“The media and entertainment industries are particularly primed for a blockchain revolution”: Tezos India founder & president Om Malviya

“The media and entertainment industries are particularly primed for a blockchain revolution”: Tezos India founder & president Om Malviya

Tezos is a self-upgradable blockchain that enables forkless upgrades.


Mumbai: Tezos India is a blockchain adoption entity in India. As innovation in the blockchain space advances in India, Tezos constantly strives to address key barriers facing blockchain adoption to date in India: developer, education and training, and ecosystem development. Tezos is a self-upgradable blockchain that enables forkless upgrades with its on-chain governance system, improving accessibility and longevity for solutions built and utilised by the Tezos community.

As part of Tezos’ ambitious plan to spread awareness regarding the positive use of blockchain technology across India, a new initiative titled "Tezos India Game Launchpad (TIGL)" has been rolled out, which will be a platform that will assist developers with grants, technical support, game publishing, fundraising and shall support them to launch their games on the Tezos blockchain.

TIGL is intended to tap the potential of Indian developers by imparting knowledge about learning, creating, and marketing their games on the web. Through the active participation of developers and publishers, Tezos’ novel initiative sets the ball rolling for harnessing the power of blockchain technology. TIGL will start its operations in India, but at the same time, it will look to expand in other emerging markets for play-to-earn gaming. Tezos India is also a grantee of the Tezos Foundation.

Indiantelevision.com caught up with Tezos India founder and president Om Malviya. He is extremely bullish about the future of bitcoin, decentralised finance, fintech, Tezos and decentralisation (powered by blockchain).

Back in his college years in 2015, Malviya’s elder brother—who is an entrepreneur and engineer by profession—told him to check out bitcoin and blockchain technology. Ever since there's no looking back! Over the next few years, Om researched, delved deep, and gained invaluable hands-on experience in this space. He then started the portal "ItsBlockchain" to educate people about bitcoin and blockchain technology, as at that time no other medium/platform existed where people could learn about the technology and latest developments in the crypto and blockchain space.

A few years later, Malviya wanted to switch from the media space to a more tech-centric, product-based domain. With that in mind, he attended Draper University in 2018, where he eventually met his co-founder, Bernd Oostrum. Both Malviya and Oostrum were die-hard Tezos fans, and hence they started building actively on Tezos with multiple experiments and innovations. Over the years, they have built plentydefi.com, naanwallet.com, and several other Tezos tools. One of the duo's products, Tezsure, is dedicated to developing DeFi instruments and tools for onboarding the masses onto the Tezos blockchain.

Despite facing initial challenges like lack of adoption of web3, crypto and Tezos itself, Malviya firmly believes that Tezos is bound to grow significantly in the years to come. Eventually, he was proven right! The space grew as did the users, and hence Om and his co-founder were able to find their perfect product-market fit.

In 2019, Malviya added another feather to his cap by founding Tezos India to create a well-rounded Tezos ecosystem in the country. As Tezos India founder and president, Malviya’s work encompasses defining the budget, hiring for key roles, defining strategy, streamlining internal organisational processes and using his network to get business development leads to onboard startups, companies, and other organisations.

Edited Excerpts:

On the market gap

Om: Tezos India was launched in late 2019 before Covid hit the country. Things became extremely intricate for the initial month, but awareness and acceptance have increased since then, and it's still growing. To educate and support these prospective creative communities, Tezos created its arts and culture vertical as a result of the significant growth of NFT artists and communities.

There has been significant overall growth in the market as the number of NFT users and crypto holders have increased. Developers are recognised for their potential, and are joining this market with innovative ideas and projects, and are working on cases in a way that has never been done before. Now there are many jobs and financing options for them.

On Tezos India’s projects

Om: Tezos India envisions making blockchain technology freely accessible to the Indian populace because it can help a variety of business profiles operate more efficiently. The Tezos blockchain is thus being promoted in India through a variety of events: meetups, hackathons, panel talks, and gaming tournaments. We recently held the TezAsia Hackathon, one of the biggest hackathons, by Tezos India in partnership with TZ APAC, with enormous cash prizes, internship opportunities, and PPO offers to not only promote blockchain but also to support the developer community by giving them career opportunities and enlightening them with the offerings of this revolutionary technology.

Similarly, the "She-Crypt" campaign was designed to encourage women in crypto and blockchain to increase overall women's participation in the domain. Many of these projects have been implemented throughout time to inform and inspire individuals to make the most of the blockchain environment.

