Blockchain City: On Dubai’s Blockchain Strategy & the Open Index Protocol

Apr 28, 2020 | Press

This article appeared in Albawaba on April 28th, 2020.

Dubai wants to move its government to the blockchain. That means if you want to buy a house, pay your taxes or apply for a driving license, it might just be happening on the blockchain.

In October 2016 the office of the Crown prince, His Highness Sheikh Hamdan, launched a ‘Dubai Blockchain Strategy’ between Smart Dubai and the Dubai Future Foundation with a view to exploring how the blockchain can help transform “government efficiency, industry creation and leadership” in the emirate by 2020.

Over the past four years, Dubai’s blockchain exploration has included a cryptocurrency exchange, systems for financial transfers between the UAE and India, the issuance of university certificates and the verification of property titles. A recent achievements report for 2020 establishes the city as an international case study in what could fairly be described as ‘blockchain governance’.

Over the past four years, Dubai’s blockchain exploration has included a cryptocurrency exchange, systems for financial transfers between the UAE and India, the issuance of university certificates and the verification of property titles.

With COVID-19 battering markets everywhere, blockchain governance applications might not be topmost in the mind of policymakers right now. Yet one day in the note too distant future, blockchain applications could play a critical role in the logistics that allow city states like Dubai to respond to a crisis at speed; from automating personal protective equipment (PPE) supply-chains, to storing medical data securely and transparency. Out-of-the-box solutions that can be adapted to a use-case may be more feasible than developing solutions from the ground up.

blockchain applications could play a critical role in the logistics that allow city states like Dubai to respond to a crisis at speed

A possible contender here is the Open Index Protocol. The protocol was recently used by Medici Land Governance to register land titles in Wyoming, and was presented to the World Bank as a possible system for land administration systems in the developing world. The protocol has other applications, from evolving micro-payment systems that could be critical to a future generation of entrepreneurs in the Middle East, to sharing content across networks without compromising copyright.

Dubai has an early global lead in blockchain technology and governance.

Dubai has an early global lead in blockchain technology and governance. While those plans might be on hold for the next few months, emerging solutions like the Open Index Protocol, among others, could help realize the vision of a ‘blockchain powered city’.

Full disclosure: Al Bawaba News is experimenting with the Open Index Protocol. The views expressed in this article are not necessarily those of Al Bawaba News.

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