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Dubai picks IBM, Consensys to kick off blockchain project

Issac John /Dubai
issacjohn@khaleejtimes.com Filed on March 14, 2017
Dubai picks IBM, Consensys to kick off blockchain project
Dr Aisha bin Bishr, Wesam Lootah and Takreem El-Tohamy at the Press conference in Dubai on Tuesday.

(Supplied photo)


Smart Dubai Office announced on Tuesday the selection of IBM and Consensys for a city-wide plan partnership to implement bitcoin database technology blockchain.

The move is as per the Dubai Blockchain Strategy 2020 announced in October 2016 by the Dubai Future Foundation and the Smart Dubai Office and is the first of its kind in the world. The goal is to become paperless by shifting all transactions to blockchain - an online encrypted database - by 2020.

The announcement marks an important step forward in our commitment to delivering Dubai's Blockchain Strategy announced late last year by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammad Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, said Dr Aisha bin Bishr, director-general, Smart Dubai Office.

"We are working towards our goal of making Dubai the first blockchain-powered government in the world by 2020. Collaborating with IBM and Consensys will help expedite this process, attaining Smart Dubai's overall vision of making every-day experiences more safe, seamless, efficient and impactful for all residents and visitors of the city," said Dr Aisha.

Smart Dubai will conduct workshops over the coming months with key government, semi-government and private organisations in Dubai to identify and prioritize the services that can be most enhanced by the application of blockchain technology. These workshops will also educate Dubai's public and private sector community on blockchain technology while highlighting its current and future potential. After these workshops, the public and private sectors can work collaboratively to roll out blockchain pilots throughout 2017, said Dr. Aisha.

Smart Dubai will design and build a shared blockchain as a Service (BaaS) Platform for Dubai Government entities to use for implementing their blockchain pilots and projects.

Wesam Lootah, CEO of Smart Dubai Government Establishment, said the move would position Dubai as the pre-eminent blockchain powered government.

"Smart Dubai looks forward to work closely over the coming months with all Government entities to Identify and prioritize the services and user experiences that would yield the most impact from the application of blockchain technology. This collaborative effort is crucial to ensuring that the city as a whole is moving in the same direction, taking advantage of synergies, and avoiding duplication of efforts and costs," said Lootah.

He said it was after a competitive and rigorous process, Smart Dubai selected IBM and Consensys for this effort as they have demonstrated deep technical expertise in blockchain, showcasing a strong commitment to support the development of the technology towards interoperability, a direction Dubai intends to pave the way for globally.

 "IBM believes that blockchain will do for transactions what the internet did for information," said Takreem El-Tohamy, General Manager, IBM Middle East & Africa.

El-Tohamy said Dubai is at the forefront of adopting this transformative technology and IBM's collaboration demonstrates the government's confidence that blockchain solutions will transform government service delivery.

"IBM will work closely with Dubai government agencies to create cross-entity blockchain services based on a shared secured ledger that establishes accountability and transparency while streamlining business processes."

"Once again Dubai has demonstrated its fast forward, yet prudent, approach to defining and delivering services on the blockchain. In analysing, selecting and offering government services on interoperable blockchains, Smart Dubai will dramatically reduce wasted time, effort and resources, and accelerate commerce locally by greatly reducing friction at the interface of business and government and in citizen services and will therefore serve as a model for the world's civic governance," Said Joseph Lubin, CEO and founder, Consensys.

The Dubai Blockchain Strategy is based on three pillars that center on implementing blockchain technology in government services, supporting the creation of a blockchain industry through empowering startups and businesses, and leading global thinking on blockchain technology.

In support of the "Industry Creation" pillar of the strategy, SDO has launched the Smart Dubai Office Blockchain Challenge in partnership with global accelerator 1776 in February 2017 which aims to identify the most innovative blockchain ideas from startups around the world and bring them to Dubai to deliver impactful city experiences for residents and visitors alike. Moreover, SDO has launched in February 2017 the Smart Dubai Office Accelerator at the Dubai Future Accelerators with several promising start-ups currently working at the accelerator to innovate in the use of blockchain technology for shared Government services.

- issacjohn@khaleejtimes.com

 

author

Issac John

Editorial Director of Khaleej Times, is a well-connected Indian journalist and an economic and financial commentator. He has been in the UAE's mainstream journalism for 35 years, including 23 years with Khaleej Times. A post-graduate in English and graduate in economics, he has won over two dozen awards. Acclaimed for his authentic and insightful analysis of global and regional businesses and economic trends, he is respected for his astute understanding of the local business scene.





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