Monday, May 30, 2016

Dubai: Blockchain technology is fast emerging as a key area of innovation and generating huge interest, not just globally but also in Dubai.

The Blockchain is a technology that allows people who don’t know each other to trust a shared record of events. This shared record, or ledger, is distributed to all participants in a network who use their computers to validate transactions and thus remove the need for a third party to intermediate.

In simple terms, it is the spreadsheets of different companies talking to each other.

While it is easily identified with virtual currency, Blockchain technology has a range of business applications beyond finances, offering immense potential in several other applications in a variety of sectors and areas.

Saif Al Aleeli, CEO of Dubai Future Foundation, said at the Global Blockchain Conference in Dubai on Monday that financial institutions have listings worth more than $75 million in bitcoin- and blockchain-related companies in 2015, witnessing twofold increase compared to 2014.

“Based on our expectations, it will grow fivefold by 2019. It offers huge growth potential,” he said.

Dr Aisha Bin Bishr, director general of Smart Dubai, said that Blockchain will foster the growth of the city and will play an important role in every transaction made through ‘Smart Dubai’ platform.

Seven pilot projects by telecom operator du, Dubai Multi Commodities Centre, Dubai International Financial Centre, Loyyal, Viktor Koeing, IBM and Bitoasis are already on in Dubai.

Moe Levin, a member of the UAE-based Global Blockchain Council that was formed by the Dubai Foundation for the Museum of the Future with 44 members, said that Bitcoin began changing the financial world and ultimately helped prove the Blockchain, which is the most elegant and smartest way to track financial transactions and contracts.

“Blockchain is a functional global ledger, and it is going to change everything you know about how companies conduct business,” he said.

“I believe the region is ready for this innovative technology. The Blockchain is the greatest invention since the internet and has revolutionised and simplified the process of conducting financial interactions between organisations.”

Levin said that Bitcoin and Blockchain are still in a nascent stage in the region, and the UAE is the first country to actively take the next step and encourage use of Blockchain.

As of first quarter this year, Levin said that total venture capital investment in Bitcoin and Blockchain start-ups now exceeds $1.1 billion.

He said the UAE is a melting pot for expats from around the globe — remittances, insurance, financial investment advisories, and online trading is big business, and all of the players in these segments will have to adapt at some point.

By Naushad K. Cherrayil Staff Reporter

Gulf News 2016. All rights reserved.