Dubai moves closer to becoming world’s first blockchain-powered city
The Dubai Land Department (DLD) announced today that it has become the world’s first government entity to adopt blockchain technology, reflecting the ‘Dubai Blockchain Strategy’. The Dubai Blockchain Strategy announced in October 2016 aims to make Dubai the first government in the world to apply all transactions through this network by 2020.
Dubai Blockchain Strategy was established to essentially deliver more seamless, safe, efficient, and impactful city experiences, and creating of an open platform to share the technology with cities across the globe.
Blockchain is a revolutionary technology which is touted to transform digital transactions.
A blockchain is a continuously growing list of records, called blocks, which are linked and secured using cryptography. Each block typically contains a hash pointer as a link to a previous block, a timestamp and transaction data. By design, blockchains are inherently resistant to modification of the data.
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“Adopting Blockchain technology Dubai stands to unlock AED 5.5 billion (~ 1.5 billion US dollars) in savings annually in document processing alone — equal to the one Burj Khalifa’s worth of value every year.” – Smart Dubai
Blockchains also have wider potential beyond financial services and are suitable for recording events, medical records, identity management and other records management activities.
DLD will launch the first-of-its-kind initiative in the global real estate sector, under the slogan ‘Simple, Secure, Fast.’ DLD has created the blockchain system using a smart and secure database that records all real estate contracts, including lease registrations, and links them with the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, DEWA, the telecommunications system, and various property-related bills.
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Blockchain’s secure electronic real-estate platform incorporates personal tenant database, including Emirates Identity Cards and the validity of residency visas. This allows tenants to make payments electronically without the need to write cheques or print any papers. The entire process can be completed within a few minutes at any time and from anywhere in the world, eliminating the need to visit any government entity.
The initiative has been developed in co-operation with Smart Dubai and other partners. The launch will be during the GITEX Technology Week 2017, which will run from 8th to 12th October at the Dubai World Trade Centre.
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Sultan Butti bin Mejren, Director-General of DLD, said:
“As the system simplifies people’s lives by using an integrated system, we are working directly with Smart Dubai to provide our customers with utmost satisfaction and avoid wasting their valuable time. This is a major step toward cementing Dubai’s position as the world’s smartest city, expanding our online partnerships with all government entities and real estate parties that our customers need to complete their transactions.”
Based on this initiative, DLD will be able to create a blockchain database for all Dubai properties, which will be available to DLD’s customers as well as all of its government and private sector partners. The technology will allow investors residing in Dubai and around the world to verify property data that is backed by timestamp signatures, enhancing the accuracy of data, the credibility of investment transactions, and the transparency and clarity of the market.
“This initiative is still in a stage of infancy. In the near future, we will see many partners joining blockchain to improve their client services, including banking, mortgages, and utilities and maintenance operations,” Merjen added.
Dubai’s other blockchain initiatives
Emirates NBD, UAE’s leading banking group on May 1st 2017 launched ‘Cheque Chain’ that will integrate blockchain technology into cheques to strengthen their authenticity and minimise potential fraud.
Dubai’s Immigration and Visas Department in April 2017 signed an agreement with UK-based ObjectTech to develop digital passports by combining blockchain and biometric technologies for seamless entry at Dubai Airport – meaning a passenger will be able to alight their aircraft and walk straight to baggage collection without stopping at passport control.