Dubai: Dubai has been taking a lead in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region on the Blockchain agenda via setting up of The Global Blockchain Council, founded in 2016 by the Dubai Future Foundation, Andy Baldwin, EY Area Managing Partner – Europe, Middle East, India and Africa, told Gulf News in an interview.

“This government initiative is bringing together public and private sectors to identify test cases for new blockchain business models and has led to a huge swell of investment in the blockchain domain. Similarly, Dubai’s smart government initiative aims to record all government transactions on the blockchain — an initiative that could amount to savings of over $1.5 billion [Dh5.5 billion] in document processing and more than 25 million hours in lost productivity,” he said.

Global centres such as London, Singapore and New York have excelled at being hubs for financial technology (Fintech) starts-ups and global banks investing in blockchain-led business models to support the global financial services sector over the last 3-4 years. The Mena region over this time has been building momentum, with various initiatives springing up across the GCC in particular to foster the innovation agenda and use of blockchain across multiple industries, in particular governments.

The pace of fintech innovation in the GCC has been extremely rapid over the past few years but still requires more work on the ground to truly revolutionise the banking industry. The variety of ways in which fintech innovations are being adopted by the banking sector is increasing and we may even see banks collaborating to build shared-cost fintech solutions in the future.