August 18, 2022

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Pune pair becomes India’s first couple to hold ‘blockchain wedding’

Cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens (NFT) have been in the headlines a lot recently. In fact, the craze has been such that people across the globe have been hosting weddings solemnised by ‘digital priests’ and exchanging virtual tokens! Now, a Pune couple has created waves by organising what has been dubbed as India’s first blockchain wedding.

“We also decided to immortalize our union using blockchain technology,” the groom Anil Narasipuram wrote on LinkedIn, adding that the couple wanted a small intimate ceremony amid the pandemic.

Soon after their court marriage in November, in an unusual online ceremony, Narasipuram and his wife Shruti Nair made their marriage “blockchain official”, the post added.

Exchanging their vows while seated before their laptops, their wedding was officiated by ‘digital priest’ Anoop Pakki. The couple sealed the deal “with an Ethereum smart contract that consecrated our commitment to each other in the form of an NFT minted on OpenSea”.

To create the one-of-a-kind digital token (NFT) that is permanently linked to a piece, encrypted with the user’s signature – they used a photo of the bride’s engagement ring with the vows embedded in the image. The special token was named ‘ekatvam’, which means ‘oneness’ in Sanskrit.

The online wedding was officiated by a digital priest. (Source: Anil Narasipuram/ LinkedIn)

“We won’t make any big promises, but we will do everything we can to make this work. Through all our disagreement and conflict, we hope to grow our understanding of each other and ourselves,” their vow on the NFT read. “We don’t expect to be the whole village for each other, but we will be by each other’s side, hand in hand, walking through this adventure, together,” they promised.

Explaining the process, Narasipuram, a faculty at D Y Patil International University in Pune, wrote that they set up Metamask wallets and their digital priest “minted the NFT on OpenSea” and transferred it to him.

With guests joining in to witness the event on Google Meet, the couple read out their vows and after receiving a ‘blessing’ from the digital priest, the groom confirmed the transaction to transfer the NFT to his wife’s digital wallet. “Shruti and I sat next to each other on our laptops and completed the transaction in a 15-minute ceremony officiated by Anoop,” he wrote, sharing a few pictures of their special day.

“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!” he added.

In another picture shared by Narasipuram, a confirmation by the priest read: “By the power vested in me by Ethereum, it is my honour and delight to declare you married.”

“The transaction is a permanent, immutable and public record of our commitment to each other on the ETH blockchain,” Narasipuram added.

“This is just the beginning…” he underlined, while pointing out that cryptocurrency and blockchain represent a significant change in the “way we transact and the way we trust.”

The blockchain wedding, while new in India, is hardly so elsewhere. In March 2021, a US couple during their traditional Jewish ceremony exchanged virtual rings (NFTs) using their smartphones and took social media by storm.

Last month, another Indian couple from Tamil Nadu had gone viral after they decided to take the Metaverse route to tie a knot in what was a Hogwarts-themed virtual wedding.