Dubai has the goal of going paperless by 2021. A member of the city’s government outlines the strategy and the seven tenets of blockchain success.
As city governments modernize, they struggle to shed manual practices, go digital and become fleet-footed. Some organizations are turning to blockchain technology to achieve these goals.
Public institutions have much to gain from blockchain technology, wrote Mark White, Jason Kilimeyer and Bruce Chew in a paper for Deloitte Insights. “By accelerating transactions . . . blockchain can help to eliminate layers of redundancy, ease regulatory compliance burdens [and] introduce recordkeeping efficiency,” they wrote.
For the city of Dubai, blockchain will enable efficiency, modernization and greater transparency. One key initiative, said Wesam Lootah, the CEO of Smart Dubai Government, is going paperless using blockchain.
“We are trying to make the city of the future today,” he explained at IBM Think 2018. “On December 12, 2021, we will celebrate the last paper transaction issued by any government entity in Dubai. Being 100% digital is just the norm.”
Blockchain works this way: When a new transaction takes place, every computer in the blockchain network records the information into a database of sorts. That time-stamped transaction is combined with others to form a block, also time-stamped to prevent overwriting or duplication.
When a block is added to the larger chain, it is attached with a “hash”—or a unique string of characters—to make the chain virtually immutable and unbreakable. A hash from one block is then added to the data in the next block. When the next block goes through the hash function, a portion of it is woven into the new hash. Blockchain participants provide the validation and cryptographic locks on the data, enabling it to be simultaneously secure and transparent.
Not surprisingly, enterprises and institutions see the value of this technology to digitize processes, provide transparency into the nature of the transaction and give all parties access to the information.
And the blockchain technology trend is gathering steam. IDC predicts that $2.1 billion will be spent globally on blockchain technology in 2018. At the same time, according to IDG Connect research, only 13% of senior IT leaders surveyed have clear, current plans to implement blockchain technologies. But, as Lootah indicates, institutions can’t adopt these technologies without a plan. To achieve blockchain success, they need to test and then commit.
The city of Dubai treats its blockchain initiative as a serious technology rollout. Here are three of its guiding principles for bringing blockchain to government.
In order to realize this strategy, Lootah said, organizations should consider these seven rules for blockchain success.
Lauren Horwitz is the managing editor of Cisco.com, where she covers the IT infrastructure market and develops content strategy. Previously, Horwitz was a senior executive editor in the Business Applications and Architecture group at TechTarget;, a senior editor at Cutter Consortium, an IT research firm; and an editor at the American Prospect, a political journal. She has received awards from American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE), a min Best of the Web award and the Kimmerling Prize for best graduate paper for her editing work on the journal article "The Fluid Jurisprudence of Israel's Emergency Powers.”