Dubai: The UAE has already started its work to implement the blockchain strategy, Omar Bin Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence said on Wednesday.

Last month, His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, launched the Emirates Blockchain Strategy 2021 to enhance the efficiency of the government. Under this initiative, 50 per cent of government transactions will adopt the blockchain platform over the next three years, which the government says will save Dh11 billion in transactions and documents processed routinely. The government said it would save 398 million printed documents and 77 million work hours annually.

“In terms of implementation, the first step has already been done. We created a government body or a council that is going to lead the office of technology specifically from sectors that are going to be key,” Al Olama told thousands of delegates present at the Future Blockchain summit.

“Then we will identify the business processes re-engineering that needs to be done, and enhancing the federal regulations that need to be in place and finally executing and monitoring,” Al Olama added.

The government plans to implement strategy step by step in a bid to make sure that the data is safe and secure.

“One may think why we didn’t follow the Dubai model of 100 per cent. When it comes to federal government, we have certain data and service, that we want to ensure that are 100 per cent safe and 100 per cent secure before they move on to a blockchain,” Al Olama said.

Friendly regulations

The minister said that they expect regulations that are friendly.

“We want to ensure that we have regulations that are more flexible, that are more agile, and we can ensure new start-ups can come to the UAE and work freely,” he said.

The government also wants to use blockchain before implementing Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the country.

“With AI, encryption of data is crucial, and we believe that blockchain can serve as the foundation for AI initiatives of the UAE. With blockchain, we can trace which data the AI used and find out what AI is doing and how we can improve it,” Al Olama said.

Factbox: Reconciliation of accounts

Blockchain has made the reconciliation of accounts of government fees “efficient and seamless,” according to Wesam Lootah, chief executive of Smart Dubai.

“The reconciliation used to take 45 days to settle these transactions and reconcile them. With the use of blockchain we have taken it from 45 days to zero. The technology allows the information to be shared seamlessly. We don’t actually need to do any reconciliation anymore,” Lootah told the delegates at the Future Blockchain Summit.

The UAE government collects Dh12 billion in fees per year, which involves more than billion of transactions.

“This is the kind of transformation that we have with this technology. This improvement is not incremental but transformative,” Lootah said.