Best of 2017

Technology hurtles forward; can we handle it?

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On top of my list of new year resolutions (they are resolutions as they are broken so often) for 2017 was to start investing money and get my finances in order. But I let that pass. The last few months have taken me by surprise as younger colleagues and cousins tell me about how someone they know (or themselves) have been investing in cryptocurrency. But an ending year is a good time to accept that the younger ones are better with rapidly changing technology anyway.

The power of blockchain is here for all to see and it has been a revelation to some, like me. Global banking giant Goldman plans to start trading in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies by June 2018. The Indian government though is cracking down on the cryptocurrency exchanges and is beginning to take cognizance of how popular the investment instrument is. Rs 4000 crore have already been lost in the multiple Ponzi schemes spawned by the wave in India alone. What next? Linking Aadhaar for Bitcoin purchases? I hope not.

Aadhaar was at the centre of one of the most important technology stories we published this year. The unique identification system was the proverbial treasure which was supposed to lift iSpirt beyond a non-profit industry body. The story unravelled quickly for the self-appointed gatekeepers of the ‘India Stack’ technology.

Technology’s Catch-22 are the regulations which govern it. The loosely defined regulations on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and drones have held the sector captive for too long. Then there’s the Indian Space Research Organisation, which has recognised the need to outsource some of its work to companies in the private sector for increasing the number of satellite launches and encourage Indian aerospace companies to mature. On our must-read list this year, there is an interesting tale of one of the most promising Indian private aerospace companies which seems to have veered off the path too late in the day.

And before I wish you a happy new year ahead, I would like to share one new year resolution I hope to stick to this time—that of keeping good health. Health technology companies like Cure.fit and Healthifyme who want to help you manage your life and well-being better will hopefully make sticking to the resolution easier.

Here is a quick recap of the deeply-researched technology stories we have written about during the year. The holiday season is the perfect reason to catch up on some intensive reading we believe.

First on the list is the two-part series on iSpirt and how it morphed into a gatekeeper for all services which use Aadhaar, enough to favour companies willing to buy into India Stack

‘Bharat’ transacting online is a million dollar opportunity. 1. Make the internet speak your language. 2. Bring all your trusted stores and businesses online for ease of transaction

Financial data stolen from Indians—in a process called astroturfing—is being used to buy Facebook ads. And 2018 could be worse, says Zuckerberg

The first electric scooter is awaited from Ather Energy which took the hard call on building everything from scratch

The drag on Team Indus, however, is a different story as India’s contender for Google Lunar XPRIZE seems to be floundering close to take-off

The last on your reading list should be the mad rush which started it all in the startup space. The Tiger Global story in India is almost over…

And the hustle of 2015 looks like a phase (much like some bad fashion choices we made when we were younger) in the more restrained times of 2017.

On that note, we hope you have a great new year!

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