Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

Web3 startup Airchains partners with West Bengal's government institution

Airchains has partnered with New Town Kolkata Development Authority (NKDA) to enable blockchain-based tracking and recording of land mutations to enhance efficiency and security

Naandika Tripathi
Published: Jul 4, 2023 11:00:01 AM IST
Updated: Jul 4, 2023 01:07:00 PM IST

Kritarth Agrawal and Ankur Rakhi Sinha, co-founder of AirchainsKritarth Agrawal and Ankur Rakhi Sinha, co-founder of Airchains

Web3 middleware SaaS startup Airchains is partnering with West Bengal’s New Town Kolkata Development Authority (NKDA) to digitally record and track the land ownership and mutation system by using blockchain. Airchains will introduce 500,000 Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) deployed on Polygon Supernets. Transforming the land mutation process across 27,000 acres will replace traditional bureaucracy with a transparent and secure digital system. The blockchain model also facilitates fractional property ownership, opening up to 1 million new mutation opportunities. Implementing blockchain in governance applications will reduce fraud, increase efficiency, and improve security in land ownership records.

For instance, if one wants to buy land in Kolkata’s New Town, they need to pay a mutation fee. Earlier, there was no proof of mutation, and there was no proof of calculation on mutation. There were multiple departments handling this process, and now it will all be under one roof in the NKDA app. NFTs would be issued for a specific set of mutations. This land mutation record will enable a secure digital environment with unique NFTs serving as land ownership proofs for all properties under the jurisdiction of NKDA as well as lifetime tracking of concerned ownership.

This solution will allow easy transfer of ownership rights for landowners by transferring the corresponding NFTs, thereby eliminating complex paperwork. It will enable digitisation of proof of records as distinct NFTs, updation of NFT records in cases of transfer, recovery of records in cases of loss, and prevent evasion of mutation charges. Acquiring physical copies of these NFTs includes a printout in card format possible via any printer. The digital certificates would further contain QR codes that would allow quick and easy access after authentication.

However, the regulatory concerns with Web3 still remain a challenge. Airchains claims to have figured out a way to address this. "We don’t get involved in crypto transactions. We choose a gasless method or a more easy method of doing the transaction. We take that headache away. Our users just have to pay and move on. In India, there is a lot of institutional demand for keeping the chain private or not exposing it to cryptocurrencies. That's how government institutions mostly deal with it. So we always make sure that the chain is private, or even if it is public, the transactions are gasless," explains Ankur Rakhi Sinha, founder of Airchains.

New Town Kolkata stands as an extraordinary project, where every land detail is exclusively managed by HIDCO, acting on behalf of the state government, explains Debashish Sen, IAS and chairman of NKDA. “This distinctive arrangement provides us with a remarkable advantage in the land market, supported by a decade's worth of meticulously documented records. Through our partnership with Airchains, we can transform our exceptional advantage into a tangible force in the land market. Our objective is to streamline the process of buying and selling land, eliminating the inherent challenges associated with such transactions. To accomplish this, we have identified NFTs as the perfect solution, as they enable the physical tokenisation of properties, simplifying the entire procedure.”

Founded in 2022 by Sinha and Kritarth Agrawal, Airchains allows users to deploy, build, and scale their blockchains. The company provides tools to build the blockchain to run their own networks and tools to build decentralised applications (dApps) and NFT over it, enabling developers, enterprises, and institutions to improve network security and performance, have integrated tooling and APIs, and perform smart contract auditing. The startup will soon introduce a next-gen cryptographic solution using zero-knowledge modular rollups for superior scalability and flexibility.

The UAE-headquartered startup has raised $1 million in a pre-seed round led by GravityX. “We are growing around 30 percent per quarter. We have a revenue of around $70,000, and we want to grow it to more than $100,000 in the upcoming few months,” says Sinha.

Airchains has partnered with multiple governance bodies across India, including the police department in Firozabad to launch a blockchain-powered complaint management system, the Raigarh district administration to launch a blockchain-based monitoring system for tracking industrial Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) plantation activities, and the Telangana state transport department to implement blockchain for transportation management.

Empowering grassroots adoption of Web3 technology marks a remarkable milestone for the Indian Web3 sector, says Sandeep Nailwal, co-founder of Polygon. “Our primary focus has always been on achieving widespread mainstream adoption. By collaborating with Airchains and NKDA, we seize the opportunity to demonstrate the profound potential of blockchain technology in revolutionising the archaic systems of today.”