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India’s Reliance Jio vows to go big on blockchain over next 12 months

Image Via Reliance Jio

Mon, 12 Aug 2019, 10:42 am UTC

Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited, an Indian mobile network operator owned by Mumbai-based multinational conglomerate Reliance Industries, has announced its plans to launch, what it claims, the world’s largest blockchain network.

Speaking at the company’s 42nd AGM on August 12, chairman and managing director Mukesh D. Ambani unveiled the firm’s digital initiatives that are tailored for Indians.

Ambani said that Jio is already a software company with over 6,000 software engineers. The company has invested in 14 technology startups and is now investing in scaling up advanced technologies.

Elaborating further, he said that the company will go big on blockchain, Edge Computing & VR/MR content, and cloud infrastructure.

Ambani announced that the company will deploy blockchain technology all over India over the next 12 months. He explained that blockchain technology allows delivering “unprecedented security, trust, automation, and efficiency to almost any type of transaction.”

“This is a vital capability for India, especially for modernizing our supply chains, agriculture produce and other goods which form the life blood of our economy,” he said.

“Using blockchain, we also have an opportunity to invent a brand new model for data privacy, where Indian data, especially customer data, is owned and controlled by the Indian people and not by corporate, especially global corporations…Over the next 12 months, Jio will install across India one of the largest blockchain networks in the world, with tens of thousands of nodes operational on day one.”

However, it remains unclear as to what this blockchain network is intended to do.

In a press release dated August 12, Jio announced its partnership with Microsoft aimed at accelerating the pace of digital transformation of the Indian economy.

"Jio and Microsoft aim to enhance the adoption of leading technologies like data analytics, AI, cognitive services, blockchain, Internet of Things, and edge computing among small and medium enterprises to make them ready to compete and grow, while helping accelerate technology-led GDP growth in India and driving adoption of next-gen technology solutions at scale," the release states.

Reliance Industries has been making inroads into the blockchain space. Last year, it acquired 5.56% equity stake in Vakt Holdings Limited (VHL), a blockchain-based startup backed by backed by BP, Shell Gunvor, Mercuria ABN Amro, ING, and Societe Generale, among others. It has also participated in a blockchain-based trade finance transaction executed by HSBC India and ING Bank Brussels last November.

[The article has been updated with inputs from the press release.]

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