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Sept. 5, 2022

#021: Is this the AWS of Blockchain Infrastructure? ft. Dr. Ravi Chamria


Dr. Ravi Chamria, CEO of Zeeve, talks to us about different blockchain models and helps us understand the various aspects around enterprise blockchain infrastructure. We discuss about some amazing blockchain use cases in supply chain, real estate, identity management etc. and try to find out how far are we from having blockchain based elections.

Zeeve is an enterprise blockchain company powering the infrastructure for thousands of blockchain startups, enterprises and Web 3.0 developers, and helping them deploy, scale, monitor and manage their decentralized applications.

Resources:
Zeeve Website: https://www.zeeve.io
Zeeve on Twitter: https://twitter.com/0xZeeve
Zeeve on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/0xzeeve
Join the Zeeve Telegram Community: https://t.me/ZeeveDeeptech
Dr. Ravi Chamria on Twitter: https://twitter.com/rpchamria
Dr. Ravi Chamria on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rchamria
Transcript and Chapter Markers: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1968123/11258032

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Transcript

The AWS of Blockchain Infrastructure


Roy: If you are an enterprise building dApps on the Blockchain, if you're looking to build and scale applications faster on the blockchain, this episode is going to be interesting for you because today on our podcast we have Dr Ravi Chamria - the cofounder and CEO of Zeeve which is an enterprise blockchain company that is powering infrastructure for thousands of blockchain startups enterprises and Web 3.0 developers and helping them deploy, scale, monitor and manage their decentralized applications. 


Previously, Dr. Ravi has worked with various leadership roles across industries such as ecommerce, fintech, insurtech and supply chain. He's a renowned speaker on AI, ML, blockchain and IoT. 


This is your host Roy and you are listening to The MetaRoy Podcast where we make understanding the Web 3.0 space simple every week. If you have tuned in for the first time, welcome and if you have been following us for a while, welcome back. 


Before we start, just a quick disclaimer. The following content is informational only and not financial advice so please do your own due diligence before making any moves in the Web 3.0 space. With that out of the way, let's get started.


Dr. Ravi’s Background

Roy: Dr. Ravi, thank you for joining us and it's my absolute pleasure to welcome you on this podcast. How is your day going so far? 

Ravi: Thanks Prasant, the day has been good. A good journey and thanks for welcoming me here. I would love to be part of this journey of yours

Roy: Exactly and we are excited to have you here as well. So just to give a quick background about yourself, can you share some experiences that you have had in the past in your career and what has been your background so far and how you kind of moved into the Web 3.0 space? Can you outline that journey for us? 

Ravi: Yeah so my whole It journey has been very exciting. In fact I did my MBBS from Maulana Azad Medical College way back in 2000 but during that time dotcom boom happened, I started in the tech space, got into IT and then stayed there in IT for the last 22 years. 

During this time I worked with quite a few startups. I joined some of the startups in senior leadership roles. Last I was with Biz2Credit as a CTO for almost six-seven years. So in the fintech domain for eight to ten years and got the blockchain bug in 2017. Got very much interested in the whole philosophy, the new technology and how it can revolutionize the internet so literally looking towards the new version of internet, solving some of the core challenges of the current state the internet is in. 

That's also why I left and then started a blockchain startup called Sofocle, one of the earliest ones in India. Started with the blockchain, built some enterprise products in the financial services, supply chain and education spaces. 

During this time realized blockchain infrastructure is something very difficult to manage unlike the web to infrastructure. So found this to be a pretty good opportunity and started a SaaS platform for automation of the Web 3.0 infrastructure called Zeeve. And then we did away with consulting and started focusing pretty much on the infrastructure part. 

Roy: Got it. So our audience itself is kind of very interested in this topic itself and I've been getting a lot of questions about the blockchain. And since you look at the infrastructure side of things, I wanted to ask you this question. Can you just outline a bit the differences between the different types of blockchain? Because this is something very relevant to you, right? There are different network models out there. Can you outline this for our audience a bit? 

Ravi: Right, so from the concept side as well as from the adoption side first, the larger category is public protocols and permission or private protocols. Now, in the case of public protocols, the whole idea of how Bitcoin and blockchain technology came into existence, the concept was that there should be transparency of data, transparency of transactions, it should be a distributed ledger where everyone can see what is happening. So public protocols with the same philosophies are where you have synonymous transactions and all the transactions are public. Anybody can join the network to either become a minor or staker or build applications on top of it. So it's basically managed by people and anybody can participate in it. That is typically a public protocol. 

