculture data management systems result in poor data sharing and a lack of transparency. With Web 3.0-based decentralised agriculture data management systems, secure and transparent data sharing between different stakeholders becomes possible, reducing operational costs and enhancing the quality of agricultural products, thereby strengthening agricultural ties between the two countries.

 

India and UAE: India and the UAE maintain close economic and strategic ties; however, challenges with the current Web 2.0 technology-based logistics systems lead to inefficiencies and higher costs. With Web 3.0-based decentralised logistics systems, more secure, transparent, and efficient logistics management can be achieved, reducing operational costs and improving efficiency, thereby enhancing the economic ties between the two countries.

 

India and Russia: India and Russia share close strategic and diplomatic ties; however, challenges with the current Web 2.0 technology-based intellectual property rights systems lead to infringement issues and poor record-keeping. With Web 3.0-based decentralised intellectual property rights systems, rights holders can maintain complete control over their IP, reducing infringement risks and lowering transaction costs, thereby strengthening the economic ties between the two countries.

 

India and South Korea: India and South Korea have close economic and strategic ties, but challenges exist with the current Web 2.0 technology-based digital identity verification systems, resulting in a lack of security and transparency. Web 3.0-based decentralised digital identity verification systems can provide secure and transparent identity verification, reducing the risks of identity theft and fraud while enhancing privacy, thereby improving digital ties between the two countries.

 

India and Tanzania: India and Tanzania share close cultural and economic ties, but challenges with the current Web 2.0 technology-based energy management systems lead to inefficiencies and higher costs. With Web 3.0-based decentralised energy management systems, more secure, transparent, and efficient energy management can be achieved, reducing operational costs and enhancing sustainability, thereby strengthening the economic ties between the two countries.

 

India and Bangladesh: India and Bangladesh maintain close economic and diplomatic ties; however, challenges with the current Web 2.0 technology-based healthcare data management systems result in a lack of interoperability and poor data sharing. Web 3.0-based decentralised healthcare data management systems can provide secure and transparent data sharing between different stakeholders, reducing operational costs and enhancing patient privacy, thereby improving healthcare ties between the two countries.

 

India and Canada: India and Canada share close economic and strategic ties, but challenges with the current Web 2.0 technology-based intellectual property rights systems lead to infringement issues and poor record-keeping. With Web 3.0-based decentralised intellectual property rights systems, rights holders can maintain complete control over their IP, reducing infringement risks and lowering transaction costs, thereby enhancing economic ties between the two countries.

 

India and Malaysia: India and Malaysia maintain close cultural and economic ties; however, challenges with the current Web 2.0 technology-based financial services systems result in inefficiencies and poor access to financial services. Web 3.0-based decentralised financial services systems can provide secure and transparent financial services, reducing operational costs and improving financial inclusion, thereby strengthening the economic ties between the two countries.

 

India and Maldives: Web 2.0 technology-based healthcare systems often suffer from data privacy and security issues, leading to a lack of trust among patients and healthcare providers. With Web 3.0-based decentralised healthcare systems, countries can rely on more secure and transparent systems for managing patient data. For instance, the use of blockchain-based health records can help reduce medical errors and improve patient outcomes.

 

India and Seychelles: Web 2.0 technology-based tourism systems often suffer from a lack of transparency, inefficiencies, and poor customer experience. With Web 3.0-based decentralised tourism systems, countries can rely on more secure, transparent, and efficient systems for managing the tourism industry. For instance, the use of blockchain-based tourism systems can help improve data sharing, reduce operational costs, and enhance the customer experience.

 

India and Sri Lanka: Web 2.0 technology-based logistics systems often suffer from a lack of transparency, inefficiencies, and poor supply chain management. With Web 3.0-based decentralised logistics systems, countries can rely on more secure, transparent, and efficient systems for managing logistics. For instance, the use of blockchain-based logistics systems can help improve data sharing, reduce operational costs, and enhance the efficiency of the logistics industry.

 

India and Oman: India and Oman have close cultural and economic ties, but there are challenges with the current Web 2 technology-based energy management systems, leading to inefficiencies and higher costs. With Web 3-based decentralised energy management systems, it is possible to provide more secure, transparent, and efficient energy management, reducing operational costs and enhancing sustainability, thereby enhancing the economic ties between the two countries.

