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Sushma Kaushik, investment director at Aavishkaar and part of the investment team managing Aavishkaar Bharat Fund.
Sushma Kaushik, investment director at Aavishkaar and part of the investment team managing Aavishkaar Bharat Fund.

Startups Reverse Pitch: Blockchain based data privacy for fintech

The challenge of access to finance itself is overwhelming; added to it, the fear of the unknown in the event of a data breach is daunting to many, says Aavishkaar's Sushma Kaushik

All human beings have three lives: public, private, and secret. — Gabriel Garcia Marquez

In today’s social media dominated world, we are fast realizing one cannot have a life which is private, even if one desires it! Seemingly harmless actions on social media or even the usage of digital infrastructure has the ability to encroach upon our safe private lives.

At Aavishkaar, we are constantly exploring new boundaries in areas of fintech, agritech, healthtech, etc, to address real world problems impacting the low-income segments. While Aavishkaar has been supporting traditional brick and mortar businesses, we find technology is significantly disrupting the way such businesses are done today. Case in point being the ability of technology to effectively provide access to financial products and services to new-to-credit customers, reduce turn-around times (TATs), improve credit underwriting.

The challenge of access to finance itself is overwhelming; added to it, the fear of the unknown in the event of a data breach is daunting to many. A challenge worth addressing is how to maintain the sanctity of privacy while achieving the above.

I would be keen on exploring the use of Blockchain technology in the areas of: 1) know your customer; 2) verification process of digital data (bank account statements, tax filings etc.); 3) use of smart contracts to reduce TATs and improve enforceability and 4) finally integrating it with payments features with time/event triggers.

While Blockchain is still evolving to take a more robust form, its use-cases can be multifold. Most tech start-ups are busy addressing the ‘problems’ while not paying adequate emphasis on data and customer privacy. In my view, that’s a very myopic approach to a impending problem.

I believe protecting privacy will be extremely crucial and I won’t be surprised if some regulators start addressing this issue in a parochial manner.

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