And the thing in public protocol is all the transactions are transparent. They are publicly available for anyone to download and see. When enterprises started off implementing blockchains, they thought that in a closed network we do require permissioning. We don't want anyone to join the network or write to the distributed ledger. So there needs to be some kind of permissioning. And that's how the concept of permission blockchains came in. Where the larger difference is that there are permission actors or users of the network, only those people are able to join and then there are additional permissions who can write to the database or the ledger, who can view the transactions, etc. For and then they may have additional layers like privacy and compliances regulations, etc. for so that's permission protocols. To take an example, like public protocols, we have Bitcoin, Ethereum, Polygon, Avalanche, Phantom, et cetera. And in the case of permission protocols, we have Hyperledger fabric being one of the most popular and adopted. And then we have R3 Coda, Hyperledger Sawtooth and then some of the new ones like Dragon Chain, et cetera. 

Apart from this, hybrid blockchains have also come into play. So hybrid blockchain is a mix of public and permission blockchains where some piece of it can be public. For example, in some of the use cases you may require the view only access can be public, right? So I remember doing a project for Gold Tokenization where the back end supply chain needed to have access to certain actors only. But as far as the viewing of transactions is concerned, that was public. So it's a mix of public and permission and there are a few hybrid blockchains and in fact quite a few public protocols are now moving into enterprise space like Polygon with Polygon Edge, where you will see the flavors of public as well as permission blockchains. 

Roy: Got it. That makes it really easy to understand.


Current State of and Challenges behind Enterprise Blockchain Adoption

Roy: Since Zeeve is more into the enterprise blockchain space. Let's focus on that for a moment. Can you tell us what is happening in the enterprise blockchain space? What is the current state of blockchain adoption in enterprises? How are people kind of adapting to this space? Is it a fast movement or where are we in the current state? What are kind of some of the challenges that enterprises are having from moving from a Web 2.0 infrastructure to a Web 3.0 infrastructure? Can you outline that a bit for us? 

Ravi: Yes. So the current state, I would say that things have started picking up as far as blockchain adoption in enterprises is concerned in the last two years. Before that it was pretty much slow. It was mostly POC's, pilots and there were very few implementations. But now in the last two years we have started seeing quite a few large implementations in the enterprise and the challenges are very clear. It's not just about technology adoption because blockchain sometimes leads to transformational business models, a lot of disruptions. So it requires a huge management buy in because it's not just an incremental change in most of the use cases. 

And second, most of the blockchain use cases in enterprise are consortium led use cases where not just one organization will be involved, but all different kind of external organizations will be involved. Now to bring them together under one umbrella, have different kind of governance rules, what kind of access controls, etc. That would be there. Designing the smart contract architecture, it becomes a long drawn exercise and that's the reason your implementation has been quite slow. 

But the good thing is that yes, it has started picking up the last couple of years. A lot of implementations have happened in financial services, supply chain, telecom, retail, et cetera. We are already seeing that. Apart from this, there are some practical challenges like the DevOps requirements for Web 3.0 infrastructure is quite different from Web 2.0. And there's a lack of expertise and talent still. A lot of people are getting trained on Web 3.0. But if you talk about somebody who can architect a sound blockchain solution, still the lack of expertise is there. There is very few talent available as compared to the demand in the market. So these are some of the challenges that we are seeing in the market. But yes, the market is great. 

One interesting thing that has come up is that the tokenization piece, both fungible as it's non fungible. Now this piece started from public protocols, started with NFTs and Gold tokens and various other tokenized assets. But now this is moving into enterprise space a big time and a lot of real world asset tokenization is being talked about. And a lot of initiatives are happening where real estate or carbon credit or bonds or different kinds of real world assets are being tokenized. 

Roy: Got it. 


Tokenization of Real World Assets

Roy: You mentioned about real estate and carbon trade. Can you outline an example of how these real world assets are tokenized on the blockchain? 

