National Stock Exchange of India Ltd (NSE) is conducting tests to use blockchain for e-voting for listed companies on the Elemential Labs platform, announced the exchange on Thursday.

Elemential Labs which has built the blockchain for NSE's e-voting pilot, is a Mumbai-based blockchain startup that recently raised $1 million from investors led by Matrix Partners India, in April this year.

The test involves setting up a blockchain to connect the regulator with the company and the RTA during the voting process. Voting rights will be tokenised, thus making them easy to transfer and proxy. The test will be evaluated on the auditability of the actions on the chain as well as the ease of conducting the process using blockchain.

Sankarson Banerjee, CTO-Projects, NSE said, “The immutable nature of blockchain will ensure that every action taken by a network participant is transparent to the regulator. Additionally, the smart contract framework enables synchronisation of the vote count process between the company and the regulator in real time. These features will take us closer to an environment of improved corporate governance and compliance.”

The pilot, aimed at providing a highly transparent and low-risk solution for e-voting, would enhance transparency in the voting process. The blockchain will be built using the Elemential platform on the Hyperledger framework. The SI partner is NSE IT, which is in-charge of building and managing the front-end application.

In February, when National Stock Exchange of India (NSE) and a group of domestic banks collaborated on a know-your-customer (KYC) data trial involving blockchain, it was Elemential Labs that provided the technology for the trial.

Speaking about the blockchain-based e-voting pilot, Raunaq Vaisoha, CEO Elemential Lab said, “Blockchain enables a real-time, immutable trail of all activities for the regulator. This brings us a step closer to highly transparent and clear corporate governance, an operating standard that most companies aspire to."

It may be recalled that in June NITI Aayog and Gujarat Narmada Valley Fertilizers & Chemicals Limited (GNFC) joined hands work to towards implementing a Proof-of-Concept (PoC) application by using the blockchain technology to disburse fertilizer subsidy among farmers.

India’s first blockchain-based network went live in April this year, when three online bill-discounting exchange platforms -- eceivables Exchange of India (RXIL), A.TReDS, and M1xchange -- came together and implemented a solution for their operations to deter fraud.

In the same month, what could be called as the first attempt in India to design and develop a blockchain platform for e-governance, a $5 million blockchain project has been commissioned by central cybersecurity agency of India. For same, National Cyber Security Coordinator (NCSC) has engaged Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur to develop an indigenous blockchain architecture to be used in India's e-governance.

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