As Silicon Valley Fantasises about Web3, India Leaps Ahead on Payments

Whilst blockchain may have been all the rage in Silicon Valley, UPI (Unified Payment Services) has become a global favorite.

For more than a decade, Silicon Valley’s moguls have been promoting Bitcoin and blockchain-based cryptocurrencies, claiming these will transform global commerce. Instead, Bitcoin long ago died as a digital currency, becoming nothing more than an empty speculative asset with its value most recently plunging from $60,000 to less than $20,000. Meanwhile, as those same hypesters now promote a mystical Internet world called Web3, India is racing ahead and implementing what the crypto crowd had promised—with its Unified Payment Services (UPI).

A French company, Lyra Network, just announced it would deploy UPI. Entrance into the European Union is just the latest international move for UPI, an alternative payments system designed to be secure, reliable, and interoperable among different payment companies. Merchants in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Bhutan, accept UPI payments through QR-code payment systems common in Asia. The National Payments Corporation of India is now negotiating with Australia to integrate UPI with Australia’s own nascent fast payment rail, called New Payments Platform.

The reason for its broad adoption abroad is that UPI has been shown to work well for a very large population. In addition, UPI has an open protocol upon which other technologies can be built, creating a much larger and more useful network than its competitors for financial payments. By facilitating exactly what blockchain was supposed to do—cutting out intermediaries and inducing greater competition—UPI could force a global acceleration of innovation in payment technology.

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