CXOToday has engaged in an exclusive interview with Mr Pradeep KP, Co-founder and CEO of Dhiway
Can you tell us more about Dhiway’s products and how it differs from other blockchain solutions currently available in the market?
At Dhiway, we build products and services which drive belief, confidence and absolute certainty throughout the digital world. To achieve this we reimagine the challenge of trust deficit present our interactions and attempt to solve it for scale.
The CORD blockchain is a tokenless blockchain infrastructure available for applications and services which depend on data authenticity and audit-trails to create robust digital data exchange models. We believe that this is the future of digital interactions where high volumes of data will be exchanged in machine-to-machine transactions and thus secure proof systems which establish trustworthy transactions are critical for the model to be adopted at scale.
#MARK Studio is our credentialing platform which empowers the three key stakeholders in any digital interaction to undertake exchange and verification of data without the need of third parties. Using a combination of the CORD blockchain and open-standards like Verifiable Credentials, digital data can be transformed into data streams which are easily verifiable, friction-free and tamper-resistant. This provides the foundation for a digital transformation from legacy systems to more future-ready ones.
How do you work with enterprises and government bodies? Can you provide some examples of such collaborations?
Dhiway is a leader in blockchain technology helping enterprises and governments solve key challenges using population scale approaches. A critical aspect of blockchain based technology architecture for digital trust is the creation of ecosystems. To accomplish this, we work with private and public enterprises as well as various government agencies across specific business verticals around education delivery, skilling, livelihood and employment among others.
Over the years our approach has been to work with partners to establish some lighthouse initiatives – prototypes and pilot projects which quickly demonstrate the return on investment through the digital transformation as well as the value available to the participants in the ecosystem. The digital transformation initiatives of the Union Government and the State Governments create opportunities to demonstrate the change available through the adoption of digital credentialing to establishing authentic data streams.
How did Dhiway develop the winning prototype based on Verifiable Credentials? What benefits do Verifiable Credentials offer individuals and organizations
Concepts like trust deficit, privacy, confidentiality etc are difficult to explain until there are tangible working examples which help everyone understand the need to end the status quo. At Dhiway we have been designing and developing prototypes which reflect domains where we feel the introduction of Verifiable Credentials makes the greatest impact. And the two recent public prototypes we created reflect this intent.
With ONDC, we built a prototype that allowed the buyers and sellers on the platform to transact with the enhanced assurance of the goods and services.
At the Skill-A-Thon organized by the EkStep Foundation, we collaborated with a number of companies to design and build a workflow that demonstrates how a job applicant design and shares all their accomplishments in response to a job posting.
Both of these are everyday scenarios. And Verifiable Credentials – which repackage the data with cryptographic signatures, enable the participants on either side of an interaction to acquire a level of trust and engage with enhanced certainty. Verifiable Credentials anchored on a blockchain represent immutable data records – so a verifier of the data exchange can be assured that the data has not been tampered with.
Can you share more about “Digital Resume” and how it will help the informal sector? How does Dhiway plan to promote their adoption in the workforce?
Each one of us builds up a set of skills through knowledge and work experience. This does not happen overnight – we work through it all our lives. At present, while the formal sector has some established rituals and means to offer proof of knowledge (degrees, certificates etc), proof of experience (work experience documents, payslips) or proof of skill (badges and certificates), the informal sector has a gap in this area.
Take the example of an individual who is an electrician by trade and is seeking better opportunities. Today, the opportunities available to them are likely to be hyperlocal and based on credibility acquired through reference and word of mouth. The skills and knowledge they have are also fuzzily documented because the expected proofs (as above) are not very well documented. So, if we match up the available taxonomy of skills (available via NSDC and others) in order to correctly place this skilled individual in a definite role, then many verifiable credentials can be issued with attest to their workplace experience, knowledge and abilities. These credentials can then be repackaged using a standard template to build a resume that depends less on word of mouth and more on verifiable data. Staffing agencies and employee engagement platforms can help them discover good opportunities which can have a positive impact on their financial agency and life.
And again, this is an archetype. We see that being able to create easily consumable tooling that generates a positive value engages the interest from stakeholders in the systems. Individuals are interested in the adoption if it results in empowerment, organizations tend to move the status quo if it it aligns with their strategic interests. Our products and prototypes examine the current digital world with a new perspective and demonstrate that positive impact at nation scale is possible.
