Government, Technology, UAE

Blockchain vital to build a truly smart city: Smart Dubai director general

Smart Dubai is gearing up to launch the third round of the Global Blockchain Challenge, organised in partnership with successful local accelerator the Dubai Future Accelerators (DFA), an initiative of the Dubai Future Foundation (DFF).

The Challenge seeks to source innovative Blockchain start-ups from around the world and bring them to Dubai, which, in turn, further establishes the emirate as an international capital for Blockchain technology.

The competition will be held at the Future Blockchain Summit, taking place on April 2-3, 2019, at the Dubai World Trade Centre, where teams shortlisted in the preliminary stages will be invited to come to Dubai and begin training with DFA ahead of the final Blockchain Challenge Presentation and Awarding Ceremony. Earlier in May 2018, the Future Blockchain Summit attracted 8,143 attendees, 140+ speakers, and more than 130 start-ups and entrepreneurs from 130 countries.

The objective of the Challenge to identify innovative projects that can contribute to the implementation of the Dubai Blockchain Strategy 2020, which was announced by Smart Dubai and the Dubai Future Foundation to make Dubai the first Blockchain-powered city by 2020.

Dr Aisha Bint Butti Bin Bishr, Director General of Smart Dubai, said, “Dubai has established itself, and in record time, as a global destination for innovators and entrepreneurs in the Blockchain industry. Guided by the vision of our leadership, the emirate has become synonymous with bravely embracing avant-garde technologies and utilising them to create an advanced, connected and seamless urban experience for its residents and visitors.

Her Excellency Dr Aisha Bint Butti Bin Bishr
Dr Aisha Bint Butti Bin Bishr, director-general, Smart Dubai

“To build a truly smart city we must establish and empower a holistic Blockchain ecosystem. This includes building the advanced infrastructure for the technology to thrive, but also, and perhaps more importantly, to attract talented and ambitious individuals and start-ups and empower them to implement their innovations – and that is the essence of the Blockchain Challenge, which now holds its third instalment.”

Finalists in the Global Blockchain Challenge will travel to Dubai to participate in a five-day programme, which will include an introduction to the UAE culture and processes of conducting business in the country, pitch presentation training, and finally a pitch competition that will be held as part of the Future Blockchain Summit, to an audience of investors, experts, private and public institutions. Three winners will be chosen among the finalists to receive first, second, and third place prize money of $20,000, $15,000 and $10,000, respectively, and the opportunity to implement their product or service in Dubai.

Last year, a prize pool of $45,000 went to three winners, who were selected from among 17 finalists from 14 countries – in turn shortlisted from 200 applicants. The winning start-ups were Ireland’s AID Tech in first place, with the UAE’s Smart Crowd and the USA’s Codex rounding up the top three.

The Dubai Blockchain Strategy revolves around three main pillars: First, increasing government efficiency by transferring all applicable government transactions to the Blockchain network; second, creating a blockchain industry and ecosystem; and finally, leading the thinking and advancement of Blockchain technology around the world. The Blockchain Challenge will contribute to the Strategy’s industry creation pillar by identifying the most innovative Blockchain ideas from start-ups around the world and bringing them to Dubai.

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