IBM, Smart Dubai launch first government-backed blockchain platform in Middle East

The new Dubai Blockchain Platform aims to transform and digitise applicable government processes and citizen services

Smart Dubai and IBM have launched the Dubai Blockchain Platform (DBP), the first government-endorsed blockchain platform-as-a-service in the Middle East.

This will serve as a stepping stone for organisations in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and globally to transition their blockchain testing and development into full-production, according to a press release. It will also transform and digitise relevant government processes and citizen services, it adds.

The DBP was developed in an IBM Cloud environment and built in the UAE and is within the country’s vision to make the emirate a paperless government by 2021. It is powered by IBM’s mainframe technology, LinuxONE, which is capable of running more than 6.2 billion web transactions per day.

Day-to-day processes

“The DBP will help integrate digitised services and experiences run on IBM Blockchain into citizens’ day-to-day lives,” says the press release. “Organisations will also benefit from keeping their data in-country and conducting transactions locally, and in turn, lower operational costs.”

Dr Aisha Bint Butti Bin Bishr, Director-General of the Smart Dubai Office (SDO), says “the DBP we are launching today with IBM drives us forward in our mission and allows us to power all blockchain applications in the city from one united portal”.

Bishir adds that, “Dubai has been a pioneer in blockchain technology since its inception, while other major cities around the world were reluctant to embrace it for city-wide implementation. The Dubai Blockchain Strategy set a clear path for the emirate to have the world’s first fully digitised government by 2021”.

As part of this strategy, the city has seen the launch of various blockchain applications in many government entities across different sectors, including roads and transport, energy, healthcare and education.

“As Dubai persists on its path to becoming a world leader in the industries of the future, blockchain technology will occupy an increasingly significant status in governments’ and organisations’ day-to-day undertakings, as well as in individuals’ everyday lives,” says H.E. Wesam Lootah, CEO of the Smart Dubai Government Establishment (SDG).

“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.”

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