Akash Ambani, the eldest scion of India’s richest man alive Mukesh Ambani, has come out strongly in support of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies. Akash openly endorsed the merit of peer-to-peer technology in a move that runs contrary to India’s top business houses.
Kickstarting JioCoin and Indian Adoption
“Beyond cryptocurrency blockchain at its core, provides an open-source platform for enabling transaction secured with a distributed ledger system,” Akash said during his first-ever solo appearance at a public event on December 19, 2017.
The business mogul added that the technology holds tremendous potential for the banking, fintech, real estate, healthcare, education, IoT, and telecommunication sectors. He also touched upon other fast-evolving technologies with possibly far-reaching impacts such as artificial intelligence and OpenStack.
Note that Akash’s favorable outlook toward blockchain and cryptocurrencies is not exactly surprising given that Reliance Jio, the telecom giant founded by his father, is already working on a homegrown cryptocurrency called “JioCoin.”
According to a LiveMint report, Jio has deployed a young team of around 50 professionals under Akash to kickstart the JioCoin project.
If all goes well, the project may soon turn the Ambani heir’s apparent vision of developing blockchain-powered smart contracts and virtual currency payment-enabled supply chains into a reality.
Moving Against the Grain
However, it is interesting to see how India’s financial magnates react to this rather ambitious project undertaken by the Ambani’s. While the country’s regulators haven’t imposed any stringent regulations on the crypto market just yet, the government and the Reserve Bank of India have repeatedly cautioned investors about the risks associated with virtual currencies.
In fact, in a recent move, some of India’s largest banks suspended accounts of several major bitcoin exchanges citing multiple instances of doubtful transactions. The Economic Times reported that top lenders such as Axis Bank, HDFC Bank, ICICI, State Bank of India, and Yes Bank have started targeting the bank accounts of leading digital currency exchanges such as CounSecure, Zebpay, and Unocoin, just to name a few.
Arun Jaitley, the Finance Minister in India’s central government, recently stated that the government doesn’t recognize cryptocurrencies as legal tender. However, that doesn’t make bitcoin and other virtual currencies illegal in India. Instead, they hold the unique status of being neither illegal nor legal and largely unregulated.
In a related note, Jio Infocomm, launched in July 2016 by Akash and his twin sister Isha, posted its very first quarterly profit of $5.04 billion.