Nasscom Community

Update: RBI announces its first ever global hackathon – “HARBINGER 2021 – Innovation for Transformation”

2 Mins read


The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has announced its first global hackathon – “Harbinger – 2021 – Innovation for Transformation(Hackathon). The theme of this hackathon is ‘Smarter Digital Payments’. This Hackathon aims to identify and develop potential solutions to increase accessibility of digital payments amongst all sections of the society, enhance ease of payments and user experiences vis-à-vis consumer protection and security of digital payments.

The participants of the hackathon will be mentored by industry experts. The registration for the hackathon begins on November 15th, 2021 and closes on December 15th, 2021. The prize for the Hackathon in each category is:

  • Winner – ₹ 40 lakh
  • Runner up- ₹ 20 lakh

The eligibility criteria for the Hackathon is flexible and any entity  – teams or individuals, eligible to enter into a contractual agreement can apply. They must have a minimum viable product (MVP) or a product available in the market or ready to be rolled out in the market with an element of innovation or novel application.

The Hackathon has been announced in the wake of ever-growing digital payments in India, and the urgent need to address pressing challenges posed by them. This includes the digital payment frauds and accessibility challenges. In order to encourage innovation in digital payments ecosystem and to create a secure consumer-centric ecosystem, the RBI has taken several steps – the Harbinger Hackathon, Digital Payments Report, 2020, regulatory sandboxes on digital frauds amongst others.

Problem statements

The RBI has invited solutions and ideas on the following problem statements:

  • Innovative, easy-to-use, non-mobile digital payment solutions for converting small-ticket cash transactions to digital mode – To onboard under-privileged sections to digital payments. It has been suggested to explore easy to use innovative solutions for small value cash payments such Rs 100.
  • Context-based retail payments to remove the physical act of payment  – Such payments do not require interaction between customer and merchant. These are contingent on completion of an underlying activity. It has been suggested that solutions within this category should focus on consent mechanism, fraud prevention and enhancing user experience.
  • Alternate authentication mechanism for digital payments – This has been suggested as an alternative to SMS based authentication mechanism which suffers from the following unencrypted and consumers getting tricked to share OTPs.
  • Social media analysis monitoring tool for detection of digital payment fraud and disruption – To analyse the concerns and consumer complaints on social media platforms to take proactive action and consumer sentiment analysis.

In case of any queries, please write to