More than 80% of the blockchain developers in India may move abroad in search of better opportunities due to lack of “robust regulatory framework” in the country on blockchain technology.
This was revealed by a survey of over 100 developers conducted by blockchain community Incrypt over a period of six months.
The other reasons cited for the brain drain are:
- The notion that bitcoin or any crypto asset is not necessary to derive the value of blockchain technology adversely affects the innovation ecosystem.
- Public blockchains such as micro-grids, financial inclusion, asset quality and liquidity, health records, and data marketplaces are not there to unlock the Internet of value.
This has also caused a setback on the skilling front, as highlighted by hiring solutions provider Belong Technologies. Only 5,000 (0.25%) of the 2 Mn software developers in India at present have the right blockchain skills.
“The delay in putting together a framework for blockchain is causing India to lose out on jobs, drag in capital infusion, lack of innovation for local problems, talent flight, and setback in global positioning,” said the survey report.
The blockchain developers are expected to move to nations like Singapore, Dubai, Estonia and Switzerland that offer tax incentives and e-residency for startups.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on April 6 notified banks asking them to stop offering services to exchanges and crypto-related businesses in India. Banks such as the SBI, HDFC, AXIS, YES, ICICI, and Kotak Mahindra have already stopped most of their services to cryptocurrency exchanges and other entities and traders.
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This has certainly affected blockchain entrepreneurs, developers and exchanges in India.
Although the Niti Aayog in February announced its plans to roll out a discussion paper on blockchain technology, no step has been taken so far in this regard.
Blockchain: The Opportunity Gap
According to Nitin Sharma, founder of Incrypt, blockchain projects are creating new job categories, leading to the hiring of more full stack, front-end and back-end engineers globally.
“At a time when IT services industry is losing jobs, India needs to move fast in putting in place appropriate regulations to manage risks and attract global investment in the blockchain,” he added.
The report further mentioned that globally, blockchain developers are being provided with several open source and freelance job opportunities to support large public blockchain projects such as Ethereum, Stellar, Neo, EOS, etc.
There are also hundreds of emerging Initial Coin Offering (ICO) projects that need technical, marketing, or advisory talent.
The only glitch for Indian developers here is that many of these projects come with token-based incentives, which is often the mode of payment in cryptocurrencies.
“An Indian developer may be able to receive tokens but if there is no legal way to convert them into Indian rupees, a majority of prospective professionals may be deterred by the possibility that these incentives may be worthless in India or whether the government will consider their work non-compliant in any way,” the report said.
Brain Drain? Nothing New For India
Brain drain as a term came into existence in the 1960s when the skilled workforce of developing nations started emigrating to richer countries in search of better job opportunities and living conditions.
India has suffered brain drain for long. First, it was IIT/ IIM students who, in pursuit of million-dollar packages, moved out of the country. However, in the last few years, a reversal of this trend was observed. Several degree-holders from premier institutes in India turned down lucrative pay packages from foreign companies in their quest to start up their own ventures back home.
PM Narendra Modi’s Startup India movement provided a much-needed boost to new entrepreneurs by promising to work towards building a sustainable and effective startup ecosystem in India in the future.
While the government is quite progressive when it comes to fintech, AI, ML, and IoT startups (as observed in the Union budget 2018), it is yet to realise the full potential of cryptocurrencies and blockchain and draw up regulatory frameworks for these technologies.
[The development was reported by ET Tech.]