Indian IT Giant Tech Mahindra and Local Gov’t Launch Blockchain Accelerator

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Tech Mahindra, the IT subsidiary of Indian conglomerate Mahindra Group, is launching a blockchain accelerator together with the government of the southern state of Telangana. 

The parties hope the accelerator will become a “torch-bearer” for future accelerators nationwide, the Economic Times reported on Feb. 19.

The new “T-Block Accelerator” is aimed at fostering blockchain startups that have identified a strong real-world use case for the technology, and to boost industry growth overall.

Innovation management firm IBC Media will run the accelerator program, which developed following a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that was signed between the government of Telangana and Tech Mahindra back in 2018. 

Tech Mahindra bullish on blockchain’s future

The MoU pledges to make the state the “blockchain capital of the world,” with a particular focus on Telangana’s largest city, Hyderabad and the development of a specialized Telangana Blockchain District there.

Rajesh Dhuddu, global practice leader of Tech Mahindra’s blockchain unit, told reporters:

“We at Tech Mahindra have been bullish in our efforts to expand blockchain adoption in India and globally. Our partnership with the state government for the Telangana Blockchain District stems from our desire to build a world-class support infrastructure for blockchain startups and to make Hyderabad a destination of choice among several new-age entrepreneurs and blockchain evangelists.”

Registration for the accelerator has been open since early February. It will involve a one-week boot camp, followed by a four-week-long intensive training program, comprising workshops, presentations and practice-oriented assignments.

The parties involved have said they hope that advancements made at a state level can contribute to further states’ proactive investment in the technology.

Blockchain and cryptocurrencies in India: a sharp divide

As reported, the Telangana Blockchain District was established to foster a local ecosystem for blockchain startups and research institutes working across a diverse range of applications.

The main strategy behind the district is the offer of substantial concessions and benefits, including tax relief, state-sponsored cloud storage subsidies and financial grants. 

A specialized district policy also provided for the creation of a regulatory sandbox, educational initiatives and an R&D institute in Telangana, as well as paving the way for the newly-launched incubator.

Prior to this, Telangana had earlier signed several MoUs with blockchain firms with the view of implementing the technology in state applications. 

Beyond blockchain, the status and future of decentralized private cryptocurrencies in India remains uncertain. The local industry awaits the outcome of a landmark case at the Supreme Court of India, hearings for which were held Jan. 14 through Jan. 23. 

The case centers on the contested legality of the Reserve Bank of India’s imposition of a ban on banks’ dealings with crypto-related firms in April 2018, which has been in effect since July of that year.