Ravi: Yes, each kind of asset has got a different set of challenges today. So take an example of real estate. Real estate today are pretty much counted as a liquid or semi liquid kind of assets. Right. Because we know that the buying and selling of assets or taking loans against the mortgages take a huge amount of time starting from two to four weeks to even three months. And second, some of the assets have become so expensive that there's less participation from smaller retail investors. So these are some of the challenges which real estate tokenization solves. 

And what it does is you can Tokenize a real estate and so by tokenizing you can in fact do a fractional tokenization where you can divide the real estate property into multiple pieces using tokens. And that's where the cost of one token becomes comparatively less and more affordable to retail investors. So you get more liquidity getting into the market. 

Second, by tokenization we are making the process more seamless. So understanding from the perspective of what is happening in DeFi and tokenization and combining them together. So today we have DeFi platforms where it's very easy to connect your wallet and you can take a DeFi loan. Right. But the thing is, all the DeFi platforms are today based on crypto collateralization. So you need to give crypto as a collateral and then you get another crypto back or another token back visibility. 

Just imagine that this real estate property which has been tokenized and it is meeting all the compliances which have defined wherever the property decides. Now this tokenized asset can be put on the DeFi and then you can avail loan against it. So the mortgages which take four to eight weeks can be done in a few minutes. Right. So that is the kind of disruption is going to happen that we are going to see by real estate organizations and then, you know, impact it will create on insurance lending, on the government side, collecting taxes or a different kind of revenue streams. So it's going to disrupt the whole process that we have today. 

Roy: Exactly. I've worked in the real estate industry myself. I know how difficult it is to kind of even demarcate like what boundaries or what real estate you have. And now that we are able to tokenize it, and kind of take loans against it, transfer property will be much more easier, right? So transfer of rights will be much easier. So I think these are really interesting use cases. I would love to talk more about it. But let's come back to the enterprise blockchain for a moment. 


How Zeeve Makes Scaling dApps on the Blockchain easier?

Roy: So, you mentioned about consortium blockchains. I think one of the use cases that you mentioned about was supply chain. Right. So my question is when two huge players are kind of interacting through the blockchain, how difficult is it to scale up the blockchain? For example, you mentioned there were challenges in scaling up. There is not right talent that is available. How is it that Zeeve is trying to make this process easier for people in a consortium level of blockchain? How is it making it easier for people to scale up or amp up their applications right now? 

Ravi: Yeah, so one, first and foremost we bring in the know how and the expertise. And it's not just the manual way of doing it. We have done 100% automation for the complete DevOps that is required by enterprise blockchain infrastructure. So starting from deployment of blockchain network to CI CD automation and then defining all the API queries so that it can be easily integrated into decentralized applications. Bringing in standardization of deployments so that there's a well defined architecture, there's a proper compliance and security being embedded into the architecture. 

And especially for consortium, we also bring in heterogeneous cloud deployment. So when different parties come together, they may have different cloud preferences, they may have different preferences for governance. So we bring in a heterogeneous cloud deployment where different nodes can be hosted on different clouds, still part of the same network, following the proper access control. Then we bring in decentralized governance so that different parties can have clear defined rules into the smart contract and the whole network can operate and behave based on whatever has been decided among the different parties. 

And then on an ongoing basis, there's analytics, there's proactive monitoring of all the blockchain resources as well as cloud resources to ensure that the health of network is pretty good. It's an enterprise grade deployment. So that high availability, enterprise, great security and performances there. 

Roy: Got it. 


Use Cases of Blockchain in Supply Chain and Trade Finance

Roy: You mentioned having different cloud infrastructures was really difficult earlier. Right now, with the blockchain coming in, people are able to collaborate better even in the supply chain space. Right? For example, if you're doing trade between two countries, right, let's say with China and some other country which does not have friendly relations with, but still the trade has to go on. Right. So consortium blockchains help in that space where the blockchain itself facilitates that exchange of information and the supply chain itself is kind of visible across the space without it being controlled by each party. Right. So I think those are really interesting use cases of the blockchain itself. 

Ravi: Yeah. So one of the other classic use case you can see is trade finance. So there are quite a few trade finance consortiums now which are facilitating international remittances and bringing in the desired transparency. Because I was going through one study which says that almost 35% of the cost today in trade finance is spent on just documentation. And it's not just creation of documentation, but sharing the documents here and there. There are a number of parties involved in a trade finance transaction. There are importers exporters, there are exporting bank, importing bank, intermediary banks, logistics, straightforward shippers, and bringing the customs on the government side. So bringing all them together to have data availability at the right time with proper transparency and security, it's a nightmare today. And Blockchain is solving that in a very nice way. 

