Over the weekend, a couple based in Pune became the first to hold a blockchain wedding in India. The wedding was conducted on the Open Sea platform.
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This surfaced while we Indians were barely getting accustomed to attending virtual wedding weddings, amidst the ongoing pandemic. But what was so special about this blockchain marriage and what’s its significance?
What is blockchain?
To the unaware, a blockchain is a permanent, publicly distributed ledger that verifies transactions, records of events and is resistant to modification data. Every new data included creates a new block which consists of a cryptographic hash and timestamp and forms a chain of verified information.
In the case of this marriage, it was done via an Ethereum smart contract, which (according to Blockgeeks) is a digital agreement between two or more individuals that can be accessed simply by scanning the blockchain anytime in the future.
Such contracts have been commonly used in trade finance as they can settle transactions without requiring a third party for verification. Anything you put on Blockchain is said to remain forever.
How did they do it?
As described by the groom Anil Narasipuram, they first got married via a court marriage on November 15, 2021, and they wanted to keep it small without involving a large group of people.
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However, they decided to immortalise their union via an online ceremony, which was officiated by their very own ‘digital priest’ Anoop Pakki. The Ethereum smart contract was consecrated in the form of an NFT (non-fungible token) that was minted on OpenSea, which is the largest NFT marketplace, that involves individuals dealing in rare digital items, crypto collectables etc.
The NFT dubbed Ekatvam was actually the image of his wife’s engagement ring that had the wedding vows embedded on it. Both Narasipuram and his wife, Shruti Nair had set up Metamask Wallets – essentially cryptocurrency wallets – where the priest had minted the NFT on OpenSea, which was then transferred to him.
Soon, the wedding vows were exchanged and the digital priest blessed them both. After the completion of the transaction, the NFT was transferred to Shruti’s crypto wallet.
The ceremony which went on for around 15 minutes was also digitally attended by friends and family members who watched it on Google Meet.
Anil stated, “The transaction took a few minutes (and about $35 in ETH gas fees) after which we were pronounced husband and wife by our digital priest. The transaction is a permanent, immutable, and public record of our commitment to each other on the ETH blockchain.”
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What’s special about blockchain marriage?
Unlike a traditional marriage where it’s either the state, the law or the religion act as an institution to regulate the union between the two partners, a blockchain marriage is a decentralised one, where it can be as flexible as the wishes of the owners of the blockchain.
Couples can create smart contracts that can be renewed, changed or dissolved annually. Sadly, it doesn’t hold legal weight in Indian law (or even the US law for that matter), it surely is an attractive option for couples due to its unchanging behaviour as unlike a traditional marriage certificate that would get deteriorated with time, this one would stay in the blockchain forever.
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