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India’s Corporate Titan Ventures into Blockchain and CBDCs

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Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries, India’s foremost corporate powerhouse, is making a bold leap into the world of blockchain and central bank digital currencies [CBDCs], as revealed by the chairman, who is also Asia’s wealthiest individual.

Reliance’s ambitious financial services wing, Jio Financial Services [JFS], forged a major partnership with BlackRock [BLK]. This alliance marks the company’s entry into the financial sector. Known for its pivotal role in India’s digital growth narrative, the firm’s latest move into CBDCs and Blockchain was unveiled at its annual flagship event, the annual general meeting.

Mukesh Ambani expressed, “JFS is set to revamp payment infrastructure, offering a comprehensive solution for both consumers and merchants, thereby propelling the nation’s digital embrace. Our products at JFS will not only challenge the current industry standards but will also pioneer groundbreaking features such as blockchain-based platforms and CBDC. Our commitment remains unwavering in upholding the highest security standards, adhering to regulatory norms, and ensuring the utmost safeguarding of customer transaction data.”

While another arm of Reliance, Reliance Retail, the nation’s largest retail chain, initiated the acceptance of India’s digital rupee, or CBDC, during its pilot phase in February 2023, today’s announcement underscores a deeper interest in this domain.

India has already made substantial strides towards introducing both wholesale and retail CBDCs and is awaiting a comprehensive rollout.

The development coincided with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent comments at the G20 summit. Modi called for a global crypto framework, adding that the nation is doing its part in a crypto regulatory conversation.

“India’s G20 presidency expanded the crypto conversation beyond financial stability to consider its broader macroeconomic implications, especially for emerging markets and developing economies. Our presidency also hosted enriching seminars and discussions, deepening insights into crypto assets.”

India On The Move

In an interview with a local news outlet, Modi spoke about the role of emerging technologies such as blockchain and cryptocurrency. He noted that the nature of such emerging technologies will have a global impact. Thus, the rules, regulations, and framework around it should not belong to one country or a group of countries.

Indian authorities will soon enable their citizens to sign documents digitally through crypto tokens to secure transactions as part of a project to develop a national web browser. On August 9, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology [MeitY]announcedthe Indian Web Browser Development Challenge.

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