As Canadian investor William Mougayar said, \u201cThe old question \u2018Is it in the database?\u2019 will be replaced by \u2018Is it on the blockchain?\u2019.\u201d India, too, seems to be stepping into this transition phase, with PM Narendra Modi yet again bringing blockchain and AI to the centre of technology discussions.\r\n\r\nSpeaking on the technology, Modi said that with blockchain technology, a number of issues in the agricultural and horticultural sectors can also be solved.\r\n\r\nBesides, after banks, which have already adopted blockchain in several applications, Indian telecom operators are also now exploring blockchain\u2019s role in telecom applications.\r\n\r\nLet\u2019s take a look at this week\u2019s developments in blockchain.\r\nPM Modi Pitches For Usage Of AI And Blockchain In Agriculture\r\nPrime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi has been actively encouraging the youths of the country to utilise and promote artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain technologies. This has been evident from his speeches on numerous occasions.\r\n\r\n\u201cIndia\u2019s youth can lead a revolutionary movement using AI and blockchain technologies with a value addition,\u201d the PM said during a convocation ceremony held recently at Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology, Jammu.\r\n\r\nThe country\u2019s agricultural sector is the principal means of livelihood for over 58% of the rural households. Yet various problems surround the sector. Modi highlighted one of the problems as, \u201cthe bad quality of seed, fertilisers and medicines\u201d being supplied to the farmers, which ultimately leads to low production and hampers their income.\r\n\r\n\u201cWith blockchain technology, this problem can also be controlled. Through a real-time monitoring of the supply chain, the technology can bring in transparency in the agricultural trade \u2014 starting from the production process to making it available for the farmers as products can be examined at every stage,\u201d said Modi.\r\n\r\n\u201cThis will have a complete network comprising farmers, processing units, regulatory authorities and consumers. Because one affiliated to this chain can keep an eye on this, therefore, the scope of corruption will also be reduced. Most importantly, this will check the mischievous acts of the middlemen and the harvest will not go wasted,\u201d Modi said.\r\nBattle-Hardened Indian Telecom Operators Are Exploring Blockchain\r\nSome of India\u2019s top telecom operators are increasing their focus on blockchain technology. The likes of Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India, and Reliance Jio Infocomm are evaluating use cases for blockchain even as they seek new avenues of growth in an already saturated and price-sensitive telecom market.\r\n\r\nJio, whose low prices have turned the mobile services market upside down, is using startup accelerator Jio-GenNext to bring blockchain-related startups on board for innovations. It has put together an engineering team to work on blockchain technology with the goal of developing new use cases and applications.\r\n\r\nVodafone India is already at the proof-of-concept (PoC) stage with blockchain technology, working with IBM, while Airtel is currently involved in initial trials. Various companies are developing 15-16 PoCs based on the technology.\r\nHCL Technologies joins Blockchain in Transportation Alliance\r\nIndian IT conglomerate HCL Technologies has joined the Blockchain in Transportation Alliance (BiTA), a consortium that works on blockchain-based solutions for the transportation industry, to develop blockchain-based solutions for the industry, reported BusinessLine. Among other members of the consortium are Descartes, Daimler, FedEx, SAP and Uber Freight.\r\n\r\nCommenting on the development, Ajay Bahl, executive vice-president and head of public services and manufacturing business (North America) at HCL Technologies, stated, \u201cHCL\u2019s partnership with BiTA and working alongside other global industry leaders in transportation, logistics, and supply chain, will allow us to engage in the development of standards for how blockchain technology will be used in such transportation activities as track and trace, provenance, smart contract management, compliance management, and fraud detection.\u201d\r\nNews From Across The World\r\nWalmart Files Patent for Blockchain-based Digital Marketplace\r\nUS retail giant Walmart has recently filed a patent for its blockchain-based framework development that will help the company expand its digital services for retail shoppers, reported CCN.\r\n\r\nGranted on May 17, 2018, the patent also enables the tracking of retail products bought by a customer. As stated in the patent, \u201cThe increasing competition from \u2018non-traditional shopping mechanisms\u2019 as an incentive for \u2018brick-and-mortar\u2019 retailers to stay ahead of new technologies that could improve customer experience.\u201d\r\nAkamai and MUFG Announce Blockchain-Based Payment Network\r\nUS-based Akamai Technologies, a cloud delivery platform, and Japanese Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) recently announced plans to offer a new blockchain-based online payment network enabling next-generation payment transaction scale and responsiveness.\r\n\r\nThis hyper-scale payment network is designed to be capable of processing more than 1 Mn transactions per second at latencies of less than two seconds per transaction. The underlying blockchain architecture is expected to be extensible to 10 Mn transactions per second. Transactions executed across the payment network will be accelerated and secured by Akamai\u2019s cloud security offerings. These capabilities will help provide material cost efficiencies and security enhancements to support digital payments at unparalleled scale.\r\n\r\nDr Tom Leighton, CEO and co-founder of Akamai, said, \u201cThis new blockchain-based online payment system, built upon our cloud platform, will be designed to address the concerns related to scalability, latency, and security that have to date hindered the broader use of blockchain.\u201d\r\n\r\nIn other news, Ticketfly co-founder and Monero ringmaster Dan Teree is set to start a new blockchain platform, Tari, which will be a secondary market for virtual goods like rock show passes, Starbucks Rewards kickbacks, and V-Bucks, the coin of the realm in Fortnite, a popular video game.\r\n\r\nStay tuned to Inc42 for the latest news on blockchain.