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NPCI’s blockchain project Falcon to boost India’s payments sector

The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has launched a new open-source project allowing Indians to easily build and deploy blockchain payment solutions.

Named Falcon, the new project is designed to make it easier to manage applications on private blockchain network Hyperledger Fabric. It will focus on projects deployed on the Kubernetes cluster, a set of node machines that run containerized applications.

Falcon “aims at simplifying complex process of setting up, configuring, and maintaining Fabric nodes, peers, orderers, and channels within a Kubernetes environment,” NPCI said in its statement.

India has had a checkered history with digital assets, with the country’s central bank cracking down on the sector over the years. However, the NPCI has been more open to these currencies, with the head of blockchain at the institution, Sudeep Choudhari, telling CoinGeek that digital assets have a role in India’s future payments.

India has also embraced blockchain technology as it seeks to increase financial inclusion. The Asian country is home to over 191 million unbanked people over the age of 15, the second-largest share globally after China’s 224 million.

India’s openness to utilizing blockchain technology is also related to its attempt to improve public trust in government and its services, as highlighted by the Chairman of the Blockchain for Productivity Forum, Dr. Satya N. Gupta, during a panel discussion at the London Blockchain Conference earlier this year.

“Blockchain is tailor-made to solve the problems of privacy and trust,” he said.

Falcon is NPCI’s latest effort to enable Indian developers to leverage blockchain technology to boost payments. However, it’s currently limited to applications built on Hyperledger Fabric, and the NPCI didn’t disclose if it would support public blockchains in the future.

“We hope that the Falcon initiative will help accelerate innovation and improve the efficiency of the digital payments industry,” the agency added.

As the NPCI taps blockchain to enhance payments, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is looking to leverage artificial intelligence. RBI announced in August that it wants to integrate AI into its UPI instant payments system, offering users conversational payments.

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