Roy: I agree. I think what the cloud space did for the Web 2.0 infrastructure has been amplified in terms of what the blockchain can do for the Web 3.0 space. Right. 


Building the AWS of Enterprise Blockchain Infrastructure

Roy: So can you give us like an analogy of Web 3.0 versus what Zeeve is currently doing in Web 3.0? So can you give us an analogy? Like, I have, for instance, used platforms like Docker or Kubernetes. I've heard of them being used to scale up applications. Right. So can you give us some examples of how this is different from what is it in the web 2.0 space? 

Ravi: Yeah, so we are not similar to any specific tool. What AWS did to Cloud, Zeeve is trying to do for blockchain infrastructure. So when you see AWS for the cloud infrastructure, they brought in a sophisticated dashboard where you can manage, you can deploy your instances, they brought in managed databases, so you can use RDS or S3 and then they launched setup web services so you can use KMS on the fly with a new application. Right. 

So they built a necessary platform on top of Cloud or virtualization to make the life of developers very easy. We are trying to do the same for blockchain infrastructure. The blockchain infrastructure layer sits on top of Cloud, but most of the DevOps tools of Web 2.0 are not applicable to the Web 3.0. So we are bringing the desired automation, we are bringing the desired analytics, monitoring and different kinds of services like decentralized storage as a service or decentralized identity as a service. So I would say that it's very much like what AWS did for cloud. We are trying to do the same here. 

Roy: Got it. That makes it much more easier. 


Blockchains supported by Zeeve

Roy: And can you also talk about what are the blockchains that you have currently integrated with or what kind of blockchains you support? 

Ravi: Yeah, so we support quite a few, all the top public protocols as well as permission protocols. So on the permission side, we support Hyperledger fabric, R3 Coda, Hyperledger, sawtooth, and then we support Flurry and Dragon Chain. And then we also adding a few other hyperledger suite of products. 

On the public protocol side, we support Ethereum, Polygon, Tron, Avalanche, Phantom Finance. And now we have forged partnership with some of the new blockchain protocols which are coming up. Some of them have just launched and some of them are launching the next three to four months. So the idea is that today we support about 20 plus protocols and in the next six months we'll add another 30 protocols supported on our platform. 

Roy: Awesome. That's amazing. 


Industry Sectors Actively building their Blockchain Infrastructure and Level of Maturity

Roy: I want to focus on the industry sectors actually who are kind of building their Web 3.0 infrastructure. So which are the industries you mentioned about? Supply chain and trade, finance and real estate also right? So what are the industries which are actively building their infrastructure and what is the stage of maturity for these industries? Can you talk about that a bit? 

Ravi: So I think pretty much now, every industry has some of the other implementation of blockchain maybe to start with tokenization or to improve efficiency or to bring in transparency or trust or just usage of smart contracts to automate certain features within the organization. 

But largely some of the sectors where there's more activity. I would say financial services. Of course, one where on the public side we have seen DeFi that includes pretty much all the typical financial products like lending or deposits or investments, insurance, decentralized insurance, etc. For and on the enterprise side, also in financial services like trade, finance, invoice discounting and capital markets where a lot of art free based implementations are happening today. So financial services are definitely very active. But as we know that the financial services infrastructure has got huge inertia so it takes time to actually implement something at that scale. 

But yes, we have seen some production implementation that has happened in last year and this year. And then telecom, automotive, these are two other very interesting industries. They are some of the use cases where they are combining the decentralized identity with IoT to bring in more security and authentication to IoT devices. So quite a few use cases in telecom and automotive related to that we have seen in retail. So in retail like Walmart did for supply chain and there are on the public side we are seeing NFTs and whole Metaverse concept revolutionizing retail. You're already started seeing where some of the big brands have already announced that they are opening a shop in Metaverse etc. Metaverse now, today again you move from public protocol and touching pretty much every industry where people have started seeing what kind of use cases can be there or what kind of changes can be brought into the industry, especially for customer connect and user experience and then energy and utilities and education. 