 

India and Sri Lanka: India and Sri Lanka have close cultural and economic ties, but there are challenges with the current Web 2 technology-based healthcare data management systems, leading to the lack of interoperability and poor data sharing. With Web 3-based decentralised healthcare data management systems, it is possible to provide secure and transparent data sharing between different stakeholders, reducing operational costs, and enhancing patient privacy, thereby enhancing the healthcare ties between the two countries.

India and Egypt: India and Egypt have close cultural and economic ties, but there are challenges with the current Web 2 technology-based energy management systems, leading to inefficiencies and higher costs. With Web 3-based decentralized energy management systems, it is possible to provide more secure, transparent, and efficient energy management, reducing operational costs and enhancing sustainability, thereby enhancing the economic ties between the two countries.

India and Myanmar: India and Myanmar have close economic and cultural ties, but there are challenges with the current Web 2 technology-based agriculture data management systems, leading to poor data sharing and the lack of transparency. With Web 3-based decentralised agriculture data management systems, it is possible to provide secure and transparent data sharing between different stakeholders, reducing operational costs and enhancing the quality of agricultural products, thereby enhancing the agricultural ties between the two countries.

India and Germany: India and Germany have close economic and strategic ties, but there are challenges with the current Web 2 technology-based environmental monitoring systems, leading to the lack of transparency and data quality issues. With Web 3-based decentralised environmental monitoring systems, it is possible to provide secure and transparent data sharing between different stakeholders, ensuring data quality and enhancing sustainability efforts, thereby enhancing the environmental ties between the two countries.

India and Qatar: India and Qatar have close diplomatic and economic ties, but there are challenges with the current Web 2 technology-based remittance systems, leading to inefficiencies and higher costs. With Web 3-based decentralised remittance systems, it is possible to provide more secure, transparent, and efficient remittance management, reducing operational costs and improving efficiency, thereby enhancing the economic ties between the two countries.

India and Mexico: India and Mexico have close economic and cultural ties, but there are challenges with the current Web 2 technology-based healthcare data management systems, leading to the lack of interoperability and poor data sharing. With Web 3-based decentralized healthcare data management systems, it is possible to provide secure and transparent data sharing between different stakeholders, reducing operational costs, and enhancing patient privacy, thereby enhancing the healthcare ties between the two countries.

India and Turkey: India and Turkey have close economic and diplomatic ties, but there are challenges with the current Web 2 technology-based financial services systems, leading to inefficiencies and poor access to financial services. With Web 3-based decentralised financial services systems, it is possible to provide secure and transparent financial services, reducing operational costs, and improving financial inclusion, thereby enhancing the economic ties between the two countries.

India and Kenya: India and Kenya have close cultural and economic ties, but there are challenges with the current Web 2 technology-based supply chain management systems, leading to inefficiencies and higher costs. With Web 3-based decentralised supply chain management systems, it is possible to provide real-time visibility and traceability of goods, reducing operational costs and improving efficiency, thereby enhancing the economic ties between the two countries.

India and Vietnam: India and Vietnam have close economic and diplomatic ties, but there are challenges with the current Web 2 technology-based real estate systems, leading to inefficiencies and poor transparency. With Web 3-based decentralised real estate systems, it is possible to provide secure, transparent, and efficient real estate management, reducing operational costs and improving transparency, thereby enhancing the economic and diplomatic ties between the two countries.

Capitalising on Web 3.0 and Blockchain Technologies

Economic Development: Blockchain technology can enhance supply chain efficiency, reduce transaction costs, and prevent fraud in the IOR. By creating a blockchain-based trade platform, India can position itself as a regional trade hub, fostering economic growth and promoting regional cooperation. This will encourage blockchain technology usage in the region and reduce trade barriers, thus increasing economic growth. For example, India can collaborate with other G20 and IOR countries to create a regional blockchain network that tracks the movement of goods and services across the region, increasing the efficiency of cross-border trade and reducing the cost of doing business.

Diplomatic Relations: Web 3.0 and blockchain technology can strengthen diplomatic relations by promoting transparency and reducing the risk of misunderstandings. India can use blockchain technology to improve the transparency of aid and development programs in the region, building trust with other IOR countries and promoting cooperation on common issues like climate change and counter-terrorism.

