⛓ Blockchain & Crypto: Fundamentals and Opportunities

Building trust, transparency & decentralisation.

In this article, we look at the business ideas & usecases around Blockchain in India. The Indian Dream is a weekly newsletter that gives you latest Business Ideas, Opportunities and Trends direct to your inbox. Join 1,500+ other entrepreneurs looking for their next big business!

🥡 Takeaways

  1. Blockchains build trust, reducing the need for intermediaries (eg. banks for complex international transactions, marketplaces like Amazon).

  2. Supply chain traceability in agriculture, pharmaceuticals & fashion will be a major use case of blockchain.

  3. Blockchain enables distributed ownership of real world assets (eg. Real Estate).

(Note: We’re not going to discuss NFT’s in this article)

This is not going to be another Bitcoin article. (though if you want to buy some while supporting us, use our link to sign up to WazirX or Bitdroplet)

The purpose of this article is to look at Blockchain, the technology that underlies Bitcoin and is driving hundreds of other applications. There was a wave of ‘Blockchain Enabled’ startups that were born and died in the late 2010’s. Just look at the graph below - VC investments peaked at $5.5 billion in 2018 and then plummeted to less than $3 billion in 2019.

So why are we talking about Blockchain now?

Just like with IoT, there was an initial craze before a move towards maturity.

Blockchain technology is now in its second decade of existence and use cases for it are emerging across sectors including Finance, Supply Chain, Healthcare and much more.

Even the Indian government is bullish on Blockchain. The Indian Government’s “plan is to ban private crypto-assets while promoting blockchain” - NISG wrote a Draft National Strategy for Blockchain, NITI Aayog wrote Blockchain: The India Strategy and the government even set up a Centre of Excellence in Blockchain Technology.

We are bullish on this technology changing the way business is conducted - any process that lacks trust and requires an intermediary (ex. a bank) to provide that trust, is at risk of being replaced by Blockchain. In this newsletter, we’ll explore the business opportunities around building Blockchain businesses in India.

🧐 Market Gap

What is Blockchain & How does it help?

This is my favourite layperson explanation of blockchain:

  • Blockchain is a specific type of database.

  • It differs from a typical database in the way it stores information; blockchains store data in blocks that are then chained together. 

  • As new data comes in it is entered into a fresh block. Once the block is filled with data it is chained onto the previous block, which makes the data chained together in chronological order.

  • Different types of information can be stored on a blockchain but the most common use so far has been as a ledger for transactions. 

  • In Bitcoin’s case, blockchain is used in a decentralized way so that no single person or group has control—rather, all users collectively retain control.

  • Decentralized blockchains are immutable, which means that the data entered is irreversible. For Bitcoin, this means that transactions are permanently recorded and viewable to anyone.

Thus, blockchains:

  • Increase trust because the blockchains are immutable.

  • Increase transparency & traceability because public blockchains are open to everyone.

  • Reduce cybercrime because blockchains are harder to hack.

We explain public, private & consortium blockchains at the end of this article.

🎯 Use Cases

Smart Contracts

Smart contracts have the most economic potential in applications of blockchain.

Quite simply, if a set of pre-defined rules are met, the smart contract executes itself to produce the output which is recorded on the blockchain.

Smart Contract Example

Step 1: You & I make a Smart Contract where I give you ₹100 for 1kg of Apples.

Step 2: My IoT device senses 1kg of Apples sent by you.

Step 3: Smart Contract executes automatically -> you receive ₹100.

Applications of Smart Contracts

We created a detailed list of the uses cases of Blockchain, but here’s a simplified list:

  • Financial Applications - DeFi or Decentralised Finance is a popular application we’ll cover in detail in the future.

  • Digital Identity Management

  • Supply Chain Applications

  • Manufacturing

  • Educational Certifications in Students/Employee Credentials

  • Healthcare

  • Telecommunications

  • Government

  • Shared Data Services

  • Decentralised Marketplaces

  • Others

Click here to see the detailed list.