Definitely digital record management, credentials management is already live. Quite a few schools, even in Delhi, Noda, Mumbai are using blockchain based credentials management. And then globally also quite a few universities and colleges have launched that and then government moving a bit slow as compared to the enterprise space. But we are seeing a lot of traction in the governance, especially on the governance side. Some of the use cases being tokenization like land records or different kinds of records and digital records like your birth and death registry and trade license, etc. being brought on Blockchain too, so that authentication can happen. 

One of the POC, when we used to do consulting, we did with Abu Dhabi for power of attorney documentation. That's a very simple use case, but has got a significant impact today. What happens is you have got a document and somebody just want to prove that this document is genuine. Now, in the Web 2.0 world with current information scenario, the only option is to go back to the issuing authority to validate that document. That happens whenever you submit your academic certificates for higher studies or for job purposes. It happens whenever you're submitting your trade license document. So every document needs to be authenticated from the issuing authority. In the case of Blockchain based credentials management, you are actually doing away with that. Once you have authenticated who is signing the certificate and there is a proper trail through which the certificate comes into the Blockchain infrastructure, who is that verification becomes near real time without involving the issuing authority again and again. So these are some of the prominent industries where adoption is happening across the board. 

Roy: I think it's good to hear that because these are hitting so close to home. Right. It's good to hear these active adoption of the blockchain itself because all we keep hearing in the Indian context is how the government is going against it and against crypto and the yeah, that's okay. Yeah, absolutely right. 

Ravi: So there's a division there. So Blockchain is definitely us government in fact has been supporting Blockchain. There are quite a few initiatives happening in the state and the central level. But when we come to crypto, and especially when we talk about tokens, which has got a speculative value, that's where the regulations are not clear. There's nothing much happening either for or against it. Some adverse regulations have covered, but there's no clarity. I think lack of clarity is even from my perspective, it's even much worse than having negative regulations. Right, so that's what the scenario is today. 

Roy: Exactly. I agree with you.


Enterprise Case Studies for Zeeve 

Roy: Can you talk about some more case studies? We are really interested to know you already mentioned one about the document validation part, but can you share some enterprise level case studies? That how enterprises are currently scaling up their blockchain and how you are kind of helping them scale up their apps on an enterprise level. 

Ravi: Yeah. So on the enterprise level, one is a full budget support to kickstart the Web 3.0 journey where we bring in the desired expertise. And then second is which is a core, which is the represent infrastructure management. So we ensure that they don't need to worry about the infrastructure at all. They can focus on designing the solution, building the solution, and leave everything on Z for managing the underlying infrastructure. 

And then we also have brought in standardization. So there are proprietary orchestration that we have defined for each different protocol, different protocols have got different requirements. But we know what enterprises want. We know that enterprises has got the same requirements that they have from web to like, scalability, availability, performance, security, compliance. So we are trying to bring all of those pieces so that they get the same experience that they are used to. 

We have brought some industry specific compliances and then very standardized security and regulatory pieces built into the architecture. And then of course we also help with benchmarking because currently there are no benchmarks. We have been working with so many enterprises and the three startups that we have been able to define these standards and benchmarks for the right set of Web 3.0 infrastructure. 

And we are also helping let's say some of the consulting companies, large It consulting companies who are serving different customers, building their solutions to manage the infrastructure from a single dashboard so that they can manage all their deployments, all the different networks supporting all different clouds. So today we have multiple protocols, we have multiple cloud players and we support pretty much all the popular ones on both the categories. So that also helps a lot because they are not constrained that this is not there, this is not there. So that is what the idea is to bring in automation and then plus, you know, we have built automation of CI/CD pipelines which makes the whole DevOps easy and at the same time makes some of the legacy integrations also very easy. 

So the idea is to make the journey very seamless, very hasslefree, so that enterprises can focus more on the application, part of it bringing all the desired partners into the consortium or into the application so that they can completely focus on that piece only. From a platform perspective we are use case agnostic so the enterprise may be building use cases related to supply chain or capital market or tokenization or any kind of smart contracts. Since we are operating at the infrastructure layer, it doesn't matter. But yes, slowly and slowly as we are working with healthcare, financial and some of the industries, we are adding more and more on the compliance, security and privacy side. 

Roy: Absolutely. 


