The middle-eastern city of Dubai becomes the first in the region to launch a government-backed blockchain platform.


Dubai’s ‘Smart-City’ Ambitions

The second biggest state of UAE, Dubai, plans to become the first blockchain-powered city in the world. The forward-looking government of Dubai is working on an ambitious project called “Smart Dubai” which aims to leverage new technologies to make the city the happiest in the world.

To leverage blockchain technology towards this goal, a strategy has been put in place under the Dubai Future Foundation.

According to an article published in arabnews.com earlier today, Dubai has partnered with IT giant IBM to launch the government-backed blockchain platform.

How Blockchain Will Help

Under the Smart Dubai initiative, the government wants all its services to become paperless by 2021. Blockchain technology enables instant transactions and can facilitate faster and convenient payment of utility bills and use of government services.

According to the article, IBM will leverage its cloud environment to build services that would store the data locally.

“Dubai has been a pioneer in blockchain technology since its inception, while other major cities around the world were reluctant to embrace it for city-wide implementation,” said Aisha Bin Bishr, Director General of the Smart Dubai Office.

She added:

The Dubai Blockchain Strategy set a clear path for the emirate to have the world’s first fully digitized government by 2021.

Dubai has piloted blockchain technology across various government agencies including roads and transport, energy, health, and education according to Amr Refaat, general manager at IBM Middle East and Pakistan.

He said:

Through the new service, these organizations will have the ability to transition their blockchain developments into full-scale production.

The First Project on the Platform

The first project to be launched on this platform will be “Dubai Pay Blockchain Settlement and Reconciliation System.” The pilot of the system has been conducted by The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) and the Knowledge and Human Development Authority.

Providing details about this launch, Live Bitcoin News had earlier in September reported:

The new system will replace the currently followed practice of manual reconciliation of accounts which apparently takes up to 45 days. Using the upgraded solution will not only bring efficiencies but will also minimise errors.

According to Refaat, IBM has also recently worked with Dubai’s Department of Economic Development (DED) to launch its unified corporate registry.

Talking about the DED implementation, he said:

The aim of the registry is to digitize the process of issuing business licenses and exchanging commerce information for business owners, investors, entrepreneurs, and startups, enabling them to conduct transactions digitally in real-time and in a trusted and secure environment.

Refaat also spoke about the work done with Dubai Airport Free-zone Authority (DAFZA) to digitize the free-zone commercial licensing and renewal process.

He explained:

Through IBM Blockchain, they can manage digital blockchain transactions and accurately and quickly verify documents, enabling businesses to establish operations in the UAE in a time efficient manner.

The government of Dubai is taking the right steps towards its goal of becoming the first blockchain-powered city in the world.

What are your thoughts on this government-backed blockchain platform? Let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of ShutterStock

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