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IBM, Dubai launches government blockchain platform


IBM and Smart Dubai, the organization dedicated to guiding Dubai’s technological transformation, have announced the launch of the Dubai Blockchain Platform.

The platform is part of the emirate’s aim to have a paperless government by 2021. Dubai, a leading proponent of blockchain, unveiled the Dubai Blockchain Strategy in 2016 with IBM as the official partner. Since then the city has launched numerous blockchain projects including roads and transport, energy, healthcare and education.

Smart Dubai aims to offer government digitized services to citizens and business and at the same time keep the data in-country. The ultimate purpose is for the platform to handle all applicable government transactions.

It’s also intended as part of an ecosystem and hence companies will be able to host innovative applications within Dubai.

The platform will be delivered via an IBM Cloud environment but is developed locally in the UAE, a statement said. The blockchain is powered by IBM’s mainframe technology LinuxONE, which is capable of running more than 6.2 billion web transactions a day.

The first to migrate over to the Platform will be The Dubai Pay Blockchain Settlement and Reconciliation System. The solution launched last month aims to reduce the time to reconcile and settle payments between government entities, banks and financial institutions. What previously could take as much as 45 days, now happens in real-time.

H.E. Wesam Lootah, CEO of the Smart Dubai Government Establishment (SDG) commented: “Blockchain is steadily moving towards becoming a multi-billion market by 2019 and we, at Smart Dubai, have successfully embedded the technology in numerous services, the latest of which was the advanced ‘Dubai Pay Blockchain Settlement and Reconciliation System’, which eliminates friction from financial processes between government entities through automation and minimal human intervention.”

Other initiatives

Three weeks ago Emcredit, a state-backed subsidiary of the Department of Economic Development announced plans for a stable digital currency. This seems to be outside of the Smart Dubai Initiative.

Five months ago the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) announced plans for a supply chain project called the Digital Silk Road Project.

In neighboring emirate Abu Dhabi, the Maqta Gateway is building a shipping blockchain called Silsal and recently announced a pilot with the Port of Antwerp.