What can Enterprises expect when partnering with Zeeve

Roy: For people who are listening to this podcast right now, for enterprises, people representing those enterprises, those decision makers, right, what can they expect when they partner with Zeeve? Like what are the current requirements that they should kind of have before they even start working with Zeeve and what can they expect after they work with you? 

Ravi: Yeah, so typically when the enterprise is already, let's say running a POC or pilot within the organization, they have built the initial application, they have designed the application. At that point of time we get connected. So when they are ready to deploy the application either for POC pilots or for production deployments, so that is where we get into the play. 

So they already have the application in place and they already know what the application provides for all different users are going to be part of it, what kind of access controls would be there. Then we come in when they want to set up their testnet or dev environment or production environment and there we support them full faithfully because as I mentioned, one is a standardized deployment which can be done in five to ten minutes. Pretty much do it yourself. But yes, in the case of large enterprises and some of the very custom use cases, they may have some additional requirements especially on CI/CD automation side or on the legacy integration side. Then we deploy our DevOps team which help them do that for the custom pieces. 

Roy: Got it. 


Enterprise Blockchain Infrastructure Trends

Roy: In terms of overall enterprise blockchain infrastructure itself, right? So where do you see this space heading in the next few years? What kind of trends that you foreseeing that will be there actively in the next few years and what enterprises should prepare for when they are kind of moving to the blockchain or are in the implementation journey itself? 

Ravi: Yes, I'm quite bullish on Tokenization because tokenization is very straightforward, easy to understand, it's asset management in a much more efficient, transparent and better way, right? So it will bring in more efficiency, it will bring in more transparency. So that I think definitely I'm quite bullish both on digital assets as well as real world assets, physical assets that being tokenized and traded in a long way. 

Second is all the use cases where there are a number of external parties involved like sophisticated international supply chains and today's supply chains are very complex and spanning different countries for one single product. And then trade finance again international trading is happening and then international remittances some of the use cases wherever there is more organization need to come together, we'll start seeing more implementations happening and then smart contracts. 

Now there are no legal legality to the smart contracts per se today, especially in the permission blockchains. But once some regulations come in then I think there will be more and more usage that we are going to see of smart contracts. Whether it be insurance for automated claim settlement in parametric insurance products or DeFi has already started. 

There was a white paper by somebody that DeFi is something which a lot of banks are looking at seriously and see how it can be adopted within the financial infrastructure of today. 

Roy: Got it. 


How Blockchain can enhance efficiencies in Public Sector Enterprises

Roy: Dr. Ravi, you also mentioned about some use cases which are actively being tested out like some schools in Delhi and are actually experimenting with apps like that. And even governments are kind of trying to move to this place, right? So for government players already we know that it's kind of very difficult to get them to adopt new technologies, right? So how can it basically enhance the efficiency of government players or public sector enterprises as well? Can you throw some light on that? And what are the use cases for public sector enterprises that you foresee that can be highly made efficient through the blockchain. 

Ravi: So all the use cases that we see in the enterprise are pretty much applicable in the government, especially when we know that there are a lot of PSUs, public sector companies and government departments who are doing pretty much the same thing in a different way. 
The low hanging fruit from my perspective is the whole digital record management piece. Government has been handling a huge amount of data and there are a lot of privacy concerns, a lot of security concerns regarding that and efficiency of storing and retrieving and using that data. So I think digital record management is something whether it be any kind of registry that we see land registry, to your PAN registry, to any kind of registry which is managing your different set kind of data sets. So I see blockchain can play a good role there, it's a good starting point and then identity itself. 

Apart from that, a lot of governments have already started implementing something like CBDC. Again, the idea is how to improve the payment infrastructure by using blockchain. One of the clear tenets of blockchain is not just transparency but the near real time settlement. So today in financial services we have seen that there's a lot of improvement has happened in the last 20 years on the user side. So we go online, we do net banking, we have ATM cards and we do all kinds of transactions. So on the user side, things have improved tremendously last 20 years. With the fintech revolution happening, the backend infrastructure is still very outdated. Still the settlements take a huge amount of time. So that's I think blockchain is a big promise for that purpose. And I think we are already seeing Visa, Mastercard and some of the core infrastructure players within the financial services space. They have already started implementing blockchain and investing a lot into it. 

