Dubai – a Smart City through the Blockchain

Autonomous construction workers, panoramic learning environments, high-tech spas – the Dubai government presents all this and more in a vision of everyday life in a smart city around 2035.

Among the groups already working today on this tomorrow is the Museum of the future, a project supported by the Dubai government to showcase the technological innovations that make this vision possible. Bitcoin in particular and blockchain applications in general could play a key role.

We are not afraid of the Bitcoin revolution

According to Noah Raford, COO of the Museum of the Future Foundation, the Blockchain is becoming the focus of current scam in Dubai and the United Arab Emirates in general; it could play a key role in Bitcoin revolution government services.

The Museum of the future has therefore founded the Global Blockchain Council, an initiative of 32 members headed by CEO Saif Al Aleeli Blockchain to push technology. This group also includes members of the Smart Dubai Office and the Dubai Smart Government, two organizations dedicated to exploring the possibilities of a Smart City.

„Dubai is investing an incredible amount in the Smart City and wants to find out how to build a government for it. In the medium term, the blockchain technology can do much more than just enable a tool for a transfer of digital assets. The potential for the use of smart contracts is definitely there and this is where we see the long-term value of blockchain technology“.

According to Raford, one of the goals of the GBC is to develop use cases that show how the blockchain can be used in different industries – real estate market and general remittances are just two examples.

One of the related case studies has already been completed, presenting a local Bitcoin startup called BitOasis and the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC). While BitOasis wants to create a convenient way to buy Bitcoin in the UAE, the DMCC focuses on storing personal data on the blockchain as part of its work in the GBC.

Steps to the Bitcoin loophole

Although Raford sees potential for the Bitcoin loophole, he emphasized that the first steps were being taken. The GBC has completed its second meeting, the content of which, according to Bitcoin loophole, was primarily introductory.

„The GBC wants to bring the technologies closer to primary stakeholders through private projects. Even though I don’t consider digital currencies to be futuristic at all, but already an important part of the economy, that’s unfortunately not the opinion of the rest of the Council.“

The Council also includes some of the region’s largest banks, which see digital currencies as an attack on their business and are accordingly sceptical.

Raford has also had to admit that talks about the blockchain are often characterised by ignorance and rumours. For example, it has been seen that parts of the GDC see the blockchain primarily as a tool for know-your-customer and anti-money laundering approaches.

Although Raford admitted that a digital currency does not necessarily have to be part of the GDC’s strategy, he stressed that this would not mean that Bitcoin would not be discussed.

The roots of the GBC lie in the Bitcoin community. Raford’s own interest also began with Auroracoin, which developed into a good case study of the coexistence of crypto currency and government.

When later Bitcoin Foundation executive director Bruce Fenton wanted to host the Dubai Bitcoin Conference, the Raford motivated him to work out how governments could enable blockchain technology.

He was primarily interested in non-financial applications.

Optimistic Perspectives for Blockchain Development
The members of the GBC will meet every quarter, with individual working groups meeting on a monthly basis to discuss issues such as regulation, pilot projects, conferences, workshops and other educational activities.

The GBC would also like to identify economic metrics to measure the value of their efforts.

Ultimately, Raford is optimistic: „He believes the GBC will drive innovation in the region.

Asked about its long-term goals, he replied that the Museum of the Future’s primary goal is to raise people’s awareness of future developments.