Dubai hasn’t always been a leader in innovation and development. However, what started as a small fishing village, has transformed into one of the world’s major trading hubs. The emirate has aptly been called the ‘city of the future’ and has recently made new strides in living up to the name. Dubai plans to incorporate robot police, flying public transport and other autonomous vehicles. To achieve these goals, they have recently appointed a minister to direct Artificial intelligence development.
High on the list of priorities is to become the world’s first blockchain-powered government. The bulk of the city’s administrative applications and documentation is set to be done using blockchain technology by 2020. They aim to have all visa applications, bill payments and license renewals digitally transacted and processed using the technology. All of the transactions mentioned above account for over 100 million documents that have to be prepared each year.
The blockchain is future – Ajay Harinath Singh
Young Indian entrepreneurs are eagerly monitoring these developments and are looking forward to implementing similar technologies in their home country seeing that it could benefit the Indian Bureaucratic system.
“Blockchain technology is the way of the future and not only businesses, but the country as a whole could benefit from it,” says Ajay Harinath Singh, MD of Darwin Platform Group of companies. He is a rising young entrepreneur, and in a concise space of time, he has expanded his businesses to Africa, Europe, and Russia and is looking to cash in on blockchain technology as well.
Dubai – Vying to adopt blockchain in all spheres
To put things into perspective, by adopting blockchain technology, Dubai could look to save up to 5.5 billion dirhams (nearly $1.5 billion) in document processing alone. In man-hours, this amounts to a saving of nearly 25.1 million hours annually.
To assist the emirate in their development, a local startup company Arabian chain is helping the government to move all their inter-governmental documentation onto blockchain. Furthermore, Dubai Future Accelerators is also pairing breakthrough technologies and businesses with partners within the emirate to come up with innovative solutions.
The three pillars on which Dubai’s blockchain strategy rests are government efficiency, industrial creation, and international leadership. Together, these pillars will ensure that all aspects of blockchain development are carefully monitored, from blockchain policy to economic growth and travel.
In October of last year, the real-estate industry of Dubai also introduced blockchain technology. Smart Dubai and Dubai Land Development partnered up in the hopes of ensuring the enhanced security of financial transactions and also to keep track of real estate contracts. They also aimed at connecting tenants to electricity, water, and communications utilities.
Sultan Butti Bin Mejren said that they aimed at uniting all real estate and departmental services on a single platform. He also mentioned that the development was still in its infancy stage and that they were eagerly anticipating many partners to join the blockchain development and improve client services.
Earlier this year, Dubai partnered with the UK based ObjectTech to develop and implement blockchain-based security to the Dubai International Airport. Together, they aim at developing digital passports in the hopes of eliminating manual checks. This would enable faster security processing and decrease response times for possible threats. Furthermore, Dubai Customs and Trade, in partnership with IBM, also started with testing blockchain for trade finance.
The Global blockchain council
The blockchain technology development is by no means a new development. In 2016, the Global Blockchain Council was launched. This council, consisting of 32 government entities and private global companies including the likes of Microsoft, SAP, and Cisco, was put into place to steer the development of blockchain applications in Dubai.
According to Ahmed Bin Sulayem, executive chair of Dubai Multi Commodities Centre, the primary function of the council is to ensure that Dubai stays ahead of the curve in terms of blockchain development and implementation. In doing so, they aim to provide guidance on how blockchain can benefit market participants, but more importantly, how the technology can be utilized to strengthen and develop Dubai’s economy.
Initially, the aim was to have full blockchain integration across the city in all departments by 2020. However, with the way things currently stand and the way in which the authorities are speeding up the initiatives, this target could be reached by as early as the end of 2018.
The things certainly look bright, and it has set the bells ringing for other nations as well to follow suit. ‘’Smart governments build smart nations and blockchain technology is the solution which can bring about sea changes in how a system functions after adopting blockchain’’, says Ajay Harinath Singh.