Describing blockchain as the New Age cyber technology, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu has said Visakhapatnam would emerge as the major centre for the technology in the next few years, as his government is encouraging innovators and companies working in the field to invest and work from here.

Speaking at the inauguration of the two-day conference on Blockchain technology, which began here on Monday, Naidu said nine companies had already arrived in the Fintech Valley, Vizag, and several more were keen on setting up centres here. The State was building up the largest repository of use cases and it would be of immense help to those working in the field, he said.

He said the government was organising several events and it had instituted several awards and prizes to stimulate research in the field. “We have also set up a fund with ₹100 crore for innovation and to encourage start-ups,” he added.

Naidu said Bill Gates of Microsoft would visit the State later this year and his government was working with the company on IT applications in the field of agriculture.

N Lokesh, IT Minister, said new business models would have to be created to make the best use of emerging technologies like Blockchain technology.

JA Chowdary, IT adviser to the State Government, said Fintech Valley, Vizag, was being promoted as a national and international brand. Ashok Vemuri, CEO of Conduent, said his company would work with the State government in promoting Blockchain technology and developing IT in the State.

R Chandrasekhar, President of the Nasscom, said the association had identified eight new areas as promising ones and it had set up a special centre for Blockchain technology.

The centre's activities were till now confined to North India and now they would be extended to the south, especially AP, as the State had taken the initiative.

Jack Shaw, Executive Director of the American Blockchain Council, and several other experts spoke on the salient features of the technology and its numerous applications.

Thomson Reuters signed a MoU with the State government for setting up innovation app studio in Gitam University here. MoU were signed with several other companies including Visa on the occasion.