Many traders and people are buying bitcoins from India, says David Ben Key X Function.

So far India has separated blockchain technology with cryptocurrencies. Even as blockchain adoption (in various industries) has grown in the country, cryptocurrency has remained a no-show here. Interestingly, 2020 has been one of the biggest years for cryptocurrency as the leading bitcoin crossed $ 21,000 for the first time.

The situation is a bit interesting for crypto-blockchain players who will obviously be looking at India for their next round of growth. We spoke to David Ben Key, President at Function X, a testnet developed by a blockchain developer from Singapore. David touched on a wide range of issues related to cryptocurrency, blockchain, and of course India’s potential. The edited excerpts are:

India is one of the major economies. In the last few years what we have seen is that blockchain as a technology is approved in principle but not much clarity on cryptocurrency. In that situation you see India as a huge untapped market, what do you think where blockchain can be used in India?

We all understand where the delays relate to technology and the regulators. One of those basic precepts of cryptocurrency and blockchain is decentralization. There is no party that controls everything, it is devolved. So when you’re dealing with organizations whose power is central to centralization, whether it’s government or central bank, they’re going to be threatened by the idea that whatever they are control it goes out of their hand then it becomes more of a problem for them. So, it takes time and understandably so for the developers to develop a sufficiently high level of trust in a particular technology or product, let us say cryptocurrency. So with crypto, that reputation is in the dark web, money laundering, terrorism financing – those are legitimate issues.

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Over time we have seen that the government is at least involved in digital currency – if not the real cryptocurrency but definitely digital currency. The pandemic has in many ways accelerated much of that – like home-working people, robotic use. It has also accelerated us to become a cashless society and so it is in the Government’s interest to move to a cashless society. Even in India, blackmailing proves that the concept of paper money is falling by the side of the road. Thus, more use cases have arisen because governments, in general, are convinced of the value of blockchain as a technology. First, what we tried to do is to separate the technology – let the Government see the value of blockchain first, let them understand the benefits. So it’s not all tied to the funding. But now we are at a point where the Government itself is trying to calculate finances in a different way especially accelerated by the pandemic.

Are you part of the Facebook Libra Society?

No. We are not.

Wouldn’t it have made sense for your company to be a part of it?

It’s not a company view but my personal opinion, but in the years to come, you will see more use of anti-monopoly laws in the US and in Europe specifically to fight large tech companies that take advantage of their large share of the market. The problem I have on Facebook going into this is that it is too big, it will be similar to Amazon. And what they do is they take the information of their consumers that they gather from one aspect of their business and they apply that to getting customers in their other businesses. So, that is a monopoly operation and that does not suit us because what we do is not part of cryptocurrency but digital currency, so it is still centralized. Therefore, they do not devolve power in a devolved way. So, he doesn’t have the mark of trust for me yet but maybe some day.

India is one of the largest smartphone markets, so do you think we’ll see some sort of mobile solution for blockchain or cryptocurrencies in the future?

What we are seeing at ground level is that many Indian traders and people are buying bitcoin from India – so this is what we are seeing globally. If you see any statistics, it is clear that India is a huge market. The second thing is Indian companies as recently we heard TATA entering the blockchain space so much like the outside world. It’s almost a paradigm change at the internet level, so we’re seeing big companies trying to go into space by separating crypto and blockchain – so I think that’s a huge move.

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So as a major mobile phone market in the world, I think the access of big companies is very big. We recently saw PayPal access to the market, and it got a lot of people into the market. Some say the recent value of bitcoin is partly due to PayPal. So, we think a similar trend is happening in India with companies like TATA entering this space.

When you talk about computing power, don’t you think in such situations that instead of relying on traditional desktops, quantum computers will make a lot of sense?

Quantum computers can run sophisticated computing power that they look for Ethereum network can you power the network with your phone. It’s interesting that they are looking into this because they want more people to set the goals with that. So you don’t need to have a very sophisticated piece of computer to run the network unless you decide that the network will be run by perhaps a very sophisticated computer like a bitcoin network. But in the future, there will be more and more interesting developments not only from the power of computing but also from other consensus models.

If you only had to guess, when will crypto become the equivalent of a regular currency?

I think 2025 will be the year when there is a successful mass distribution of vaccines for the pandemic. I think in the same way 2025 you will see the economies return to any kind of normality, but I think over that period of time we are going to see an acceleration of the things this. So we have these great distributors in the US and it’s going into communities that are being hit hard by the pandemic and there is a great interest in crypto in those areas – so I think that sign. These are not people dealing in stock markets but commoners – so you’ll see a grassroots movement. 2025 seems like a pretty short and reasonable timeline when you look back at 2020 and think like no one was dealing with this, and now you’re like using it every time – I think we see it coming.

From an Indian perspective, can you share how blockchain is as space grows and do you see its adoption happening on a larger scale?

David: We see adoption in many countries. So, China is getting heartbroken in technological aspects of it because it is also a good basic AI building block. If you are looking in terms of an intelligent network or internet of things – if you have blockchain as a component of that, it will function better. So, AI relies on a huge amount of data and the Cloud can manage it now but as that gets bigger and bigger then blockchain technology can become a harmless component that will continue to grow. Again, in terms of cost, it follows the same pattern as you have with these other technologies. When there is more adoption the cost of implementing and running it will decrease. So, in terms of the bandwidth that will be needed if you want to enter or mine, it will become much more accessible to the average person.