Dubai, the 'blockchain city' of the United Arab Emirates



Dubai, one of the most politically and economically important cities in the Persian Gulf, is now known as the quintessential luxury destination for tourists. However they soon aspire to be renowned for much more than their imposing constructions: they want to become the first blockchain city.



"The first smart city in the world by 2020", this is the ambitious goal pursued by one of the seven Arab Emirates, according to a report issued a little less than a year ago by the government institution responsible for making this premise a Smart Dubai reality .
Dubai is not only enhancing its modus operandi with blockchain technology, as The Dubai Blockchain Strategy is just one of the cornerstones of Smart Dubai's strategy  However, it emphasizes that most of the initiatives are based on a chain of blocks.
According to the proposal, the main use that will be given to the technology that supports the digital coins will be to serve as a platform for all transactions of public agencies and the state led by Sheikh Mohamed bin Rashid Al Maktum A goal for which they work on solutions since last October, when they began their search for the development of platforms and protocols with the digital hackathon GovHack.

THE ALLIES

Becoming the first blockchain city of the world, or the Blockchain Strategy of Dubai requires the evolution of the main areas of the country, a task for which it was necessary to ally with companies consolidated in blockchain solutions to meet its objective in time. That is why in March of this year, Smart Dubai announced its alliances with two technological companies of great weight in the blockchain ecosystem: Consensys and IBM. Both are dedicated to accelerating the adoption process of the Emirate of Dubai.  Currently, they are developing a platform that will serve one of its three pillars, especially the global positioning.
Collaborating with IBM and Consensys will help accelerate this process by reaching out to Smart Dubai's global vision of making everyday experiences safer, seamless, efficient and impactful for all residents and visitors to the city.
Aisha Bin Bishr
General Manager, Smart Dubai

PILLARS

While we already mentioned that global leadership is one of the pillars of the strategy, we have to know that The Blockchain Strategy of Smart Dubai has three pillars, from which they intend to change the country's operation.
The first of these pillars is government effectiveness, the primary objective of this aspect of the plan is to eliminate the management of public transactions on paper to convert them into digital, of course, managed in a chain of blocks in a platform that are developing together IBM and Consensys.  
Estimates of results, according to Smart Dubai and the Emirate's Finance Ministry, are that by digitizing all public transactions they manage to redistribute 25.1 million productive hours a year. Hours that are currently dedicated to visa, license and invoice paperwork.
At the same time, the blockchain implementation will help Dubai meet the commitment made by the United Arab Emirates in the Paris Agreement (2015), as it will avoid the emission of 114 million tonnes of CO2.
The second pillar of the strategy is the Creation of Industry, that is, the creation of conditions to build a competitive blockchain ecosystem within the emirate.
The objective of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum is to manage a blockchain ecosystem in which the various sectors that are currently booming, such as the fintech sector , and the smart health and energy sectors, are participating; In addition to boosting existing industries with technology, bringing sectors of the market such as real estate, banking and even tourism.
Finally, the third pillar of the strategy aims to be conceived as world leaders in the field of development and innovation with blockchain. An objective for which it would seem that it will not take much more effort than to comply with the first two pillars; And for which they pose with great international openness as a destination for all enthusiasts of the technological vanguard.
In addition, part of this third pillar is to open its Blockchain platform to its global counterparts so that from the joint development can improve the safety and quality of life of the inhabitants and travelers of Dubai.

WANT TO BE FULL OF TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPERS

Dubai wants to become the city with the economy and legislative system conducive to attract as many technological developers as possible, to consolidate itself as the blockchain city, in which test new protocols that will become the vanguard of the future.
An effort for which the Dubai Future Foundation (DFF) connected 12 startups and emerging technology companies with state agencies, betting on the mixed effort for the construction of technological alternatives.
It should be noted that companies are not only linked to blockchain technology, there are several initiatives; As they include artificial intelligence, facial recognition, advanced health solutions and the Internet of Things.
The United Arab Emirates is now a world-class destination for innovators to come and work with our government institutions to shape the future of our vital sectors.
Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum
President, Board of the Dubai Future Foundation
In this regard, Sheikh Mohammed, who is also chairman of the DFF Board, commented that the UAE is the ideal place for developers to test their technologies.
The United Arab Emirates is offering technology companies an ideal platform to test global technologies and future solutions, consolidating their leadership position in the future industry and a drive to shape the future of today's most vital sectors .
Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum
President, Board of the Dubai Future Foundation