Security: India can enhance its security and defence capabilities and influence in the IOR by using Web 3.0 and blockchain technology to establish a tamper-proof, decentralised, and secure communication channel for sharing maritime intelligence. This will catalyse strategic partnerships with G20, IOR nations, and international organisations to develop a collaborative maritime security platform, including capacity-building initiatives and technology transfer agreements. For example, India can develop a blockchain-based maritime security platform that securely shares critical maritime data, such as Automatic Identification System (AIS) data, among IOR nations. Blockchain technology can also be used to enhance the security of critical infrastructure, like ports and power plants, which are vulnerable to cyberattacks.

Digital Infrastructure Development: India can capitalise on its digital prowess to create blockchain-powered infrastructure projects in the IOR, further asserting its leadership role and enhancing regional connectivity. For instance, India can develop a blockchain-enabled digital payments platform for the IOR, enabling seamless cross-border transactions and fostering economic integration among partner nations.

Environmental and Disaster Management: India can leverage blockchain technology to address environmental and disaster management challenges in the IOR, building resilience and promoting regional cooperation. For example, India can create a blockchain-based disaster management platform that securely shares real-time disaster-related data, such as early warning alerts and resource allocation information, among IOR nations.

Key Strategies

Investing in Research and Development. India needs to invest in research and development (R&D) to encourage innovation in Web 3.0 and blockchain technology. This includes setting up research centres, partnering with leading global institutions, and supporting startups working on Web 3.0 and blockchain technologies.

Drafting and executing a facilitatory regulatory framework. India needs to develop a facilitatory and supportive regulatory framework for the growth of Web 3.0 and blockchain technology. This will help create a favourable environment for businesses and startups to innovate and thrive, while ensuring consumer protection and security.

Promoting Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs). India needs to encourage PPPs to drive the adoption of Web 3.0 and blockchain technology. Such partnerships can help leverage the strengths of both the public and private sectors, accelerating innovation and deployment of these technologies.

Focusing on capacity building and skill development. India needs to prioritise capacity building and skill development to create a workforce ready for the opportunities presented by Web 3.0 and blockchain technology. This includes developing educational programs and training initiatives that equip individuals with the necessary skills and knowledge to succeed in this digital landscape.

Implementation Methodology

The time for India to seize the Web 3.0 revolution is NOW. Upcoming events like the IOR conference and G20 summit can serve as key opportunities to showcase India’s digital commitment. By demonstrating India’s achievements and future plans, the country can position itself as a leader and influence regional and global conversations around these technologies. Key areas of focus for India during these events can include:

  1. Presenting Use Cases and Success Stories: India should highlight its successful implementations of Web 3.0 and blockchain technology, showcasing the real-world impact of these technologies on various sectors, such as finance, healthcare, and supply chain management.
  2. Promoting Regional Collaboration: India can use the IOR Conference and the G20 Summit as platforms to foster regional collaboration on research, development, and deployment of Web 3.0 and blockchain technology. This could involve forming strategic partnerships, sharing best practices, and engaging in joint initiatives to drive innovation and adoption.
  3. Addressing Regional Challenges: India should emphasize its commitment to using Web 3.0 and blockchain technology to address regional challenges, such as climate change, poverty, and inequality. By showcasing its dedication to using these technologies for the greater good, India can bolster its image as a responsible and forward-thinking leader in the IOR.
  4. Advocating for a Global Digital Agenda: India should leverage its influence at the G20 Summit to advocate for a global digital agenda that embraces Web 3.0 and blockchain technology. This could involve pushing for international standards, policy frameworks, and coordinated efforts to harness the potential of these technologies for global growth and sustainable development.

Conclusion

Web 3.0 and blockchain technology have the potential to revolutionise the way nations interact with each other and conduct business. As a major player among the G20 and IOR, India has the opportunity to use these technologies to enhance its economic, diplomatic, and security relations in the region. By adopting these technologies, India can drive innovation, improve governance, strengthen cybersecurity, and expand digital financial services. It can demonstrate its commitment to transparency and good governance, which can improve its standing in the region and attract foreign investment. The upcoming summits involving IOR and G20 countries offer platforms for India to showcase its digital prowess and reaffirm its commitment to these transformative technologies. Moreover, by collaborating with other G20 and IOR countries to create a regional blockchain network, India can promote economic growth, enhance diplomatic relations, and improve security in the region. By focusing on research and development, executing a supportive regulatory framework, promoting public-private partnerships, and prioritising capacity building and skill development, India can navigate the digital frontier and establish itself as a leader among the G20 and IOR.

Authors: Ankur Saxena is the Founder of in47.consulting and Dr. Aakansha Bhawsar is Catalyst at in47.consulting.

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