Blockchain heats up in Dubai

Blockchain heats up in Dubai

IBM has launched a blockchain initiative for trade finance with telecom operator du, Dubai Customs, Dubai Trade, Emirates NBD and Banco Santander.

The plan is to explore the use of logistics solutions for the import and re-export process of goods in and out of Dubai. Using Hyperledger Fabric and IBM Cloud, their blockchain solution transmits shipment data allowing participants to receive real-time information about the state of goods and the status of the shipment.

Amr Refaat, general manager, IBM Middle East and Pakistan, says: “IBM believes that blockchain will do for transactions what the internet did for information.”

As with similar initiatives in trade finance, the aim is to replace paper-based contracts with smart contracts. It will also use IBM Watson’s internet of things (IoT) for device-reported data to update or validate smart contracts.

In February 2016, the Dubai government declared its interest to position itself as a blockchain hub and embrace the technology. As part of this declaration, the Dubai Museum of the Future Foundation established the “Global Blockchain Council” in which IBM is a member. Furthermore, Dubai plans to execute all its transactions on a blockchain by 2020, as a part of its “Dubai Blockchain Strategy”.

Blockchain and Big Blue

IBM’s recent involvement in blockchain is well known.

The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC) chose IBM, in partnership with Axoni and R3, to provide a blockchain/distributed ledger technology (DLT) framework to drive improvements in derivatives post-trade lifecycle events.

IBM unveiled a blockchain-powered Know Your Customer (KYC) project with Singapore start-up KYCK! to help financial services providers onboard customers quicker and cheaper.

Kasikornbank (Kbank), one of the largest banks in Thailand, is also exploring blockchain with IBM, “to save costs and speed up transactions”.