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Blockchain tech gains traction in Dubai

Financial institutions are likely to lose revenue to FinTech innovators, industry expert says

Gulf News

Dubai

The technology behind Bitcoin is gaining momentum in Dubai as the emirate moves towards becoming first blockchain-powered government by 2020, industry experts said at the Second World Blockchain Forum.

In simple terms, Blockchain in an encrypted ledger-based technology that records every transaction. It 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 removes the need for a third party, such as a bank, to intermediate.

Bitcoin is a major cyrpto-currency that rose to fame using the Blockchain.

Moe Levin, founder of Keynote Events, organiser of the event, said blockchain is going to change everything about how companies conduct business.

He said that with the blockchain strategy in place, Dubai is “making headway and taking a quantum leap.” The emirate is resolutely leading the global charge to make blockchain technology a mainstream method for transactions and government.

“It is entering a crucial phase in its development and adoption. In the last twelve months, this technology has seen a dramatic increase in visibility and experienced both the good and bad sides of the limelight — rising interest among corporations and investors, alongside more regulatory scrutiny and uncertainty,” he said.

Wesam Lootah, CEO at Dubai Smart Government, said that Dubai’s aim to become the first blockchain-powered government to drive the future economy, is based on three pillars — government efficiency, industry creation and international leadership.

“By 2020, we aim to save the city 25 million productive hours each year and over 115 metric tonnes of carbon emissions, just on paper processing alone,” he said.

Telcos have an active role to play and take the lead in the future of innovation, said Jose Valles, vice-president for new business at du.

“Du is testing a pilot with NMC hospital to make secure electronic health record. It is intended to show the multiple benefits from the application of blockchain in the collection and management of all critical information of the Dubai health care system,” he said.

Max De Gregorio, partner at business management consultant PWC, said that financial institutions are increasingly likely to lose revenue to FinTech, a broader term for numerous technologies currently being adopted for the financial sector. A vast majority of people involved in FinTech believe that this is already occurring, he said.

According to a survey conducted by PWC, he said that more than 80 per cent believe that financial institutions are at risk. Familiarity with blockchain is increasing coupled with an expectation that many financial institutions will adopt blockchain as part of their production processes in the next three to five years.

“Blockchain investments are growing faster, while more global and regional players are launching initiatives to understand relevant use cases,” he said.

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