By Rob Allen
Blockchain and the broader category of distributed ledger technology (DLT) is fast-emerging as a transformative technology with the potential to reshape businesses and the internet for the better. With India being one of the fastest-growing and digitising economies, investors are aggressively infusing capital into blockchain/DLT and Web3.0 startups in India. Last year, Indian crypto and blockchain startups raised over $600 million from global investors, an increase of more than 15 times the $37 million raised in 2020.
Witnessing this huge potential in the Indian Web3.0 ecosystem, multiple global investors have been bullish towards it. India has built a robust identity and digital payments infrastructure and implemented it at a rapid scale and speed. Combined with India’s world-class software talent, there has been a big bet made on crypto and Web3.0 technology helping accelerate India’s economic and financial inclusion goals.
India has a large crypto user base of over 25 million and this number is projected to grow to 100 million in the next three years. This level of utilisation is a huge target audience that every investor should leverage. Indian startups that are building for Web3.0 have an added advantage of understanding the local markets better than others.
Realising this potential, the Hedera network, the most used, sustainable, enterprise-grade public ledger for the decentralised economy, and in particular The HBAR Foundation, both aim to support the creation of Web3.0 communities built on the Hedera network, by empowering and funding the builders developing these communities through grants. They have supported multiple Indian and global startups – focused on the Crypto Economy, Metaverse, Sustainability, Fintech, Privacy, and Female Founders. Most recently they partnered with Lumos Labs for an Accelerator which will focus on strengthening similar Web3.0 solutions in India.
Investors clearly see this as a perfect opportunity to make rapid and robust developments in the Web3.0 industry. With the knowledge and talent, the Hedera and Indian Web3.0 ecosystem can flourish with additional capital flow and technical support in the country.
Understanding the long-term potential of the Hedera network, IIT Madras, Tata Communications, and WiPro all sit on the decentralised Hedera Governing Council – each run a network node and contribute to the overall direction of the network for the duration of their 2-3 year terms. Alongside these names, A. R. Rahman is building his music NFT platform, OneTo11 are building their Play-To-Earn (P2E) ecosystem, and Deepak Chopra has launched his ‘Never Alone’ app – all on the carbon-negative Hedera network.
All this interest is further reflected in a report from PwC, wherein India saw 44 startups entering the unicorn club. The success of companies both domestically and internationally has led to increased interest from investors across the world. It has validated the fact that large companies can be built from this region and create significant shareholder value. And with several promising IPOs lined up for this year, it is expected this trend will continue.
With multiple accelerators and hackathons being conducted all over the country by global VC firms and Web3.0 giants, there is a pool of opportunities out there for the Indian talent to grab and make the most out of it.
The author is senior vice president of HBAR Foundation