Blockchain is the flavour of the season for government authorities. After the decision of the Andhra Pradesh government to introduce blockchain technology in maintaining land records of the state, the governments of Kerala, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, and Rajasthan are following suit. The idea is to bring in the required transparency in eGov services, streamline services, and set up real-time document management systems. In a first, the Maharashtra disaster management department has collaborated with a Chennai-based blockchain Print2Block for Covid 19 testing certifications.
Founded by Vignesh Babu Venkatesan and Joji Varghese in 2017, Print2Block has come up with a blockchain-based platform Docchain.io for issuing documents using blockchain. Maharashtra government has deployed the same for issuing Covid-19 test certificates to people who have been tested negative.
Speaking to Inc42, cofounder Joji Varghese said, “We have been able to meet the demands of scalability and data security. Out of lakhs of people tested in the state on a daily basis, almost 70-80% are tested negative. Our blockchain solution has been deployed by the Department of Disaster Management, Relief & Rehabilitation, Government of Maharashtra to issue certificates to people who have been tested negative.”
Does The Maha Govt Use Public Blockchain For Issuing Covid 19 Test Certificates?
Last week, a couple of media reports had stated (including Inc42) that the government of Maharashtra was working with another public blockchain startup for the same. However, the department later clarified that they have not deployed a public but instead a private blockchain.
Explaining the same, Joji said, “Healthcare data is very sensitive in nature. Hence, we had to tweak our product and rebuild a private blockchain for this. Now, it is the government who owns and controls the data, hardware, and everything.”
However, in order to validate the integrity of the private blockchain deployed, Print2Block needed a public blockchain to authenticate it. For this, they have used Mumbai-based blockchain startup Polygon and deployed their Matic Network for the auditing part of the private blockchain. This allowed them to ensure that from the genesis block to the Nth block, the integrity does not get manipulated.
Polygon was recently in the news when it crossed $13 Bn in market cap.
So effectively, Maharashtra govt has partnered with Print2Block that built the blockchain solution and has deployed Matic Network for the authentication part.
Collaboration With The Maharashtra Govt
In 2019, Print2Block had won the Maharashtra Startup Startup week ( conducted by the Maharashtra Innovation society) in eGovernance and then the Devendra Fadnavis government had awarded INR 15 Lakhs LOI (letter of intent) to work on egov-related blockchain project.
Joji said, as part of this, the blockchain startup had first built a solution for Maharashtra Pollution Control Board that has been in use for the last two years. “Besides, we have been working on three other projects including Maharashtra Electricity Board and Dept of Disaster Management.
The Electricity Board uses Print2Block’s blockchain platform for issuing lift certificates and the Department of Disaster Management uses its solution for issuing Covid-19 test certificates. The startup is working on one more project for the state which Joji said will be announced in a few weeks.
It also counts the Data Security Council of India among its clients. The Council uses blockchain for issuing training certificates. The startup is also in conversation with some other states for the implementation of blockchain-based solutions.
A bootstrapped startup, Print2Block is looking to raise Seed funds in the next few months. In the last few years, egovernance has emerged as one of the biggest opportunity for blockchain startups. While Andhra Pradesh has collaborated with Sweden-based Chromeway and Vizag-based blockchain startups for land records, Telangana has collaborated with IBC Media, ISB, and IIIT Hyderabad and launched T Block Accelerator, an incubator for blockchain startups.
New Delhi’s NDMC and Tamil Nadu have recently floated tenders pertaining to various blockchain projects.