From money transfers to a secure way of sharing data, blockchain\u2019s decentralised ledger system has won the heart of millions in the past decade. \r\n\r\nIn a decentralised ledger, there is no single administrator or centralised storage of data. This was a big part of the school of thought which pioneered early blockchain development.\u00a0However, there are always two sides to an argument. Some argue that a gatekeeper is required to securely operate and scale blockchain-driven contracts.\u00a0\r\n\r\nTo hear the case for centralization (advantages and pitfalls) in blockchain,\u00a0Inc42 talked to Vinay Nair of Nair Ventures who has worked with the Venezuelan government on their "Petro" Project in 2018 and is currently working with companies and state governments of Andhra and Kerala on blockchain implementation.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\u201cDecentralisation is a progressive game...Let\u2019s consider the case of bitcoin itself. Bitcoin early stages of growth were caught in crossfires between its developer community regarding its long-term functionality and scalability. Not having a centralised body or the inability to reach a consensus resulted in the eventual conflict of interest which got Bitcoin to lose its value with time and find competition with its own forks, and later on from advanced technologies like Ethereum Blockchain,\u201d Nair, a self-confessed centralisation fan, said.\r\n\r\nThis could play spoilsport in some cases.\r\n\r\n\u201cIf you take into consideration the most successful ICOs, its centralised nature has been a catalyst to its growth. From the time when Bitcoin was first conceptualised by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008, the original idea of a \u201cOne-CPU-One-Vote\u201d has lost its charm. \r\n\r\nNow, that is to say, any blockchain-based idea should be promoted as a close and centralised management system, which can progressively grow into a distributed multi-channel centralised system, and to eventually evolve into a true and total form of decentralisation,\u201d Nair said.\r\nIt\u2019s in the nature of any form of organisation to grow from a grass root level of centralisation to build upon the trust with time. The more it expands, the further its control goes on to be distributed equally and gradually. - Vinay Nair\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n(Image source: A report by UK Government Chief Scientific Advisor)\r\n\r\nWith that, here are the latest blockchain developments in India and around the world:\r\nBlockchain News In India\r\nCourt Stalemate Over Crypto Continues\r\nThe courtroom battle between Crypto-exchanges and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) over the order, which had, in April 2018, forbidden banks from transacting in crypto assets continues. The Supreme Court was expected to hear the case on January 15. However, according to reports, the hearing was postponed and legal experts and industry watchers do not expect the stalemate to end any time soon.\r\n\r\nMeanwhile, the government has also not disclosed its regulatory stance on cryptocurrencies yet or given any indication on the progress of a proposed digital currency, which has only compounded the legal problems.\r\nSalaries For Blockchain Experts Soar\r\nWith only an estimated 5,000 developers in India who have the skills to create blockchain software, the salaries of blockchain techies are soaring to double, or even triple to that of a \u00a0software engineer according to an\u00a0ET report which cited Raandstad study on the matter.\r\n\r\nPrimarily in huge demand at banks, non-banking financial companies, global in-house centres and other public sector firms. Three years of experience in blockchain translates into remuneration of INR 45 lakh ($63.3K) or more, the report said.\r\nBlockchain News From Around The World\r\nMexican Drug Cartels Adopt Blockchain To Launder Money\r\nMexican drug cartels, also commonly called Narcos, have been connected to the Chinese crypto money laundering networks, a recent United States Senate judiciary hearing on border security and immigration revealed.\r\n\r\nThe criminal relationship has been years in the making and was formed out of the trade between the two parties regarding the procurement of large amounts of outlawed chemicals required to synthesize Methamphetamine, where China was the seller and Mexico was the buyer.\r\n\r\nMexican Narcos are siding with Chinese suppliers as they have seemingly become experts in going around obstacles when it comes to financial laws. The Chinese Underground Banking System (CUBS) is made up of an intricate network of fiat money and cryptocurrency brokers who move currency in and out of China.\u00a0\u00a0Chinese underground banks are said to have over 10,000 clients and believed to launder over $100 Bn every year. Click here to view the full hearing.\r\nNASA Takes To Blockchain\r\nUS space agency NASA is planning to advance its technology by adding Blockchain to secure air traffic services and support, the media reported.\u00a0\r\n\r\nThe agency will work with an open source Blockchain platform called \u201cHyperledger Fabric\u201d that is specifically designed for enterprise transactions that resemble typical air traffic management interactions, Ronald J. Reisman, an aero-computer engineer at the NASA Ames Research Centre, said in a statement.\r\nHSBC Settles $250 Bn Worth Blockchain Transactions in 2018\r\nAccording to Reuters, HSBC reported $250 Bn in settled transactions in 2018, using the blockchain technology.\r\n\r\nThe report said that during the last calendar year, HSBC settled over 3 million blockchain-based foreign exchange transactions. Performed through its blockchain platform, \u201cFX Everywhere,\u201d the bank says it has processed 150,000 payments since the platform launched in February 2018. HSBC completed its first blockchain trade finance transaction in May 2018.