GENERALIZED INITIATIVES FOR THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

An important part of the plan is the implementation of the technology in several areas. To carry out a restructuring of the city's modus operandi, the Emirate of Dubai has been testing blockchain technology in seven areas with the participation of different players in the economy.
Continuing with the first pillar of its strategy to put the state into operation with blockchain, not only Dubai but the entire United Arab Emirates, they are testing together two banks to explore blockchain's performance in the import and re-export process of Goods in Dubai.
The tests focus directly on how they could restructure the process monitoring , considering as the starting point the financing of exports by the banks.
It is important to note that the banks that are part of the test are Banco Santander, banking entity quite enthusiastic about distributed accounting and Emirates NBD Bank, whose headquarters are in the city of Dubai.
It should be noted that Emirates NBD Bank also allied with the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates to carry out its second test with blockchain; Since since April of this year both banks have decided to test the operation of distributed accounting technology to reduce the number of fraudulent checks , and only a month later had implemented Chain Check.
Chain Check was implemented on July 17 by an allied bank of Emirates NBD Bank, the Emirates Islamic bank , and operates with a unique QR code reader (Quick Response) located on the sheet of each checkbook. A code that is added with 20 random characters next to the code will be registered in a bank blockchain string, and will work to check the authenticity of the check at the time of use ; Adoption that demonstrates the potential of the technology that supports cryptomonedas to protect banking transactions and reduce fraud, in this case with checks. In this regard the Director of Operations of Emirates Islamic, Suhail Bin Tarraf said:
Blockchain has the potential to significantly increase security and protection in banking transactions and we are delighted to be among the first in the United Arab Emirates to use this new technology.We anticipate that Check Chain will drastically reduce check frauds in this market, helping us to provide our customers with greater peace of mind and security.
Suhail Bin Tarraf
Director of Operations, Emirates Islamic
Another area in which the government of Dubai has begun to implement the blockchain is the migratory. As we described above, eliminating paperwork is one of the first goals when we talk about blockchain in Dubai , and the immigration process is one of the most paperwork entails. Likewise, they propose to eliminate illegal immigration in 50% with blockchain.
This use case for blockchain emerged as part of the solutions to streamline Dubai's proposed institutional services in the second round of Dubai Future Accelerators (DFA) in February 2017.
The results of this second cohort were four blockchain initiatives aimed at reducing the entry of undocumented people into Dubai with the implementation of identification techniques that include, among other alternatives, biometric recognition.
It should be borne in mind that Dubai Future Accelerator  is a program of the government of Dubai headed by Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum whose aim is to "imagine, design and create the future" by facilitating alliances between entrepreneurs and the government Of UAE, but establishing the city of Dubai as the stage for the tests.

BLOCKCHAIN OUT OF FINANCES

Another area in which the government of Dubai have begun to implement the blockchain is the migratory. As we described above, eliminating paperwork is one of the first goals when we talk about blockchain in Dubai, and the immigration process is one of the most paperwork entails. Likewise, they propose to eliminate illegal immigration in 50% with blockchain.
This use case for blockchain emerged as part of the solutions to streamline Dubai's proposed institutional services in the second round of Dubai Future Accelerators (DFA) in February 2017.
The results of this second cohort were four blockchain initiatives aimed at reducing the entry of undocumented people into Dubai with the implementation of identification techniques that include, among other techniques, biometric recognition.
It should be borne in mind that Dubai Future Accelerators is a program of the government of Dubai headed by Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum who has as a north "to imagine, to design and to create the future" facilitating the alliances between the entrepreneurs and the government Of UAE, but establishing the city of Dubai as the stage for the tests. In addition, the areas of health, tourism and education also carry out a growing list of projects promoted by the Dubai Global Blockchain Council , which  began operations with the Dubai Future Foundation, a body that promotes financial innovation within the UAE , Being a  space of debate on the implementation that forms part of the Global Blockchain Business Council and provides the country with important alliances;
In addition to important alliances to work with blockchain in the emirate ecosystem. Among the major alliances achieved by the Dubai Global Council is the future implementation of a blockchain system to direct tourists to visit places of historical importance within the Loyyal distributed accounting platform. The platform will operate from a mobile application and with the help of GPS technology will give points redeemable to tourists for attending monuments. Although it is still not clear who will be able to get visitors with those points.