Can you share some trends in the blockchain space?
Some of the interesting trends which we see are:
- Emerging needs of tokenless blockchain networks which provide the foundation for citizen centric services built around digital public infrastructure
- Adoption of blockchain for uses beyond digital identifiers which are not just digital IDs but reusable content enabling the holder to participate seamlessly in transactions
- Digital transactions across multiple and large trust ecosystems managed by both public and private enterprises thus creating a high volume data exchange based economy
Can you share challenges Dhiway had encountered while developing its products, and how did you overcome these challenges?
We quickly realized that credentialing is one part, an important part, of the entire workflow of administrative operations in education. So, along with demonstrating the capabilities of our #MARK Studio credentialing platform we also built easy integrations for existing software platforms. Educational institutions, HR operations systems, payroll systems, ERP/CRM systems are now all SaaS based and allow for extensions and integrations to be built in allowing datastreams to be exchanged and authenticated data objects to be created through anchoring on the blockchain.
Another challenge has been the pace of digital transformation. For obvious reasons it is difficult to transform the incumbent, legacy systems with a newer approach which offers higher degree of risk mitigation for the institution while enabling tamper resistant, secure credentials. Stakeholders are often interested in smaller and iterative approaches than a big bang transformation – this is a challenge because the recurring benefits from investing in this approach is visible when large ecosystems are shifted.
What are Dhiway’s plans for future fundraising and growth?
Dhiway started with a bootstrap funding from friends and relatives amounting to around USD 500,000 in early 2020. It raised a pre-seed round of around 1 million USD in late October 2022.
The company has created and manages a running Platform called the CORD and has its own Digital Credentialing Application called the #MARKStudio which is starting to get interesting traction . The plan is to create more applications on the CORD platform through collaborative approaches with other domain institutions – to build on CORD. We will also focus our credentialing application to address the larger markets in the areas of Education, Skills and Workplace solutions.
We look forward to leveraging the platform to provide various solutions to a broad range of industries and their constituents to help them Discover/ Enquire/Engage/ and Transact – in a way that can optimize both time and costs.
To help create this environment, we are raising a Seed / A-round in early June 2023 for an amount of 50 million USD.
What are the key partnerships or collaborations that Dhiway has established so far, and how have these partnerships helped your company achieve its goals?
Our focus in on industry verticals that include Payments , Digital Commerce, Educational , Skills , and the Workspace.
We are in continuous collaboration with the NPCI for payments , ONDC for Digital Commerce, EKstep and Ndear for the Skills and Education area. There are several pilots with various institutions in an advanced state of completion.
The larger vision of Dhiway is towards creating a platform that addresses Trustable Digital interactions which are Scalable, Immutable and Globally verifiable at populations scale. With the interactions we have had till date with larger institutions in the Public and Private space we are confident that this vision will realize.
How does Dhiway address concerns around the security and privacy of blockchain technology, particularly in the context of public digital utilities that may hold sensitive personal or financial data?
It is important to be aware that a blockchain provides an immutable store of data records. So, any dataset which can be classified as Personally Identifiable Information (PII) or Sensitive Information should not be anchored on the chain. Dhiway uses the persistent universal identifiers on the CORD blockchain to resolve to records of transaction events. The PII data is not on the chain itself. This ensure that while public verification of a record is possible, the inadvertent disclosure of personal information is prohibited. The CORD blockchain itself is provided as a cloud-based infrastructure using available public cloud technologies. The security playbook for cloud infrastructure has matured to a point where good fencing techniques are available to administrators in order to secure the infrastructure from a range of attacks at scale.
What is the long-term vision for Dhiway, and how does it plan to achieve it?
Dhiway started with a bootstrap funding from friends and relatives amounting to around USD 500,000 in early 2020. It raised a pre-seed round of around 1 million USD in late October 2022. The company has created and manages a running Platform called the CORD and has its own Digital Credentialing Application called the #MARKStudio which is starting to get interesting traction. The plan is to create more applications on the CORD platform through collaborative approaches with other domain institutions – to build on CORD. We will also focus our credentialing application to address the larger markets in the areas of Education, Skills and Workplace solutions. We look forward to leveraging the platform to provide various solutions to a broad range of industries and their constituents to help them Discover/ Enquire/Engage/ and Transact – in a way that can optimize both time and costs. To help create this environment, we are raising a Seed / A-round in early June 2023 for an amount of 50 million USD.