The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has officially announced a blockchain-based payments platform named “Vajra” which means lightning. It will provide “highly secure and tamper-evident transactions” via a distributed ledger system.
The platform is said to have been designed to automate the process of clearing and settling payments for NPCI transactions. In an official press release detailing the use of the new platform, the organization said: “A permissioned network will be setup so that only the parties who have been approved by the Network Administrator can be a part of the network. Since Vajra is being developed for a payments processing industry, permission less blockchain systems were not considered”.
Vajra will have three types of nodes, including the Clearing House node, the Notary node and the Participant node. The Clearing House node will have admin rights for the platform and will be maintained by the organization itself.
As for the Notary node, it will receive transactions only from the Clearing House node and will only validate transactions in case Aadhar biometric is used for authentication. Finally, the Participant nodes will include all banks, financial institutes and payment gateways, enabling them to post, receive and view transactions on the platform.
This new technology is aimed at bringing real-time visibility into transactions, thereby reducing disputes and improving back-end operations at banks. The organisation says that the decentralized platform will also help reduce the pain of reconciliation across all the participants.
Vajra project is currently supported by 56 private and public sector banks in India, including the State Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, Canara Bank, Bank of Baroda, Union Bank of India, Bank of India, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Citibank and HSBC.
Blockchain seems to be gaining momentum in India. BSES recently launched a blockchain platform for solar power trading while the TRAI is planning to employ blockchain to block spam.