Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd plans to create its own cyptocurrency, JioCoin, with Mukesh Ambani's elder son Akash Ambani leading the project, Livemint reportsed today.
Reliance Jio plans to build a 50-member team of young professionals to work on blockchain technology, which can also be used to develop applications such as smart contracts and supply chain management logistics.
The publication cited a person familiar with the development as saying, ''The company plans to hire 50 young professionals with average age of 25 years for Akash Ambani to lead. There are multiple applications of blockchain (for the company). The team would work on various blockchain products.''
Blockchain is a digital ledger for storing data including but not limited to financial transactions. In simple terms, blockchain decentralises information without it being copied. The information is held through a shared database which can be accessed on a real-time basis. This database is not stored on physical servers but on the cloud, which makes it easy to store unlimited data.
The most popular application of the technology has undoubtedly been cryptocurrency.
''One (application) is cryptocurrency. We can deploy smart contracts. It can be used in supply chain management logistics. Loyalty points could altogether be based on JioCoin,'' the person cited above said, adding that all of this was ''in proposal stage''.
An email sent to Reliance Jio by Livemint seeking a response remained unanswered.
''Reliance Jio also aspires to get into Internet of Things (IoT). Blockchain technology would come in handy there,'' the person said.
IoT is a network of devices such as smartphones, wearable devices, home appliances and vehicles, connected to the internet, which enables these objects to connect and exchange data. Experts have also pointed out that blockchain could potentially address security risks to IoT as it provides a shield against data tampering by labelling each block of data.
The development comes at a time when cryptocurrencies are taking a hammering as governments across the world move to regulate them.
The Indian government too has cautioned against cryptocurrencies, stating that virtual currencies were not backed by assets and posed risks such as money laundering.
On 2 January, finance minister Arun Jaitley told the Rajya Sabha that the government was still studying the issue.
''A committee under the chairmanship of secretary, department of economic affairs, is deliberating over all issues related to cryptocurrencies to propose specific actions to be taken,'' Jaitley said, adding that the government does not consider cryptocurrencies to be legal tender.