The Global Blockchain Council on the day of its foundation, made up of Dubai government authorities and business representatives.
Some cities have the problem that the tourists visit them but they do not go where they could be educated on the historical particularities of the place. Dubai is one of those cities. Dubai has built huge structures, the world's tallest building and a seven star hotel, and all the tourists crowd there. Unfortunately, they miss the rich history and culture of the country. The concept of this project is to allow clients to earn points by attending a place with cultural significance, such as a museum or a historical location.
Greg Simon
CEO, Loyyal
On the other hand, another company allied to the Dubai Future Foundation is the telecommunications company Du , one of the largest in the Emirate of Dubai, which since 2016 has announced its intention to bring new identity and authentication applications to its users based on In blockchain technology.
In fact, in June 2016, an investigation began to learn how medical records can be protected with distributed accounting for malicious and illegal activities. An initiative they decided to ally with  Guardtime, a startup that uses blockchain to protect more than a million medical records in Estonia.  
The pilot tests of this program consisted in verifying data of the health status of different patients among several hospital institutions. The results were encouraging, as they were able to transfer and verify medical records in seconds.
In this regard, Carlos Domingo, Head of innovation of Du said that seek to digitize the entire health system of Dubai.
We seek to completely digitize the health system with blockchain technology to ensure the integrity of the information with zero errors and ensure the checking of patient records.
Carlos Domingo
Head of Innovation, Du

REGULATION OF BITCOIN AND THE CRIPTOMONEDAS

With a government aiming to operate with blockchain technology, it is clear the openness to digital currencies and technologies derived from distributed accounting . And as in most countries where the role of the blockchain ecosystem is increasingly being accepted, there is a need to create a legal framework that allows both the use of digital currencies and the protocols created to be non-compliant With the current emirate regulations.
However, for the competent bodies to establish a regulatory framework does not represent the number one priority, and in fact have decided to explore what the regulatory needs and then propose a law.
That is why the November 20 last year, and Supreme Committee on Legislation for the Emirate of Dubai (SLC), in collaboration with the Center for Electronic Security Dubai (DESC) held a workshop entitled Virtual Currency: fledged In which the legal rights and duties of digital cryptones were discussed.
In this respect, all the comments made by members of Smart Dubai and some governing bodies of the economy point to self-regulation as a method. In addition to claiming that there is little need to establish a blockchain law, it is not yet known how the market will work , nor really how much will change the lives of the inhabitants of Dubai.
And, to change the lives of the inhabitants is one of the main reasons why the Arab Emirate has undertaken the avant-garde change. The Sheikh wants to achieve the happiest and most technological city in the world.
Certainly, Dubai is not the only country that works at full speed to turn its economic, financial and administrative ecosystem into a favorable one for the development of blockchain initiatives. And neither is it the only city fighting for the title of blockchain city.
It is necessary to remember the way in which, recently, Japan bitcoin to its economy of massive form; And also the intention of New York to be the first blockchain city in the world, by stipulating that companies operating in the state should opt for an official license.
The obstacles to the New York case is that the state has locked the game , in some way, with the high levels of control and the small possibility of obtaining licenses to operate and implement blockchain or businesses with criptomonedas, a point that plays in favor Of Dubai, because on the road to evolution, the state's interest in achieving this always helps.
While the change in the cities of the Emirate with respect to blockchain occur with considerable speed, in CriptoNoticias we are committed to provide our readers with the best information in a timely manner about this famous city that is not only synonymous with luxuries, wealth and landscapes Exotic; But also technological innovation and vision of the future.

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