Indian Automaker Mahindra to Open Blockchain Incubator

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Indian multinational and conglomerate Mahindra will set up a blockchain incubator to support startups in the development of blockchain-based applications in a number of industries.

As a conglomerate, Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) has a foothold as a major automaker in India with exports of vehicles to multiple countries, a presence in finance, IT, finance, consulting and other industries. With its incubator, the aim is to develop blockchain solutions that can be across multiple companies in the Mahindra Group, according to a report in the Business Line.

In quotes reported by the publication, group president for strategy Anish Shah stated:

We are looking at an incubation center for Blockchain, which will be a global center…We are looking at developing a business. We’ve got about 7-10 cases for Blockchain [tech] within the group.

In late 2016, Mahindra partnered tech giant IBM to develop a cloud-based blockchain solution in trade finance for the Indian market. The offering will see all parties involved in a supply chain finance transaction participating on a single shared ledger. A traditionally cumbersome process wherein errors and unpaid dues are commonplace, real-time access to logistics and capital or credit could significantly improve supply chain finance in the country. That particular solution is aimed at small and mid-sized enterprises who are clients with Mahindra Finance, the finance arm of the company.

Blockchain technology could significantly alter supply trade finance for the better in India.

“We started with supply chain and invoice discounting for supply chain,” added Shah. “There are a number of use cases for Mahindra Finance and use cases for auto business and then we can take it forward for other business.”

In a clear indicator of M&M going big on blockchain investment and development, the incubator will be independent of the work being done by Tech Mahindra, a group company of the conglomerate. The latter is also working toward developing Blockchain solutions, as product offerings to its clients. M&M will look to introduce blockchain solutions developed from the incubator into its own working group of companies.

Other similar efforts toward mass blockchain implementation in India sees Yes Bank, a major private sector lender in India announce a multi-node blockchain solution to digitize and automate vendor financing. The proof-of-concept transaction was tested in the real world with a major electrical equipment manufacturer and proved to be successful. The blockchain was hosted on IBM’s cloud platform.

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