Roy: Got it.


Blockchain Based Elections 

Roy: Dr. Ravi, this is an interesting question that one of my friends actually asked me. Will we ever have, and this is related to government, which is why I'm putting it out right now. Will we ever have voting on the blockchain? Like blockchain based voting? Do you know any countries are experimenting with this or can we have this in India? What are your thoughts around this?

Ravi: No, I think countries are experimenting. I know of some case studies where at the small level, like at the municipality level or at the smaller level it has started happening. Yeah, but assuming it will be happening at the national level for national elections, I think it's going to take a lot more time because we are talking about absolute transparency. Right? Plus the underlying infrastructure is also a pain point. Moving from paper voting to digital voting, we have seen the kind of nightmares we have seen in last five to ten years. So moving from there to a blockchain based infrastructure where people can vote using their app. I think it's going to take time from both the user adoption. 

So as more and more users start getting comfortable with the Web 3.0, like when Internet was in 90s, it was not very useful from a user perspective. The technology was very powerful. People know what it can do, but the necessary tools and the layers are not there so that users can easily interact. I think the same stages as we are in the case of Web 3.0 people are still not very comfortable connecting MetaMask to the dApps and doing the transactions. Right. So it's not just a technology adoption. Again, at such a large level, the adoption needs to come from user experience, how easy it is to do from user side as well as the back end infrastructure, how the government is going to manage it. But it's a very well established use case and it makes every possible sense to bring in blockchain based voting. So it will happen, it may take five years, ten years, I don't know, but it should happen. 

Roy: Exactly. 


Enterprise Blockchain Data Security

Roy: And one more aspect of data with the government, right? For example, we have such concerns about security of that data, which is kind of being shared right now, like Aadhaar card numbers being shared and all of that being leaked. How do you think the blockchain is going to help in that sense? How is it going to improve the overall security of government data or enterprise data? Basically, how is going to improve the security aspect of the overall data that is being handled by big enterprises? 

Ravi: Yes, I think in the case of data, the challenges, who is controlling the data. If the user is not controlling the data or user does not have any transparency as to what is happening with the data, then it becomes very difficult. Then we don't even know that what is happening with the data. And that is what is true today with blockchain. 

The major benefit is that users are going to have a control. Like if you take an example of a simple example of academic credentials. Now in a blockchain based academic credentials, you get the credentials from the university. Now that academic credentials is lying in your wallet. You have absolute ownership and control over that. Now, if you share that you are applying for, let's say hire studies or for job purposes, you apply somewhere, you share that document, you can actually revoke the access after two days or three days. 

Typically in the internet we see that you have a digital data, you share it, you lose control over it. But in blockchain, even you can have control over your digital data in the form of tokenized data. Converting that into NFT, you own the control, you retain the control of it. That is what smart contract does it. That is what some of the NFT standards do. So that's a huge change as compared to what we see today. So this was a simple use case. 

But you see the Ramifications and then the Ramifications are huge because once users start having control of the data, then the abuse of data or let's say security challenges or privacy challenges that we see today will become much more difficult to achieve in the case of Web 3.0. Roy: Completely makes sense. 


Dr. Ravi's Thoughts on the Ethereum Merge

Roy: And since you're actively involved in blockchain development, one of the questions that developers always keep talking about is the Ethereum merge that is coming up, right? So what are your thoughts on the Ethereum merge and what do you think is going to happen after the merge? 

Ravi: So I in fact wrote an article on LinkedIn last week on merge. So this definitely is one of the most significant events of this year and very excited about Ethereum merge because one, there's a significant change from proof of work to proof of stake consensus and it's huge in terms of energy savings. Like the change in the energy consumption will be almost 99.99%. So all the talks about NFT being climate unfriendly or blockchain spending so much of electricity, etc. For those things will be over. 

And then of course, this merger is not just on changing the consensus, but there are a few other changes so it will bring in much more scalability. The whole economics is changing in terms of being more deflationary now. Ethereum launched EIP 1559 last year where they started burning some of the transaction fee and with this now they are changing the model of new token minting. So with merge happening, the new tokens minted will be a percentage of the total number of tokens that are being staked and that will become very less in terms of percentage. The number of new tokens getting into the market will also be less as compared to what it is today. So overall it will have deflationary trends, but largely this is a huge event happening from a decentralization perspective also. 

