Sharanya is a digital media expert who works with leading U.S. and Indian companies and brands, modernizing their digital strategy. Vishakhapatnam, or Vizag, is home to one of India’s largest container porst.

(INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP/Getty Images) Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently hailed blockchain’s transformative potential and emphasized the need for “rapid adaptation,” a rare instance of a head of state publicly praising the technology. Blockchain’s grand promise is to do for transparency what the Internet did for communication.

It increases trust between two parties — a particularly big deal in economies with low counterparty trust. More than 80% of Indians work in the informal economy, which relies more on interpersonal trust than formal contracts, leaving them vulnerable to fraud.

The country has a 69% bribery rate and was ranked the most corrupt nation in Asia in 2017. Loan frauds average almost $2 billion a year, and to hedge against this, interest rates on business loans routinely run high, up to 20%, denoting low trust. Modi’s comments were not in isolation.

For a while now India has been bullish on blockchain — and a port city, nicknamed “the city of destiny” and relatively unknown on the world stage, is emerging as the country’s blockchain hub. In 2016, the government of the southeastern state of Andhra Pradesh launched the ambitious “FinTech Valley Vizag” initiative with the aim of building Visakhapatnam, or Vizag, into a world-class fintech ecosystem bringing together government, academia, corporates, investors and entrepreneurs.  FinTech Valley Vizag’s chief architect, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu, has done this before. Read more from…

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