The misconception that Blockchain is synonymous with cryptocurrencies has all but evaporated, and organisations across the UAE are increasingly focused on ways in which they can utilise the technology to bring about greater transparency and efficiency, experts at the Unlock Blockchain Forum 2019 said.
“Looking back, 2017 was the year of education when companies would conduct Blockchain 101 sessions; while 2018 was the year of proof-of-concepts (PoCs), where, in the third and fourth quarter of the year, customers began to understand exactly what the technology can deliver, and more than that, they have mapped their pain areas onto this technology. This is a sign of maturity in the market – nowadays in Dubai, there is a very clear understanding of how Blockchain as a technology is very different from cryptocurrency,” said Waqas Mirza, CEO of Avanza Innovations.
“As blockchain technology matures in the region, the potential impact and value of this technology is showing real promise through its ability to transform our society and enrich the business climate,” said Osman Sultan, CEO of du.
Lara Abdulmalak, head of the Unlock Blockchain Forum, noted that for Blockchain to really take off, it is important for people to understand what exactly it is and what it can do for them. “Blockchain is not just a technology that is being utilised by government entities, it is a technology that offers immense potential to businesses across the region as well. In the coming years, we will see lots of countries in the region presenting the various ways in which they are utilising the technology, signalling a shift towards maturity in the market,” she said.
Speaking on the sidelines of the event, Mirza noted that the biggest challenge in Blockchain implementation is not the technology itself, but the lobbying that is required. “You have to lobby enough participants behind a project or a platform for it to make sense. This is why it is important to go to regulators or influential state owned entities who can rally large volumes of participants behind an idea. All our implementations are private permission Blockchain implementations, which involve a group of organisations coming together and agreeing to work together to resolve an issue that they see. Usually, this issue revolves around trust, transparency, or efficiency. These are three main issues that are solved through Blockchain in a private permission setting.”
Mirza pointed to the success of the Blockchain based Reconciliation and Settlement project for Smart Dubai, which boasts over 12 million transactions. “This was a project that the Dubai Government very proudly shared with the rest of the world as a tangible success of Dubai’s Blockchain adoption journey. Another project that we are currently working on with the Dubai Land Department and the Smart Dubai Government, will see the development of a complete paperless journey, which will allow residents to renew a tenancy contract or sign one for a new unit within 10 minutes without leaving their homes.”