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National Payments Corporation of India unveils blockchain platform for automated payment, clearing and settlement

Thu, 02 Jan 2020, 10:04 am UTC

The National Payments Corporation of India (NCPI) has announced a distributed ledger platform for automated payment, clearing and settlement.

Called “Vajra Platform,” the distributed ledger technology (DLT)-based system has been designed for automating payment clearing and settlement processes of NPCI products. It is essentially a permissioned network, meaning that only those parties that have been approved by the Network Administrator can be a part of the network.

“The team at NPCI researched 'Distributed Ledger Technology' (DLT), a new technology that promises to provide highly secure and tamper-evident transactions stored in a distributed and immutable database which is also versatile enough to be adapted to various cases,” the description reads.

There are three nodes of the Vajra platform:

  • Participant Node – This represents all the banks on the Vajra platform. These nodes can receive, post, and view transactions on the platform.
  • Clearing House Node – It will have the Admin rights to this platform and will be maintained by NPCI. It will provide a root-authority-signed TLS certificate from the network’s permissioning service to the participant nodes.
  • Notary Node – It will validate a transaction only if Aadhar biometric is used for authentication. It will receive transactions only from the Clearing House Node.

The blockchain-based platform will enhance data security and transparency, and facilitate real-time transactions. In addition, decentralized and distributed data storage would help reduce the pain of reconciliation across all the participants.

Furthermore, reconciliation and reporting are currently done manually which leads to processing error, increased time for settlement and high cost of operation. With the Vajra platform, banks have data setup on a node and would be able to do reconciliation as per their convenience. The platform will also help reduce the pain of disputes across all the participants.

NCPI is an umbrella organization for all retail payments in India and currently has 56 shareholders. The ten core promoter banks are State Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, Canara Bank, Bank of Baroda, Union Bank of India, Bank of India, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Citibank N. A., and HSBC.

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