An interview with Dr. Sourav Sen Gupta,Visiting Lecturer R C Bose Centre for Cryptology and Security, Indian Statistical Institute

Dr. Sourav Sen Gupta is a researcher, positioned precariously at the confluence of Computer Science, Mathematics and Engineering, and an ardent student of art and science of Cryptology and Information Security.

As such he is well-versed regarding the disruptive nature of emerging technologies like blockchain.

In an exclusive interview by Fintech Valley Vizag, he gives his opinion on the impact of blockchain on the economy.

Can you tell us the top driving factors for businesses to adopt blockchain technology?

A transparent peer-to-peer consensus of value amongst parties with conflicting goals is one of the biggest unsolved problems in any business, and blockchain provides a secure publicly-verifiable framework to solve exactly the same. The platform for consensus and incentive design in blockchain is the crucial factor.

In your opinion, what industry sectors do you think the blockchain will disrupt the most?  

Banking and finance, of course, are the first two that come to mind. However, blockchain technology has the potential to bring forth disruptive solutions in Healthcare, Supply-Chain, Insurance, Property Market, Electronic Voting, Electronic Auction, Taxes, and Open Governance. There may be much more than what we have not even started to imagine!

While the blockchain trend is still at a nascent stage, what challenges do Indian organizations face to implement?

I would stress on only one challenge, the one I consider to be primary. I believe it is crucial for an organization to identify scenarios in which a Blockchain solution is suited the best, that is, in which Blockchain provides a substantial advantage over existing solutions.This requires mapping a business problem or process directly into a blockchain framework, maintaining its core principles, and thereby get an edge over alternative solutions.

This, in my opinion, is the toughest job.

Can you share a few benefits of blockchain adoption to our readers?

Transparency and Anonymous Peer-Reviewed Consensus would be my first pick. Efficiency, Security, and Unforgeable Record-Keeping would be close seconds.

How close are we from seeing a paperless economy with the help of cryptocurrencies?

The economy can be paperless even without cryptocurrencies, and PayTM is a glaring example. A more pertinent question is — “Is it possible that cryptocurrencies will bring in a new age of decentralized economy beyond banks and governments?” I would say YES, provided the banks and especially the governments finally accept the new paradigm, and support the initiatives.

‘Blockchain is here to stay’ is the headline everywhere. What’s your take on that?

I see Blockchain today as Operating Systems were in the 1970s. People have in fact started fighting over their favorite OS platform, and their programming language of choice, and we will have to wait to see which corporate giant wins the fight in the long run. Nevertheless, people have already started writing “applications” on the open-source Blockchain platforms, and this trend will usher in a bright future.

Tell us a bit about your upcoming session at the ‘Blockchain Business Conference’?

I am going to be a part of the “Technology of Trust” panel discussion and would love to talk about the security aspects of blockchain and cryptocurrencies.

What are your expectations from the Blockchain Business Conference?

I am looking forward to an erudite discussion about the development and growth of Blockchain Technology in India. I would love to know more about the practical problems in security and privacy of Blockchain solutions, talk to the practitioners in the field, and be a part of the Blockchain movement ushered in by the AP Govt.

Would you give a piece of advice to the governments of nations who fear to adopt blockchain or in the process of implementation?

In my humble opinion, every Government prefers a stable time-tested solution over a path-breaking new technology. Although it is natural to assess and reduce the risk of accepting a new paradigm, it is also of paramount importance to gain an early-movers advantage in areas that will prove to be crucial in the long run. I believe every Government should strive to cut through the hype of Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies and explore the core technology to its fullest potential.

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