Dubai "Warming Up" to the Blockchain

This modern city is seeing the huge potential in Bitcoin and the Blockchain

Dubai: Modern, Hot and Beautiful. Getty Images

It’s perhaps the most modern city in the world. 

Dubai is the most populous city in the United Arab Emirates and the most expensive city in the Middle East.  If you’d like a hotel room there, you need to be prepared to pay big time – it’s the second most expensive place to stay in the world (behind Geneva). Some credit the name, Dubai, as actually originating from a word meaning “money”.

In many ways, it seems to be a natural for Bitcoin.

The city of Dubai seems to agree.

The city is home to the Museum of the Future, which was created to foster innovation and explore new technologies. In conjunction with this progressive view of innovation and technology, the Dubai government also created the Global Blockchain Council with a specific focus on potential applications of blockchain technology, with the goal of highlighting how this technology could impact domestic financial and non-financial business sectors.

Saif Al Aleeli, CEO of Dubai Museum of the Future Foundation, sees the importance of Blockchain technology and said, "The Global Blockchain Council will launch different initiatives under its umbrella to highlight and promote blockchain and digital currencies, and explore its advantages and disadvantages. It will also draw a roadmap for best uses of this emerging technology."

He also said that “the significant growth in the volume of transactions using Blockchain platform during 2015, which reached 56%, refers to the great opportunities that can be utilized through the optimal application of this technology in the relevant sectors.

" Nasdaq.com reports that he estimates that the global investments in blockchain could reach $300 billion over the next four years. 

This Council consists of 32 members including government entities, international companies such as IBM, Cisco and Microsoft, and blockchain startups.

One of these startups is BitOasis, which is a company focused on the use of digital currency among emerging countries, particularly by ex-pats.

 Its company website touts their status as the leading bitcoin wallet and exchange in North Africa and the Middle East. The CEO of the company is Ola Doudin who was recently featured on the cover of Forbes Middle East. 

Recently her company revealed it had completed a proof-of-concept with commodity marketplace tech provider Dubai Multi Commodities Center (DMCC) in what might be the first test of the technology by a major financial institution In the Dubai region.

Doudin is excited about the prospects for growth of her company and for Blockchain businesses within Dubai, but she feels that the current startup community in the city is growing but still small.  She’s continuing to grow her efforts and reach out beyond her border.  She was instrumental in setting up the Jordan Bitcoin Group, seeking to grow awareness of Bitcoin in that country.  She’ll be appearing in the US in May as part of the Consensus 2016 conference.

The Dubai government wants to continue this growth in evaluating the technology and finding applications for the Blockchain to aid its “smart city” initiative.  The Chief Operating Officer of the Museum of the Future, Noah Raford, recently told Coindesk that,  "Dubai has a massive investment in the smart city, to find out what does it take to run a 21st century government. There’s a larger story around this in the medium term, around just the digital transfer of assets. The potential is quite profound for [applications like] smart contracts. That’s where we see the longer-term impact."

The city of Dubai is a hot city with temperatures that average at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the year.  It seems that Bitcoin and Blockchain technology are also hot in this modern city as well.