Asset Tokenisation

A blockchain token is issued to digitally represent a real world tradable asset. This tokenisation allows trading of even a small fraction of the asset.

Asset Tokenisation Example

Step 1: A piece of Real Estate is tokenised.

Step 2: Investors buy small pieces of the tokenised asset.

Step 3: The tokenised assets have more liquidity than a full home and can now be traded. The entire history of transactions for these tokens will be stored on the chain.

Here’s a 60 page OECD article on Asset Tokenisation if you want to go deeper.

Applications of Asset Tokenisation

Real Estate is my favourite application of Asset Tokenisation because Real Estate can have as much or more return potential than equity but it favours the rich because of the large ticket sizes. Tokenising Real Estate, with low management fees unlike REIT’s, can democratise the returns potential from Real Estate.

🥊 Players (from India)

Financial Services

  1. LALA World - $2 million funding but I can’t find a website.

  2. DeFi Wizard - $750k funding

    • “Defi wizard is a dashboard for building DeFi (decentralized finance) smart contracts with a few clicks” - classic ‘Picks & Shovels’ business.

  3. Whrrl

    • Using blockchain for asset-backed lending for Agri-commodities

  4. Primechain - Blockchain services for the banking industry.

  5. EzyRemit - Remittances - the website doesn’t work.

Blockchain in Supply Chains

  1. Comdex - basically trying to get rid of the middlemen in international trade finance for commodities trading.

  2. SHINE-trace - Supply chain traceability.

  3. StaTwig - Vaccine supply chains

Cryptocurrency Exchanges

  1. WazirX - Acquired by Binance

  2. CoinDCX - $5.5 million funding

  3. Zebpay - $1.1 million funding

  4. bitbns - $1 million funding

  5. Many many more

I don’t understand what they do

  1. Zebi - $11 million funding

    • “Zebi provides Data and Analytics as a Service to Indian Businesses/Governments of all sizes.”

  2. Auxesis - $2.5 million funding

  3. Elemential - $1 million funding

  4. Polygon - $450k funding

Other Stuff

  1. Signzy - $12.6 million funding

    • Identity verification

  2. KrypC - Low Code Blockchain development platform

Blockchain Development Services

  1. Solu Labs

  2. Debut Infotech

  3. MindDeft

  4. Sofocle Technologies

  5. Somish Blockchain Labs


🙏 Our Predictions

🛒 Opportunities

🧐 Looking to explore this market?

You can drop us an email and we’ll do our best to connect you to relevant people.

Email Us

📉 Challenges

  • Uncertainty around regulations in India is keeping people away from this industry.

🦋 Share the research with your Friends


🔗 Links

  1. Blockchain for Dummies E-Book by IBM

  2. Blockchain Technology and Manufacturing Industry: Real-Time Transparency and Cost Savings

  3. Application of blockchain technology in the manufacturing industry

Types of Blockchains

  1. Public Blockchain

    • Publicly Distributed ledger system.

    • Decentralised: Anyone who is connected to the internet can join.

    • Full Transparancy: Transactions can be audited by anyone - fraudulent activities are easier to catch.

    • Pure Peer-to-peer: The middleman is cut out of the transaction.

    • Bitcoin, Litcoin & Ethereum are examples of public blockchains.

  2. Private Blockchain

    • Closed Network: Only select members are participants.

    • Centralised: A single authority maintains the network

    • Best used for Internal Purposes.

    • The middleman is re-introduced, sort of.

    • Privacy: The network authority chooses who can read the blockchain’s transactions.

    • Good fit for traditional business.

  3. Consortium Blockchain

    • Part Private and Part Public

    • Operate under the leadership of a group instead of a single entity.

      • A “trustworthy council of elders” oversee the consensus process and authorize transactions.

      • Other people may be able to create new transactions, review transactions & review blockchain history. The exact rights afforded to the public varies from consortium to consortium.

    • Relatively Decentralised.

    • Works for organisational collaboration.

Proof of Work vs. Proof of Stake - some more technical details