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MUMBAI : Business tycoon Mukesh Ambani on Friday asserted his faith in blockchain, a technology he predicted would redefine the financial world.

In an interview at the virtual InFinity Forum, hosted by International Financial Services Authority (IFSCA), GIFT City and Bloomberg, the Reliance Industries Ltd chairman and managing director also expressed his optimism about a digital society and the Internet of Things.

“Blockchain is the technology I believe in. We are on the verge of introducing a data privacy bill, which I look forward to, and also the cryptocurrency bill. So I think we are on the right track," Ambani said, adding that India is witnessing a digital-first revolution, and the country is on the verge of building a digital society.

“I think that the convergence of real-time, the convergence of the distributed ledger and blockchain technologies, smart tokens, the convergence of physical and digital through IoT will enable and redefine the decentralized financial sector in a way we have never imagined. I think it is happening in the coming 10 years and, again, this will be a prerequisite to great economic growth," Ambani said.

The government is working on a bill for regulating cryptocurrency as a financial asset while safeguarding small investors. The legislation may stipulate a minimum amount for investments in digital currencies while prohibiting their use as legal tender.

While the government is considering taxing gains from cryptocurrency, according to some media reports, the Reserve Bank of India is in favour of a complete ban on the same over fears that it could affect the nation’s macroeconomic and financial stability.

“We are witnessing the fourth revolution—that is the digital-first revolution, where digital will be life for billions of people—which will be used in all technology—five or six kinds of technology will merge together; they will transform the whole world," Ambani said.

Terming data as the new oil yet again, Ambani said the “new oil" is fundamentally different from the traditional one as traditional oil was extracted only at select places; thus, it created wealth only for some countries. In contrast, the new oil—that is, data—can be generated and consumed everywhere and by everybody.

“It has the potential to create value equitably, across sectors, across geographies, across economic classes," he said.

Ambani’s telecom venture, Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd, has accelerated internet adoption in India since its launch in 2016. With the 5G rollout expected next year, Ambani said the country is well on its way to being among countries with the most advanced telecom infrastructure in the world.

“The next step will be the connectivity of machines, devices and vehicles, which is the Internet of Things (IoT)," he said.

“I think it is happening in the coming 10 years and, again, this will be a prerequisite to great economic growth. Today, there is more money chasing people and we are short of ideas, and I am sure our young people will come up with more ideas as there are still many problems to be solved in the world," Ambani added.

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