On Covid-19 challenges

Om: Since we function as a non-profit organisation rather than a business, it didn’t affect us. But in general, one could argue that a lot of people who entered this field discovered prospects for blockchain businesses.

On the rising demand for blockchain

Om: With the introduction of blockchain, the underlying technology that provides transparency and immutability, the "fad" is catching up with the currencies that are emerging from it. According to publicly available information, Indians have invested more than $10 billion (Rs 1,000 crore) in blockchain alone. Apart from that, we also see that the use of the underlying blockchain technology has found the most takers in the banking and financial sector.

Furthermore, the fact that the Indian government is actively utilising this for land title registry, vehicle lifecycle management, farm insurance, and electronic health record management speaks volumes about the awareness, willingness, and pace at which blockchain is intended to be ingrained into the social and economic fabric of the nation.

On scepticism that crypto is a “fad”

Om: For logical reasons, cryptocurrencies have been grabbing the investors' and media's interest. According to some reports, cryptocurrencies are merely a craze. Cryptocurrency values had plummeted by early 2022 compared to their peak in late 2021. According to analysts, the present value of a risk asset would decline due to the increase in interest rates. Additionally, cryptocurrency dealers and investors in India are currently becoming cautious, and a noticeable decline in cryptocurrency purchases has been noted.

On blockchain impacting M&E industry

Om: Major industries, including finance, telecom, healthcare, automotive, supply chain, and retail, are studying the potential benefits of blockchain technology as it quickly spreads throughout society. When it comes to the use of distributed shared technology, the media and entertainment industries are often the most underappreciated. The intriguing thing is that the media and entertainment industries are particularly primed for a blockchain revolution and stand to benefit greatly from the myriad benefits that the technology provides.

The decentralised approach has already had a significant influence on startups in the entertainment industry, content producers, and music businesses. Although blockchain-based smart contracts have not yet significantly changed the entertainment industry, they may affect contracts and open the door to a safe, secure alternative to conventional discussions. Additionally, the use of blockchain networks can prepare the entertainment industry for better and more reliable payment methods for creators and promote smooth crew participation methods on international projects, removing the barriers that limit entertainment players' prospects.

Salman Khan, Sonu Nigam, Kamal Haasan, and Amitabh Bachchan were some of the first actors in Bollywood to adopt NFTs (non-fungible tokens). Making NFTs and digital collectibles based on a large fanbase and following not only provides business for these celebrities, but also provides a significant boost to India's NFT and blockchain industries. These are digital assets that are shown as tokens on a blockchain, each of which is distinct and has its worth. Duplication is uncommon even when the assets are intangible since buyers are aware that it would "lower the value of the property."

On blockchain boosting operational efficiencies

Om: Business operations involving several organisations (businesses or partners) frequently struggle with inefficiency and poor data quality. Imagine a small portion of an entire business process that is distributed across several parties, fully secured, auditable, and free from the requirement for data duplication or centralised "governor" oversight. This is one way to conceptualise blockchain.

Blockchain technology enables the flow of transactions between numerous parties while maintaining data security at all times and making transaction auditing simple.

This technology involves distributing a shared ledger of data to numerous parties. Without the need for a central governor, this information is distributed among all stakeholders via a distributed network.

Due to the way blockchains are developed, anyone messing with the blockchain will be discovered by users. A central controller doesn't need to perform any reconciliation because the blockchain makes sure that transactions are validated according to the business rules themselves. Each participant completes this validation in parallel to one another.

Since every transaction is documented and immutable (cannot be modified), it is very simple to audit to determine who performed which activities. Therefore, we can say that blockchain technology is full of miracles if used constructively.

On Tezos India Game Launchpad (TIGL)

Om: Web3 gaming is flourishing, with over $2.5 billion (Rs 250 crore) invested in just the second quarter of 2022. With a base of more than 400 million gamers that is only going to grow in the coming years, the groundwork has been laid for a web3 gaming revolution in India.

Thousands of well-known web2 games are already making headway in this market. But it can be difficult for game makers to grasp the complexities of blockchain and know where to begin.

Tezos India has introduced the TIGL, a platform that will facilitate game developers in raising money, releasing their games on the Tezos blockchain, and receiving funding and technical support.

Web3 gaming is going to explode since it's giving players and game creators new business and creative opportunities. Accessing the $100 billion gaming market is possible. With this endeavour, Tezos India is laying the groundwork for a decentralised gaming future in which widespread adoption is anticipated shortly. The game makers will be able to work together internationally through strategic relationships with TIGL's international partners, including Tezotopia, IndiGG, and others. The finest game launchpads will also be made available to selected developers, and they will have the opportunity to collaborate with TIGL's partner VCs for investment support.

