Will Blockchain Power the City of the Future? – ARAB TIMES


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Will Blockchain Power the City of the Future?

The UAE, and Dubai, in particular, are increasingly drawing international interest. Tech investment, start-ups, and talented entrepreneurs from all corners of the world are flocking to Dubai for its forward-thinking policies and high ambitions, aiming to be the world’s first city powered by blockchain technology. Let’s take a look at the progress made so far and some of the key players involved in building the City of the Future.

Dubai: The City of the Future

Thanks to its low taxes, ease of doing business, and world-class handling of the pandemic, both investment and immigration in Dubai are hitting new records. Visitor numbers to our emirate almost tripled in the first half of 2022 and around half of all investments in start-ups in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region are flowing into the UAE.

With a need to diversify our economy away from oil exports, Dubai, once a fishing village, has quickly become a leading centre for trade and transportation, operating one of the world’s largest ports and busiest international air transit hub. Today, Dubai is a global leader in luxury travel, real estate, and finance, and is on its way to becoming a global tech hub—and the world’s first city fully powered by blockchain technology.

Adopting blockchain technology will allow Dubai to achieve efficiency, digitise 100% of all government transactions, and become an entirely paperless city. Smart Dubai estimates that Dubai will realise as much as 5.5 billion dirhams in savings annually in document processing alone! That’s equivalent to the value generated by the Burj Khalifa every year. Beyond improving efficiency and unlocking new revenue streams, blockchain will allow Dubai to reduce its carbon footprint, saving around 1 million trees every year.

Smart Dubai’s goal is to make Dubai the “happiest city on earth” by creating and enabling a blockchain ecosystem for start-ups and established businesses and leading the global stage by piloting cross-border blockchain use cases.

With the continuous threat of climate change facing the MENA region, along with conflicts, food insecurity, and water scarcity, economies must grow in a way that is sustainable to the environment. Thanks to blockchain, Dubai is creating a playbook to address this problem, converting it into the true City of the Future.

Blockchain Allows Businesses to be Greener

Cryptocurrency has received some negative press lately for its high energy consumption. Bitcoin, for example, consumes around 150 terawatt-hours of electricity annually, more than the entire annual usage of Argentina, leading to many questions about its environmental impact. However, this consumption only applies to blockchains that run on the so-called Proof-of-Work (PoW) consensus mechanism that relies on the energy-intensive practice of mining to verify transactions.

As the blockchain industry has progressed, a different type of consensus model, called Proof of Stake (PoS), has emerged that relies on validators to verify transactions and circumvents the need for mining completely. PoS blockchains are estimated to be around 2000x more energy-efficient than PoW blockchains, making this technology infinitely greener and more scalable at the same time.

One such PoS blockchain that is enabling businesses to build sustainably across various different verticals (from cross-border payments to healthcare) is Algorand. Algorand not only runs on a variation of PoS, but it also offsets all its carbon emissions and has partnered with ClimateTrade, a blockchain marketplace for CO2 carbon offsetting, to become the world’s first carbon-negative blockchain.

How the Algorand Blockchain Could Help Dubai Achieve Its Goal and Vision

As the greenest and most efficient blockchain, Algorand fully aligns with Dubai’s goal and vision. Its advanced technology provides institutional-grade infrastructure that’s highly scalable, secure, and energy-efficient, allowing Dubai to forge ahead as the first city powered by blockchain—without harming the environment.

The Algorand blockchain is a fully managed, scalable, and secure platform. Unlike some of the larger blockchains with slow translation times and high fees, transactions on Algorand take just four seconds and cost fractions of a penny. Algorand is designed to be as accessible to businesses as possible and decentralised applications (dApps) can be built in various different programming languages depending on developer preference, from Go and Java to Python and Rust.

Thanks to its speed, accessibility, and scalability, Algorand’s enterprise-grade infrastructure is ideal for supporting government entities’ blockchain prototyping activities. In fact, several businesses are already building prototypes on Algorand, and even FIFA has selected Algorand as its official blockchain platform.

Algorand will be a FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ Regional Supporter in North America and Europe, and a FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023™ Official Sponsor, making it the first blockchain project to sponsor the FIFA World Cup 2022 in the MENA region. With environmentally sustainable technology and some of the world’s largest names building on its blockchain platform, Algorand is the perfect solution to help Dubai reach its goals and become the first city powered by blockchain—the city of the future.