Reliance Jio has once again made headlines, this time not because of disrupting the telecom industry. But because they are planning to tap into another billion-dollar industry. According to some sources, Reliance Jio is looking forward to launching their own cryptocurrency called JioCoin.
Cryptocurrencies and decentralized payment systems are certainly the future of the economy. And now it looks like everyone wants a piece of the pie. From big corporates to financial institutes, everyone is running their own experiment on cryptocurrencies.
From a businessman’s point of view, the cryptocurrency industry has proved to be extremely profitable. So let’s analyze whether JioCoin is a moneymaking tactic for the Ambanis or is it going to change the Indian economy.
What Is Blockchain?
A blockchain is simply a linear data structure just like an array or a linked list. According to Wikipedia, it can be viewed as a growing list of records. In the case of blockchains, these records are called blocks. Each and every block in a blockchain is linked to its previous block. Unless it is the initial block. This way the blocks form a chain-like structure. Hence the name “blockchain”. The blocks are also cryptographically secure, making them tamper-proof.
Blockchain technology simplifies the entire process of sharing records between multiple nodes. As it enables the creation of a publicly accessible ledger system. The blockchain itself exists in the cloud and anyone can access it, given they follow the proper protocols. This eliminates the tiresome process of copying data to multiple devices. Which in turn reduces the chance of data redundancy and inconsistency. This is why blockchains are extremely useful for recording medical records, identities, etc. Blockchains can also be used as a distributed ledger system to keep track of transactions.
Satoshi Nakamoto, a pseudonymous individual or group of individuals, conceptualized the first blockchain in the year 2008. Satoshi implemented it as the distributed ledger system for the Bitcoin cryptocurrency.
What Is Cryptocurrency?
A cryptocurrency is a digital currency that is usually decentralized in nature. Respective governments control fiat or traditional currencies. Whereas cryptocurrencies are usually decentralized meaning no particular entity controls it. Instead, the users are the ones who control a cryptocurrency. They have the power to create it and even decide the value of a cryptocurrency.
Most of the cryptocurrencies use blockchain as the distributed ledger system. Each of the blocks contains details of transactions that happened within a period of time. The miners add the blocks to the blockchain in case of proof of work-based cryptocurrency. For proof of stake based cryptocurrency, this work is done by the validators.
The news of Reliance Jio planning to launch its own cryptocurrency first surfaced on the popular electronic newspaper Livemint. According to Livemint, they were able to procure the news by getting in touch with “a person familiar with the development”.
According to this anonymous person, Reliance Jio plans to create a team of 50 members for JioCoin. The team will consist of young blockchain experts, software developers, and advisors. Akash Ambani, the elder son of RIL’s MD Mukesh Ambani and also the chief strategic officer of RIL, is believed to lead this project. So the team of experts will have an average age of 25 years.
JioCoin, just like Bitcoin, will use blockchain technology. It will also be able to handle smart contracts. The smart contract feature will be particularly useful for supply chain management logistics. According to the source, loyalty points distribution may also be carried out through JioCoin.
Unfortunately, the source did not mention anything about decentralized application deployment. But in my opinion, as a new cryptocurrency JioCoin will most likely support this feature too.
Reliance Jio also wants to tap into the IoT industry. So the main feature of JioCoin will be its ability to work with IoT or Internet of Things. You can view IoT as a network of smart devices like smartphones, home automation devices, wearables, smart vehicles, etc. IoT technology allows these smart devices to contact each other and carry out tasks using artificial intelligence.
On a side note, Reliance Jio has not yet released an official statement regarding this matter. So right now the only information we have regarding JioCoin is from the interview between this anonymous person and Livemint.
Can Jio Coin Change The Indian Economy?
Right now JioCoin feels more like a virtual currency exclusively made for Jio customers. It may be only be used by Jio subscribers to pay each other and pay for Jio services.
But then again Jio wants to get into the IoT industry too. And to do that the JioCoin needs to be publicly usable. So I’m quite confused right now.
But in either case, JioCoin may have a great impact on the Indian economy. Most of India’s rural population does not have access to proper banking. So homegrown cryptocurrencies like JioCoin can be a gamechanger. If properly implemented, JioCoin can hook this population to mainstream banking.
But for that JioCoin needs to be extremely user-friendly and simple to use. It will also need to have fast transaction speeds to compete with banks. Cryptocurrencies can also fulfill Prime Minister Modi’s dream of creating a cashless economy in India.
Small payment banks like Paytm, Airtel, and microfinance companies are also targeting the rural population. So this will be a great competition to experience. And only time will tell whether cryptocurrencies will be the ultimate solution!
Main Competitors Of Jio Coin
In my opinion, the main competitor of JioCoin will be another homegrown cryptocurrency called Laxmicoin. Laxmicoin is also in its development phase. But it’s quite ahead in the race already as the Laxmicoin ICO scheduled for 1st March this year. Laxmicoin also aspires to create a parallel decentralized economic system in India. So people can transact with each other at ease. They are also targeting the underprivileged people who do not have access to banking services.
If JioCoin fulfills its dream of tapping into the IoT industry then JioCoin will face heat from another popular cryptocurrency. IOTA is a cryptocurrency fully dedicated to revolutionizing the IoT industry. IOTA enables smart devices to contact each other and even pay each other to pay for services! So the day is not very far when your smart fridge will be able to restock itself.
Only time will tell how much competition JioCoin will be able to give these two cryptocurrencies.
Although the finance ministry allows cryptocurrency exchanges to operate, it is very skeptical about cryptocurrencies. The Indian government still doesn’t view cryptocurrencies as legal tenders. And this is the main factor behind the delay of Laxmicoin’s launch. Now that a giant corporation like Reliance Jio is willing to create its own cryptocurrency, let’s see whether the Indian government changes its stance.
Please keep an eye on this article as it will be updated as we receive more information.
Update – Laxmi Coin is nowhere to be seen. There has been no update on their development. So, it is to be assumed that Laxmi Coin is dead.
Frequently Asked Questions –
Q. How to buy Jio Coin?
A. You cannot buy Jio Coin today as the coin has not been released & not trading on any of the cryptocurrency exchanges. You will be able to buy the coin when the cryptocurrency is listed on an exchange.
Q. When is Reliance Jio Coin Sale?
A. As of now there is no perfect date when the Jio Coin will be on sale. There can be an IPO where you can buy the coin before its release, yet the timeline of the coin is unavailable.
Q. Where to buy Jio Coin?
A. You will be able to buy Jio Coin cryptocurrency exchanges when it has been listed. As of now, there is no cryptocurrency exchange that has listed Jio Coin. So, you would have to wait until its further release.