Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani mentioned that he is a big believer in blockchain technology. He added the blockchain technology is imperative for a trust-based and equitable society, mentioning that blockchain technology is different from cryptocurrency. He was speaking at the Infinity Forum, hosted by International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA).
According to the RIL chairman, blockchain could help deliver unprecedented security, trust, automation and efficiency to almost any type of transaction. "It can be used to modernize our supply chains that form the lifeblood of our economies."
While the bill for regulating cryptocurrency is in the works, RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das is among those who feel that the blockchain technology underpinning cryptocurrencies could exist on its own, even without the currency. "It can be used to modernize our supply chains that form the lifeblood of our economies," he added.
Ambani said he backed the proposed data privacy and cryptocurrency bills. He added that India is putting in place the most forward-looking policies and regulations.
The Reliance Industries Chairman has been an advocate of Indians owning and controlling their own data and the country drafting strict rules on how the digital information is to be stored and shared. "India is putting in place the most forward-looking policies and regulations," he said at the form.
He mentioned that nations have the right to build and protect strategic digital infrastructure. According to him, data is the 'new oil' and every citizen's right to privacy has to be safeguarded. Adding that the country has a great framework for digital identity through the Aadhar, digital bank accounts and digital payments.
"Data is indeed the 'new oil'. But the new oil is fundamentally different from the traditional oil. Traditional oil was extracted only at select places – thus, it created wealth only for some countries. In contrast, the new oil -- that is Data -- can be generated and consumed everywhere and by everybody. It has the potential to create value equitably, across sectors, across geographies, across economic classes," he said at the conference.
His comments come against the backdrop of a debate on how India should balance user protections with support for its digital economy in the world's fastest-growing major internet market. Foreign companies and hundreds of home-grown startups have flourished amid a dearth of regulation.
"We are on the verge of introducing data privacy bill, and the cryptocurrency bill. I think we are on the right track," the Reliance Industries Chairman said.
Mukesh Ambani's comment came as the government is preparing to table a new bill in Parliament which would see cryptocurrencies being treated as a financial asset. This, along with safeguarding small investors. The legislation may stipulate a minimum amount for investments in digital currencies while banning their use as legal tender.
As per the legislative agenda for the winter session of the Parliament, The Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill (2021) seeks to regulate cryptocurrency in the country. Additionally, prohibiting all private cryptocurrencies in India allows for certain exceptions to promote the underlying technology and its uses.
The legislative agenda states the bill strives to create a framework for the creation of the official digital currency to be issued by the Reserve Bank of India.
While the government is considering taxing gains from cryptocurrency, the Reserve Bank of India wants a complete ban on digital currencies as it feels this could affect the nation's macroeconomic and financial stability.
"Data and digital infrastructure are strategically important for India and every other nation in the world. Every country has the right to build and protect this strategic digital infrastructure," he said adding a uniform global standard was needed so that cross-border transactions, collaborations and partnerships are not hampered.
(With inputs from PTI)