United Arab Emirates
Today, Dubai is considered one of the most digitally progressive cities in the world. With unmanned trains, automated sensors, flying taxis, solar panels, and Wi-Fi benches, perhaps it has everything that an avid futurist needs. The authorities of the Emirates are not stopping at what has already been reached and are actively implementing the most innovative ideas in order to turn the city into the first blockchain-based smart megapolis by 2020.
In terms of the number of projects being implemented, including those where blockchain is used by Google, Uber, Amazon, IBM and other corporate giants, Dubai ranks first in the world, thanks to the government-supported Smart City program. The Smart City program, launched in 2014, involves the phased implementation of more than 545 projects that will change the way residents and visitors of Dubai interact with the city. The local authorities plan to create a paperless digital space in the private and public sectors. All document circulation will be conducted in electronic form, and launching a business will become more simplified for citizens.
In particular, a pilot program is being developed to track, ship and deliver imported and exported goods using blockchain technology. The main idea of its integration into the foreign trade of the city is to create a single safe and transparent platform. The implementation of a blockchain system into the urban structure is projected to save about $1.5 billion and 25.1 million man-hours due to increased efficiency in the processing of documents, which is supposed to set government institutions free from queues.
Blockchain will be also applied in logistics and storage. This will help create an entire system of smart unmanned trucks for the transport of products or materials.
It would interesting to know that blockchain was used in Estonia before it became mainstream, and even before Satoshi Nakamoto invented Bitcoin.
They say that the reason for such progress was the cyber attack of 2007, when — at one point — the websites of state services and the government went offline because of heavy DDoS attacks. This caused Estonia to reconsider its attitude toward data security and reach out to what we are now calling blockchain.
Since 2012, distributed ledgers have been used in Estonia’s national health, judicial, legislative, security and commercial systems. The technology has already gone beyond the scope of experimentation and has reached mass adoption. In particular, the Estonian government has introduced blockchain to provide its citizens access to control their personal data. Due to this, Estonians can control, view and, if necessary, challenge illegal access to their information. Moreover, from now on, citizens have the opportunity to check medical specialists or civil servants who looked through their medical card, insurance or driver’s license. Any official who accesses personal data without permission can be prosecuted.
The government seems to be sensitive to its citizens data security and integrity. Perhaps it’s one of the remedies the value of which is hard to underestimate, not only in terms of comfort, but also in terms of preventing irreparable consequences, such as the tragedy in Haiti in 2010, when an earthquake destroyed the archives containing land records, leaving residents having to challenge their real estate ownership.