Founders and CEOs of blockchain-based startups gathered in Dubai on Monday to discuss the challenges and opportunities of the technology.

Blockchain is a digital record, or ledger, of transactions that processes and settles financial dealings using computer algorithms that don’t require third-party verification.

In the Middle East, Dubai has moved quickly to adopt the technology, aiming for a nationwide blockchain integration by 2020.

Christoffer Wallin, the founder and CEO of Pindify, a blockchain-based online platform for musicians, artists and journalists, told Zawya in an interview on the sidelines of Dubai International Blockchain Summit (DIBS) on Monday that it is looking to use the technology to allow users to buy content from a verified list of artists and journalists.

“We help as much as we can to verify the artists and journalists and make sure they get paid as much as they can,” said Wallin. His platform, which is currently undergoing proof of concept trials in Sweden, takes 9 percent from every subscription.  

Dan Itkis, co-founder of Graft, a startup working on using blockchain to allow consumers to use cryptocurrencies to purchase products, said that although public knowledge of cryptocurrencies has increased, using them for payments can take a long time.

“Cryptocurrencies come with huge challenges,” Itkis told Zawya on the sidelines of the DIBS event. “The first is that the time of transactions is unpredictable. If you do a transaction, best case scenario it can take five minutes or a few hours and the merchant and the client will never know how long the process will take.

“And there is no process of pre-authorisation in the same way you have with credit cards. The reason it works so fast with credit cards is because you have pre-authorisations.”

Another blockchain conference, Unlock Blockchain Forum, is scheduled to take place in Dubai next week. 

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(Reporting by Yasmine Saleh; Editing by Michael Fahy)


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