The Smart Dubai Office
(SDO) has recently
announced the winners of this year’s global Blockchain Challenge. The announcement
was made at the Blockchain Challenge Presentation and Awarding Ceremony, which
took place at the Future Blockchain Summit.
This year’s Blockchain Challenge attracted 200 applications
from companies in 85 cities across 44 countries. The contest aims to identify
the most promising blockchain solutions from the private sector that can assist
in the implementation of the Dubai Blockchain Strategy.
Announced in October 2016 by SDO and the Dubai Future Foundation, the Dubai
Blockchain strategy has the objective of transforming Dubai into the first
Government in the world to execute all applicable transactions on the
Blockchain by 2020
Among the 17 finalists, Ireland’s AID Tech came in first, followed
by the UAE’s Smart Crowd and the USA’s Codex. The top 3 winners will receive a
total of US$45,000 for their innovation blockchain solutions presented in the
challenge, supporting the strategy that aims to make Dubai the first
blockchain-powered city within two years. The top 3 winners will also have the
opportunity to network with government stakeholders and potentially develop
their ideas further in Dubai.
The 17 selected proposals covered 16 industries. The
finalists also went through training by a technology startup organisation,
followed by the pitching of their concepts to an audience of government
leaders, investors and experts from private and public institutions.
Blockchain Challenge is an important empowerment activity that harnesses the
entrepreneurship skills of the private sector achieve Dubai’s ambition of being
an industry leader in Blockchain and establishing a Blockchain run ecosystem in
the city,” said Her Excellency Dr Aisha Bint Butti Bin Bishr, Director General
According to Mr Wesam Lootah, CEO of the Smart Dubai
Government, startup challenges such as the Smart Dubai Blockchain Challenge is essential
to propel the growth of the blockchain environment in Dubai.
The Dubai Blockchain Strategy revolves around three main
pillars: (1) increasing government efficiency by transferring 100% of
applicable government transactions to blockchain, (2) creating a blockchain
industry and ecosystem and, (3) becoming global leaders in the advancement of
In October 2017, the Dubai Land Department (DLD) became the
world’s first government entity to implement all of its transactions through
blockchain technology. DLD has created the Blockchain system using a smart and
secure database that records all real estate contracts, including lease registrations,
and links them with the Dubai Electricity & Water Authority (DEWA), the
telecommunications system, and various property related bills.
In late October, the Dubai Internet of Things (IoT) strategy
seeking to build the world’s most advanced Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem
in the world’s smartest city to improve people’s lives.
Last month, Dubai launched a blockchain-powered
decentralised learning platform for digital skill development. It also
blockchain-enabled virtual marketplace Tourism 2.0 that connects potential
buyers directly to hotels and tour operators.
Just last week, Dubai
unveiled a blockchain-based
corporate registry project. The project aims to streamline the process
of setting up and operating a business, roll out digital exchange of trade
licenses and related documentation for all business activities, and ensure
regulatory compliance across Dubai’s business ecosystem.
Currently, over 20 government and private sector
blockchain use cases are in the proof of concept (POC) phase, some of these
applications facilitate the renting and buying a property, obtaining
non-objections certificates, managing the lifecycle of a vehicle, licensing
medical institutions and doctors, obtaining e-prescriptions, enrolling and
managing students, and ensuring food safety.