MUMBAI: Exactly two years after it issued a caution against use of virtual currency bitcoin, the Reserve Bank of India has come around to appreciate the strengths of the underlying ‘blockchain’ technology. Blockchain is a digital platform which records all bitcoin transactions in a way that cannot be altered.
In December 2013, the RBI had cautioned users, holders and traders of virtual currencies (VCs), including bitcoins, about the potential financial, operational, legal, customer protection and security-related risks that they are exposing themselves to. This week, in its report on financial stability, the RBI said that even as opinion diverged on the virtual currency itself, the key technical concept of ‘blockchain’ which underpins such cryptocurrency systems is drawing more attention now.
“With its potential to fight counterfeiting, the ‘blockchain’ is likely to bring about a major transformation in the functioning of financial markets, collateral identification (land records for instance) and payments system,” said the RBI. The central bank pointed out that the traditional system of record maintenance works on the basis of ‘trust’ and the ‘regulatory’ and ‘controlling’ power of central entities/counter parties. “As against this, the ‘blockchain’ technology is based on a shared, secured and