An IT organization linked with the Indian government is reportedly running a Ripple node on its premises.
According to a screenshot circulating on social media, the Information Security Research and Development Center (ISRDC) is hosting an XRP validator node. The center, which functions under the direct supervision of India’s Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology, studies blockchain in addition to IoT, machine learning and information security.
ISRDC does not share any immediate business history with Ripple Labs. However, IIT Bombay, the college campus whereby ISRDC is based, has partnered with the US firm for their blockchain initiative, ‘The Center of Excellence for Blockchain Technologies.’
The Ripple-IIT collaboration has hosted three blockchain workshops in the past two years. Crypto personalities like Vitalik Buterin, the founder of Ethereum protocol, and David Mazieres, the chief scientist of Stellar Protocol, have attended these workshops as keynote speakers. Meanwhile, Ripple has mainly served as the primary sponsor to those blockchain workshops. None of the firm’s top official or representatives have attended them so far.
While it explains why an Indian government center is running a crypto node, the regulatory organizations do not necessarily approve of its legality. Becoming a Ripple node is similar to becoming a miner in the bitcoin network. It allows ISRDC to earn rewards in the Ripple’s native cryptocurrency XRP. According to the screenshot, the center’s node has already validated 22,945 XRP transactions.
According to Neha Verma, a business law expert from India, entities can mine cryptocurrencies in India, but they cannot use them for making financial transactions.
“While individuals or entities can mine bitcoins in India, they cannot use them for transactions. They cannot deal in them. They cannot get any services for their businesses or operations from any banks and other regulated financial institutions,”
– she stated .
There is a possibility that an academic entity is running the node for experimental purposes. If if it correct, then the Indian government becomes a rightful beneficiary of the XRP rewards. Meanwhile, it also hints that the government approves of crypto mining in contrast to its slow approach to regulate the industry.
Similarly, an independent entity could be running the XRP node for personal profits. Students in MIT have already used their dorm rooms as mining hubs . For better or worst, why should IIT stay behind?
Note: The author is associated with blockchain startup groups in the IIT Bombay and IIT Delhi campuses.