KHALEEJ TIMES, Sunday, Jan 19, 2020 | Jamadi Al Awwal 24, 1441
How UAE can save over Dh11B by adopting blockchain technologies
Emirates: The UAE can save
over Dh11 billion through implementing advanced blockchain technologies,
according to a new report.
In addition to the cost savings, the UAE government can eliminate 398 million
printed documents and 77 million work hours per year through leveraging
blockchain to process routine transactions, said a whitepaper released by the
Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution UAE (C4IR UAE), said the Dubai
Future Foundation (DFF) and the World Economic Forum on Wednesday.
Currently, 80 per cent of public and private sector entities are already using
"The UAE has long been a leader in the early implementation of emerging
technologies, including blockchain, and is a vital contributor when developing
governance and a systematic approach for new technologies," said Khalfan Belhoul,
CEO of the foundation.
Following the launch of the Dubai Blockchain Strategy in 2016 and the Emirates
Blockchain Strategy in 2018, the UAE government has taken active measures in
advancing the technology nationwide through creating an industry for blockchain,
driving government adoption and stepping up international collaboration with
interested stakeholders. Since then, the country has hosted a multitude of
blockchain implementations, conferences and other initiatives.
The UAE government, as a part of its digital transformation efforts, decided to
capitalise on blockchain to transform government transactions on the federal
level, 50 per cent of which will be conducted using blockchain by 2021.
The study found that when it comes to implementing blockchain, the two main
challenges for government, corporate and service providers are difficulty in
bringing together the required stakeholders and educating and creating awareness
among stakeholders. However, the core challenge in blockchain implementation
remain in the operational and regulatory sphere rather than on the technical
Omar bin Sultan Al Olama, UAE Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence,
said the UAE has long been a leader in the early implementation of emerging
"The use of blockchain technology in the public and private sectors has been no
different. Spearheaded by the launch of the Dubai Blockchain Strategy and the
Emirates Federal Blockchain Strategy, the UAE government has taken active steps
towards advancing the technology nationwide through industry creation,
government adoption and international collaboration," he said.
"Since then, the country has played host to a multitude of blockchain
implementations, conferences and other initiatives. Each of these has yielded
new insights into the major challenges and success factors encountered when
deploying blockchain technology, now shared for the first time in this paper,"
the minister said.
Seven case studies have been documented to provide shared experiences in
understanding fundamental challenges and success factors in deploying
Among the case studies, global ports operator DP World's goals are twofold.
First, collaborate with UAE entities for two selected use cases - enable
registration, licences and memberships of new traders on a single platform and
digitise exit/entry certificates required at ports. Second, it aims to create a
permissioned blockchain for beneficiary cargo owners and their trade-logistics
business partners to promote data sharing and process integration.
Dubai's largest bank, Emirates NBD, has decided to use blockchain to tackle the
sizeable challenge of cheque fraud.
"Fraudsters apply sophisticated printing technologies to simulate cheques, such
as counterfeiting and forgery, as well as fraudulent alteration, which causes
financial, reputational and legal risks. As the group issues close to one
million cheques every month, representing 30 per cent of total UAE clearing
volumes, it is more likely to be susceptible to fraud. Hence, blockchain was
explored as a mechanism to counter this risk," the study said.
Through applying a QR code on every page of a new cheque book and applying
blockchain as a tamper-proof verification layer, the bank aimed to tackle cheque
fraud. It will help scale and secure over 10 million cheques cleared monthly
over branches for more than 50 banks; launch e-cheque instrument to potentially
save 1.2 billion pages annually; and expand the service to digitise other
Mirek Dusek, head of tge Middle East and North Africa and member of the
executive committee at the World Economic Forum, said the C4IR UAE stems from a
long-standing collaboration between the UAE and the World Economic Forum.
"We are excited to launch this report, which represents a concrete example of
how the C4IR UAE can drive leadership on inclusive deployment of blockchain. The
principles developed in the report will empower not only UAE's and the region's
business and government entities, but will also drive meaningful collaborations
with other countries that are part of the World Economic Forum's Fourth
Industrial Revolution Network for greater economic and social impact."