Smart Dubai, IBM Launch Dubai Blockchain Platform to Digitize Process & Services

Smart Dubai Office and IBM launched the Dubai Blockchain Platform, a system aimed at companies and Dubai citizens, helping them to automate and digitize multiple services.

Smart Dubai Office, an initiative of Crown Prince of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who is also UAE’s Vice President and Prime Minister, announced on Tuesday the launch of the Dubai Blockchain Platform in collaboration with US tech giant IBM. The product is the first blockchain platform as-a-service endorsed by the government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The solution is offered via an IBM Cloud environment and developed in the UAE. It is aimed at enterprises and residents and especially in helping the former to move from blockchain trials to real-world use cases. Also, the platform will digitize and automate government processes and citizen services.

Last year, we reported that Dubai planned to become the world’s first blockchain-powered government by 2020, and the current launch is part of this broader vision. By leveraging the distributed ledger technology (DLT) for various processes, the government hopes to save a billion US dollars each year. To achieve that target, Dubai launched the Dubai Blockchain Strategy, which is run by Smart Dubai and which has IBM as the official Blockchain Strategic partner. So far, the city has implemented the technology in several sectors, including energy, roads and transport, healthcare, education, and tourism among others.

In May of this year, Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) announced the blockchain-based Digital Silk Road project, developed in partnership with the Dubai Future Foundation (DFF). The initiative, planned to be introduced in the next few months, aims to use DLT to solve the main challenges of the global trading system.

Last month, Smart Dubai launched a DLT-based payment reconciliation and settlement system that will help Dubai’s Department of Finance speedup its operations. The system will be among the first projects to be moved onto the Dubai Blockchain Platform, enabling the Department of Finance and authorized entities reduce specific payment processes from about 45 days to real-time.  

As for the current project itself, the Dubai Blockchain Platform will help citizens have easy access to digitized services run on IBM Blockchain. On the other side, companies will be able to keep their data inside the UAE and run transactions locally at reduced costs.

The platform is powered by LinuxONE™ - IBM's mainframe technology, which can handle over 6.2 billion web transactions each day. Also, the system will comply with the Information Security Regulation (ISR) standards required by the Dubai Government.

Dr. Aisha Bint Butti Bin Bishr, Director General of the Smart Dubai Office, commented:

“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 digitized government by 2021. The Dubai Blockchain Platform we are launching today with IBM – who bring a wealth of insight and expertise in the advanced tech industries – drives us forward in our mission and allows us to power all blockchain applications in the city from one united portal.”

H.E. Wesam Lootah, CEO of the Smart Dubai Government Establishment (SDG), stated:

“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.”

“And with the launch of the Dubai Blockchain Platform today, we will be one step closer to implementing Blockchain-powered services and experiences into citizens' day-to-day lives,” he added.