Raj Kapoor on CoinGeek Backstage

IBA founder Raj Kapoor: India can dominate Web3, despite past missed opportunities in internet evolution

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India Blockchain Alliance (IBA) founder Raj Kapoor disclosed in an interview with CoinGeek Backstage that India has the resources to emerge as the leading hub for Web3 technologies after playing second fiddle in previous technology revolutions.

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Kapoor, a participant at the Blockchain for Productivity Forum in India, said blockchain can improve several sectors of the local economy while attracting heavy international investments. To tap into blockchain benefits, Kapoor opines that the country will have to establish a proper framework and critical initiatives to pique the interest of residents.

While a framework appears within reach, Kapoor argues that triggering local blockchain adoption will not be a walk in the park for enthusiasts. Kapoor pointed out that increasing adoption levels for the disruptive technology led him to establish the India Blockchain Alliance with the sole purpose of “making India the superpower in blockchain.”

“We’ve missed the Web1 bus, we’ve missed Web2, but the Web3 bus is ours,” said Kapoor. “This is India’s destination, and that is where we are dialing in.”

In the few years of its existence, Kapoor says the IBA has been living up to its objectives, raising new milestones in line with its mission statement. The association’s founder confirmed that the project had reached 32,000 pupils across 289 schools in rural India to spread awareness of the blockchain and other emerging technologies.

Kapoor remarks that the efforts of the IBA are geared toward deepening India’s Web 3 talent pool to support the long-term ambitions to become a Web3 powerhouse. To achieve proper gender balance, the IBA is earmarking 70% of its funds to educate the girl child on disruptive technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain.

Kapoor cites a partnership with the state of Goa as the IBA’s “greatest achievement” to build the world’s largest Web3 district to house leading industry players, including developers, funds, digital asset exchanges, and decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs).

In early 2023, the Indian government, via the National Institute for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog, rolled out a learning module for citizens keen on learning blockchain skills in partnership with 5ire and Network Capital.

A not-so-warm Web3 embrace

Alongside the efforts of the IBA to increase adoption metrics for blockchain, India’s government is seemingly making inroads with the technology. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman predicted a 46% adoption rate by the end of the decade amid attempts by municipal governments to incorporate the technology.

India’s capital city of New Delhi announced plans to use blockchain for its criminal investigation processes while others are turning to the offering to improve real estate transactions and record-keeping.

However, despite the forays into Web3, critics point to the government’s handling of digital currencies as gloomy days ahead for blockchain in India. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has described blockchain as akin to gambling, while the Finance Ministry has imposed stifling tax burdens on investors and service providers since 2022.

Watch: India is building Web3 enabled payment rails

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