Dubai Wants All Government Documents on Blockchain By 2020

The United Arab Emirates city of Dubai has announced plans to move all of its government documents to a blockchain by 2020.

AccessTimeIconOct 5, 2016 at 3:40 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 11, 2021 at 12:32 p.m. UTC

The Crown Prince of Dubai announced a strategic plan today that would see all government documents secured on a blockchain by 2020.

Revealed at an event hosted by the Dubai Future Foundation and the Smart Dubai Office, the final goal of the government-led initiative is to open the blockchain platform to other cities around the world.

In remarks, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum explained the effort is part of a larger bid by the emirate, one of seven in the larger UAE, to set the "standard" for smart cities.

He said:

"The emirate is building on that achievement by constantly working to foresee the future and keep up with the fourth industrial revolution and all the prospects of increased efficiency that come along with it."

According to a statement, the Dubai government estimates its blockchain strategy has the potential to generate 25.1 million hours of economic productivity each year in savings, while reducing CO2 emissions.

The initiative announced today is notably part of Dubai's year-long push to become a global leader in blockchain tech. In April of this year, for example, Dubai launched its Global Blockchain Initiative (GBI) with 30 members from both the public and private sectors, and the initiative now counts 47 government and financial entities as members.

Two groups involved in that effort, the Dubai Future Foundation and Smart Dubai Office, are slated to take leading roles in the new plan's execution.

The three pillars

According to a statement, Dubai's blockchain strategy will be built on "three pillars", including government efficiency, industry creation and international leadership.

The organizers expect the blockchain project will contribute to increased government efficiency by creating a new digital layer for city transactions. Further, once the documents have been moved to a blockchain, the organizers believe the project will create business opportunities for the private sector.

Industries Dubai expects to benefit from the transition include real estate, banking, healthcare, transportation, urban planning, smart energy, digital commerce, and tourism.

But perhaps the most interesting aspect of the news is the government's plan to open its platform to to other cities and nations.

Dubai Future Foundation and Smart Dubai said they believe the international network could make it easier for travelers to cross borders with certain pre-approved forms of identification and pre-authenticated digital wallets and payments.

Mohammed Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs and the Future said in a statement:

"Users will only need to log in their personal data or business credentials once; it will then be updated and verified in a timely manner through the blockchain network in all government and private entities including banks [and] insurance companies."

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