Unlock Blockchain Forum

At this week’s Unlock Blockchain Forum, Director General of Smart Dubai‘s keynote address stated that Dubai is taking steps toward becoming the blockchain capital of the world. In fact, there are already 20 public sector blockchain use cases and counting.

According to the World Economic Forum, by 2021, Dubai aims to create:

1. A smart, liveable and resilient digital city.
2. Connected, lean government.
3. A globally competitive economy powered by disruptive technologies.
4. An interconnected society with easily accessible social services.
5. Smooth transport provided by autonomous and shared mobility solutions.
6. A clean environment via cutting-edge ICT Innovations.

In addition, Dubai:

  • wants to provide 90% of the daily life needs of [the] city residents through digital services in order to ease their lives. This includes healthcare, education, culture, housing, entertainment, community, and volunteering services, among others;
  • make all government services and transactions paperless and cashless and without the need for visiting government offices; and
  • wants to create digital procurement opportunities for SMEs and businesses and allow them to send invoices and receive payments digitally.

An important takeaway here is that Dubai is planning and positioning itself to be the world’s first blockchain-powered government. Smart Dubai’s blockchain strategy reads:

“Adopting Blockchain technology Dubai stands to unlock 5.5 billion dirham in savings annually in document processing alone — equal to the one Burj Khalifa’s worth of value every year.”
 Further,
“Required documentation, such as visa applications, bill payments and license renewals, which account for over 100 million documents each year, will be transacted digitally under the new strategy. Blockchain technology would contribute savings of up to 114 M Tons CO2 emissions from trip reductions, and redistribute up to 25.1 million hours of economic productivity in saved document processing time.”
In addition, in December 2017, the Dubai Land Department  was the first government entity to adopt blockchain technology to record all real estate contracts including lease registrations, property related bills, and more. According to Gulf News,
“Blockchain’s secure, electronic real estate platform incorporates personal tenant databases, including Emirates Identity Cards and the validity of residency visas, and allows tenants to make payments electronically without the need to write cheques or print any papers.”
The move toward an all-digital ecosystem of this sort will allow for increased fraud protection, transparency and an increase in global investors. Although still in its infancy stage, steps are also being made toward implementing its own blockchain-based cryptocurrency, EmCash. According to Arabian Business,
“Ali Ibrahim, deputy director general of Dubai Economy, said emCash would give a financial identity to contactless transactions, reinforce Dubai as a competitive business destination, enhance customer happiness and accelerate Dubai’s evolution into a smart economy.”
Dubai has many ambitious plans being put into action to truly exemplify its vision 2021.
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