Bangalore, India: ZEX MEDIA, Five of India’s strongest web3 startups are grinding it out at Graviton’s 16 week intensive accelerator program, backed by global VCs such as Hashkey, NGC Ventures, Ascensive Assets, and Infinity Ventures Crypto, among others.
Last week, the founders of these teams united for a panel discussion on the market sentiments, regulatory challenges, and growth opportunities for India’s emerging blockchain sector, as well as the consumer and enterprise-facing viability of emerging web3 technologies in India.
How are large enterprises responding to the “big blockchain question”?
Manish Tewari, famous as the former CEO of Koovs.com, an e-Tailer that had a $100Mn exit on the London Stock Exchange, is currently captain of the ship at Spydra – an enterprise-facing blockchain migration platform that’s already servicing big-ticket names such as Raymond, Myntra, and the National Payments Corporation of India.
In many ways, what Spydra is doing today, is reminiscent of the early days of the enterprise shift in cloud computing, when AWS had introduced the elastic cloud service. Manish believes that in many established verticals that operate on economies of scale, such as logistics, eCommerce, healthcare, and hospitality, the seasoned players are already sold on the benefits offered by distributed ledger tech. The biggest blocker to adoption at that stage, is the technical knowhow needed for a frictionless transfer. Manish, alongside his co-founder Ashwath Govindan (ex-Microsoft), runs a lean team that helps organisations accurately evaluate and deploy private blockchains without impact on business continuity and up to 95x more cost-efficient use of resources.
What do you do after buying a million-dollar NFT?
The total value of NFT sales crossed $1Bn in January 2023. Most end-users getting onto the web3 wagon still associate the idea of NFTs with the $69Mn sale of the famous Beeple NFT. Others, with a little more insight into the NFT space, usually discuss the rocket-high prices of utility-linked NFTs such as the Bored Ape Yacht Club, collectively worth a staggering market cap of more than $500Mn.
But what happens when an NFT holder passively owns a utility NFT, and the linked benefits don’t get consumed? These under-utilised benefits and the monetary potential for communities trading these benefits, is what comprises Strive Network’s key market. Strive’s CEO Kartik Mehrotra is a blockchain thought leader from the University of California (Berkeley), while CTO Sanhitha Napa is an experienced crypto-economist and product builder, trying to simplify the lives of artists and creators through a feature-rich proprietary layer, that allows the sharing and trading of NFT utilities.
Strive’s platform will end up massively simplifying use cases for the average Indian consumer, purchasing an NFT linked to a community / artist of their choosing. From leasing out unused NFTs, to trading in NFT benefits to earn passive income, this hitherto untapped aspect of the NFT space will prove to be a game-changer.
What exactly is an Airdrop, and how can normal businesses leverage Airdrops to their advantage?
Airdrops are the buzzword among a thriving populace of emerging layer-1 and layer-2 blockchain ecosystems – a surefire way of making inroads into the communities that they wish to evangelise, by distributing tokens proportionate to contributions. However, the time & resources that need to be devoted towards accurate goal-setting, individual tracking of contributions, touch point verification (on Twitter, Telegram, Discord, etc), and community moderation, are very high for most new projects to plan and execute.
The troubling gap for any business to create user journeys that take new community members through a list of tasks, is being solved by Wall.app – with Anuj Kumar Kodam at the helm. Anuj is an IIT KGP and IIM Calcutta alumnus who spent a considerable amount of time helping cab aggregator Ola scale across 50+ Indian cities by focusing on consumer experiences.
He is now building wall.app alongside Amarnath Jayanti, a powerful web3 strategist. After working with more than 40 rapidly growing web3 communities, Wall has streamlined the process of launching gamified quests (user journeys) that help businesses acquire and take new community members through desired reward pathways.
What makes web3 payments complicated, other than regulations?
Almost all the co-founders on the panel agreed that the Indian web3 populace is collectively anticipating the release of a clear regulatory framework for cryptocurrency, DeFi payment platforms, and other consumer-facing blockchain applications. Transparent public policies in this direction will go a long way in fostering the proverbial “bull market” sentiment that this community is yearning for.
But while we wait for administrative clarity to kick in, Mandar Ray (Founder & CEO at Fetcch) believes that there’s enough scope for improvement in the way early adopters are able to process payments in real-time.
The complexity of crypto wallet addresses (the “0x…..42a” dilemma) and the need to switch between networks while transacting in different tokens, is a major detractor to the adoption of web3 payment infrastructure across the spectrum. Mandar and team are building Fetcch Pay as an abstracted middleware layer that removes these complexities entirely, giving users a payment experience that they’re already comfortable with – as simple as PayTM, PayPal, Venmo, or UPI.
What’s the crypto market size looking like right now? What kind of capital is being deployed, and who benefits from it?
The total value locked in crypto finance crossed the trillion-dollar mark in 2022. But most of this capital lacks liquidity. While on the subject to “locked” crypto capital, Pritam Dutta (ex-Unilever, Mahindra & Mahindra, AB-Inbev) and Koushik Bharghav, another UC Berkeley alumnus, explained a unique mission to convert real world assets (RWAs) into tokenized collateral, adding a much-needed layer of democracy to the crypto-lending economy.
Their project, called “Zoth”, has already registered impressive returns so far, deploying more than half a million dollars in RWA-backed loans, and managing assets upwards of $10M. The entire panel noted and appreciated team Zoth’s failsafe web3 security compliance across all trades as a powerful product moat. Notably, the project has recently been admitted into the Chainlink Build Program.
The common link between these high-performance teams is that they were handpicked from more than 300 promising applications, under the scrutiny of Graviton – an accelerator that’s committed to identifying and enabling the strongest web3 leaders in emerging markets.
“It’s heartening to see an abundance of free-thinking innovation in a developer-rich market like India, which has the potential to churn, build, and scale web3 technologies at par, if not faster than most developed nations. I’m glad that we had the opportunity to interact with some of India’s strongest web3 leaders, understand their challenges and product moats up close, and would love to continue sharing the fruits of our mutual curiosity, across the ever-expanding blockchain ecosystem.”
– Gia Mattu (CCO, MH Ventures & Host, Dealflow Podcast. Gia moderated the panel discussion between Graviton’s 1st batch of founders).