So like today we see that Ethereum has grown huge. There are millions of developers and dabs and things are happening on Ethereum and there are so many nodes who are managing Ethereum now. Everybody thought that, like in the case of Bitcoin, to make any small change, we see a danger of having a hard fork, right? Because people are not able to come together to make a large decision. Merge is also proving to the world that in such a large decentralized infrastructure, in such a large decentralized organization, still a sound decision making can happen and such an event or such a change or upgrade at this large level can also happen with this model. So that, I think is the other side of it that Ethereum is going to prove. 

So yes, overall very excited about merge happening. So post-merge we are going to see Ethereum will become even more attractive. The gas prices are already stabilized. So that's a myth that merges has anything to do with gas prices? It's not, but gas prices have already come down in the last two months and then a lot of L2s have come up - Polygon - and there are quite a few others who are building on Ethereum. So I think the overall Ethereum ecosystem will take a boost with Merge because now people will believe that, yes, more and more upgrades which are required in technology, where you need to keep on upgrading the or updating the infrastructure. So that is possible with Ethereum. So I think that's very promising. 

Roy: Exactly. I think for me, the most exciting part is how this huge machine that Ethereum has built right. Of developers all across the globe kind of working together, having a consensus between developers itself is so difficult to achieve. Right? Yeah. And people kind of coming together and building this and kind of agreeing to take this to the next level. I think that is something that is wonderful, that has kind of come out of my experience with Ethereum. Again, not financial advice. This is just about Ethereum perspective. 

Ravi: Absolutely. 


Closing Thoughts

Roy: Dr. Ravi, it was great connecting with you. How can our listeners connect with you online and keep getting these insights from you? Can you suggest the best ways to do that? 

Ravi: I'm very active on LinkedIn. I continue to write LinkedIn articles and share some of the posts. In addition to that, as part of the Contributing to the Web 3.0 ecosystem, we do monthly webinars where I talk about DeFi. Whatever latest is happening, try to make it very lucid. So we do webinars both for enterprise blockchain as well as what is happening in the public protocol space. So Twitter, LinkedIn are two areas where I'm active on social media. And plus, do join us on Meetup, join some of the webinars that we are doing and various other activities that we plan to do. 

Roy: Awesome. And all the links to Dr. Ravi’s social handles and all the links to Zeeve itself, you'll find them in the description below. So do check that out and please make it a point to connect with him and say hi from the MetaRoy Podcast. 

On that note, Doctor Ravi, thank you so much for sharing these insights with us and our audience. It was great talking to you about all of these aspects, because these are really important aspects in terms of the overall blockchain space right. And understanding the different sides of things and the different use cases which you mentioned will really be helpful for us and our audience to understand and I hope our enterprises also are made more efficient with Zeeve coming into the picture. 

So thank you so much for sharing this with us and thank you for your time today and have a great day ahead. 

Ravi: Yeah, thanks, Prasant. Thanks for this opportunity and I love the whole time spent with you and we'll continue to contribute to the Web 3.0 ecosystem. 

Roy: Thank you. Thank you so much.

 

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Dr Ravi Chamria Profile Photo

Dr Ravi Chamria

Co-founder & CEO, Zeeve

Dr Ravi Chamria is the Co-founder & CEO of Zeeve, an enterprise-grade no-code Blockchain Infrastructure Automation platform that enables easy deployment, monitoring, and management of blockchain nodes and networks.

An Executive MBA from IIM Lucknow, Ravi has over 20 years of experience in IT consulting across sectors such as Fintech, InsurTech, Supply Chain, and e-commerce. An entrepreneur at his core, Ravi has founded multiple businesses and spearheaded them to success. Some of his previous ventures include Sofocle Technologies, Prolitus Technologies, and Kamyab Infotech. He has also held the position of CTO at the New York-headquartered Fintech, Biz2Credit, wherein he led the company’s tech innovations and IT strategy.

Ravi is an early adopter and advocate of the blockchain technology and has been passionately working towards accelerating its adoption amongst enterprises and developers. He started his first blockchain venture Sofocle to build products and solutions for enterprises across industries including DeFi, BFSI, Tokenization, NFTs, Insurance, Healthcare, Manufacturing and Logistics.