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Dubai government to implement citywide Blockchain-based payments platform

The Smart Dubai Office has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Avanza Solutions to implement a citywide blockchain based payments platform.

Smart Dubai Office selected Avanza’s Blockchain Platform, Cipher, to deliver a pilot project under the Dubai Future Accelerators (DFA) programme on 14th Feb 2017. Avanza successfully delivered a reconciliation and settlement platform to Smart Dubai Office for DubaiPay payment platform, with the Blockchain characteristics of  immutability and agility. The pilot project was delivered in collaboration with Dubai Smart Government and the bank, Emirates NBD, which is one of the largest banking groups in the middle east and has the largest retail banking franchise in Dubai.

The DFA programme was launched in July 2016 to bring together government entities in Dubai and  companies working on cutting-edge technologies. DFA is not a traditional accelerator teaching entrepreneurs how to write a business plan. The aim is to accelerate the building of a relationship between companies and government, with the final objective being companies receiving a MOU (or other commercial agreement) to deliver a funded pilot project after the program ends. Under DFA, government entities issues a challenge addressing some of the most important problems and opportunities of the 21st century.

The aim of the program is to provide a dynamic environment where companies and entities can explore new opportunities to deliver transformative technologies and services, culminating in companies receiving a MOU (or other commercial agreement) to deliver a funded pilot project after the program ends. Selected projects get to use city of Dubai as a living test-bed.

Cipher will be rolled out by the Smart Dubai Office across all its existing 38 partner government entities, partner financial institutions and Departments to set up the first blockchain based building block within its financial system.

This takes forward His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s vision to transform Dubai into the 1st Government in the world to execute all applicable transactions on the Blockchain by 2020. In December 2016, the Dubai government announced the Dubai Blockchain Strategy, establishing a roadmap for the introduction of Blockchain technology for Dubai and the creation of an open platform to share the technology with cities across the globe (Click here for Dubai's prior Blockchain initiaitives during 2016). It is estimated that adoption of Blockchain technology can save Dubai 5.5 billion Dirham (~USD billion) annually in document processing alone.

Dr. Aisha Butti bin Bishr, Director General, Smart Dubai said, “I am confident with Avanza’s expertise in payment solutions combined with their Cipher blockchain platform, they will support the Smart Dubai Office with technology that not only bridges current gaps but also becomes a vital piece in Smart Dubai’s roadmap for payment processes in the near future.”

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