This is because industry executives have concluded that the blockchain is where gaming will go in the future. Games are migrating from web2.0 to web3.0. To give the coaching and direction required to create top-notch blockchain games, TIGL has partnered with leading blockchain games, gaming guilds, and venture capital companies.

On web3 and the gaming industry

Om: Blockchain gaming has the potential to monetize a bigger player base than the free-to-play model, where, on average, less than two per cent of players buy in-game goods. Due to the advantages for players outlined in the section above, there is a greater propensity to spend money, which makes it possible to monetise users. In traditional gaming, all transactions take place within a closed ecosystem, making it possible to capture value across ecosystems. With blockchain technology making interoperability possible, interaction with other ecosystems and games would open up a new revenue source in the form of on-chain royalties.

On the shift to Play-2-Earn (P2E)

Om: The Play-2-Earn (P2E) idea, in which players get compensated for their time, effort, and skills, is made possible by blockchain technology.

The concept of P2E has seen a sharp increase in attention since the beginning of last year. Web3 gaming players climbed 24 times between January 2021 and January 2022, from 3,43,000 to 8.51 million, according to DappRadar.

The blockchain gaming industry is still in its infancy, though. Though some significant gaming companies, such as Ubisoft, EA Sports, and Zynga, have begun experimenting with blockchain-based games, the majority of the development has been driven by crypto-native businesses.

On NFTs as a monetisation tool

Om: Content creators now have easier access to the web3 world thanks to blockchain technology, particularly NFTs. Future creator economies are being driven by these tokens. NFTs are granting content producers more control over monetisation and content rights, allowing them to increase their income. Over the past year, NFTs have expanded at an explosive rate. The cumulative NFT 30-day trading volume for the top five markets exceeded $2.8 billion (Rs 280 crore) in 2021, according to DappRadar's NFT marketplace tracker.

Despite the fact that these tokens have been popular for a while, the fashion has been changing frequently. Sports highlights, trade cards, and GIF-animated artwork initially dominated NFTs. After that, the craze for digital treasures began, and this year, NFT-related crazes have begun with movies, music, fashion, virtual property, gaming assets, avatars, and virtual pets.

Even though the ecosystem has produced some extraordinary discoveries, one application of NFT utilities—the creator economy—is just starting to gain traction. The new audience using NFTs to generate and advertise their abilities is made up of content creators. These niche content producers use NFTs in their content strategies for everything from music to video.

On smart contracts in blockchain

Om: A smart contract on the blockchain aims to make business and trading between identified and unidentified parties easier, sometimes without the need for a middleman. A smart contract reduces the formality and expenses linked to conventional approaches without sacrificing reliability and trustworthiness. By accelerating transactions, minimising bureaucracy, and fostering cost-efficiency, smart contracts can bring about a fundamental shift in how international trade and business are conducted.

Smart contracts might have a big impact on a variety of industries, including the arts, music, real estate, banking, manufacturing, retail, supply chain, and telecommunications. If the platforms that host them accepted payments in all currencies rather than just cryptocurrencies and brought them under the jurisdiction of the present judicial system, the adoption of smart contracts would be sped up.

On regulatory framework

Om: Indians are free to trade cryptocurrencies at the top exchanges because there isn't a strong regulatory framework in place. Investing in cryptocurrencies, as well as any other "virtual digital asset," such as non-fungible tokens, is now subject to a 30 per cent government tax (NFTs). Additionally, cryptocurrency intraday traders would be subject to a one per cent tax deduction at source (TDS) on trades that exceed a predetermined level.

Although some people may view this as a punitive step, it's good news for Indian cryptocurrency fans. Those in India who are optimistic about the potential of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology see these levies as an official government endorsement of crypto assets as an alternate form of investment.

On opportunities in the blockchain & crypto space

Om: The money aspect of crypto is going to be a massive hit in the near future. Being able to send $10,000 (Rs 7,96,985) within one minute from one country to another has huge implications. Stablecoins are already big and are going to be even bigger in the years to come.

Increased institutional adoption will accelerate the adoption of bitcoin and cryptocurrency in general.

DeFi is one of the least frictionless ways to get access to financial products. A lot of users do not have easy access to structured products, perpetual and derivatives trading, lending and borrowing, etc. DeFi removes that and makes it easier for everyone.