Overcast skies for Bitcoin, but Blockchain is taking the UAE by storm

June 21, 2018 3:41 pm


Bitcoin is hanging tough despite turbulence in the air and threats of future tempest balanced by promises of fame and fortune for impulsive investors.

Bitcoin, the largest digital coin by market cap, fell from $6,718.35 to $6,561.79 Wednesday after news that the South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb was hacked and $30 million of coins were stolen, said CNBC.

Charlie Lee, the founder of Litecoin, said it was to be expected.

“Whenever there’s an exchange hack, people get scared and the price drops,” Lee told CNBC Wednesday.

“Whenever there’s some bad news like an exchange hack, the prices drop like 5 percent,” he said. “Five percent is a lot in the stock market world, but it’s like nothing in the crypto space.”

Tug-of-War: Will Blockchain bring data ownership back to users?

By Wednesday evening Bitcoin had rebounded to more $6,700, also near prices at publishing time of this article.

Global investors are keeping an eye on Bitcoin and other cryptos as digital currencies plow their way towards becoming legitimate contenders to fiat money.

Blockchain has no such qualms.

It is respected, accepted and expected to run the tables on traditional ledgers where money transactions are safely recorded.

And none more so than the UAE.

Read: A blockchain of events putting the UAE at the core of Crypto tech in 2018 

UAE at the top of the Blockchain

Dubai’s Atlantis, The Palm resort has achieved a hospitality-sector first, with the rollout of a blockchain-based payment system for guests, according to ITP.net.

The resort has deployed the Lucid Pay smart settlement, which will enable guests to pay for services, activities, and amenities at the hotel in a secure and easy fashion.

The new payment system gives guests at Atlantis either a wristband or a digital wallet to charge all their services during their stay.

Details of every transaction are recorded in Lucid Pay so that in the event of any dispute, both parties are able to see exactly what was charged for.

Guests will be able to recharge the wristbands through the wallet application, which is available for iOS and Android, or through charging stations at the resort.

Khaleej Times reported that adopting blockchain technology into hotel systems can help improve a visitor’s experience by allowing them to personalize certain aspects of their stay before they arrive.

“The implementation of the cashless payment system increases the convenience for us as cash is no longer physically handled, audit time is spent more effectively, and greater security is guaranteed,” said Helen Woodard, director of Finance at Atlantis The Palm, Dubai.

 Read: Don’t start the Blockchain revolution without making security a top priority

UAE Blockchain strategy

The Emirates Blockchain Strategy 2021 states that at least half of the UAE’s federal transactions would be powered by blockchain technology by 2021.

The Emirates Blockchain Strategy would help the country save $3 billion spent annually on document transactions and documents.

According to Openaccessgovernment.org, the Smart Dubai Office launched the citywide “Dubai Blockchain Strategy” in October 2016, with the objective of executing all applicable government transactions using blockchain by 2020.

In May 2017, the Smart Dubai Global Blockchain Challenge saw 21 start-ups fly into Dubai from 19 cities – to pitch their best and brightest blockchain ideas – several of which are now being piloted around the city.

Read: Is Blockchain a transformational blockbuster for UAE businesses?

Banking and blockchain

The National Bank of Dubai (NBD), has become the first bank in the region to successfully implement Blockchain technology in a check-issuance system to prevent fraud, local gulf media reported.

“The system works by means of printing a unique Quick Response (QR) code on each check and putting the records on Blockchain. The so-called “Cheque Chain” technology is designed to provide higher authenticity of the issued checks, as well as to the security standards across the UAE banking sector,” local media reported.

An NBD official statement said the bank registered around one million checks on Cheque Chain in the first month of the pilot deployment.

Read: 5 Ways Automakers Can Benefit from the Blockchain-Based System

Bitcar

Luxury car blockchain platform BitCar received significant interest from the UAE during its pre-ICO, according to BitCar executive Sheree Ip.

The company sold $4.96 million in BITCAR tokens in its pre-ICO, which it will now allocate towards purchasing exotic cars for the platform such as Lamborghinis, Bugattis, and Ferraris.

Read: Why is Bahrain suddenly the center of attention for a blockchain of events

Education blockchain

Udacity, the education technology company brought to the region from Silicon Valley, has announced its new Blockchain Nanodegree Program which is accessible online across the GCC, Jordan, and Lebanon.

Registration is open today, with the course starting on 10th of July 2018. With prices starting from AED 3,750 ($1021) per term, the course is available for anyone with internet connection and is an excellent way to learn the basics in blockchain for developers.

“The skill is highly demanded by employers, with blockchain-related jobs being cited by TechCrunch as the second-fasted growing skill in today’s labor market, with salaries to match,” said a company statement.

The company has designed the curriculum in collaboration with working blockchain developers, drawing exclusive insights from some of the leading voices in the blockchain space, including:

-Balaji Srinivasan, CTO of Coinbase

-David Johnston, Chairman of the Board of Factom

-Aaron Brown, VP of Engineering at Madnetworks

-Elena Nadolinski, Solidity Engineer, Co-Creator of Ethmoji.io.

-PK Rasam, Founder and Chief Blockchain Officer at LINCD

Read: New kids on the blockchain still not ready for the digital technology

Regional students will have the opportunity to engage in weekly office hours sessions with a number of highly-skilled individuals, including:

-Adam Gall, Co-founder, CTO, DECENT

-Brian Ho, Software Developer & Course Instructor, Blockchain at Berkeley

-Connor Yanz, Software Engineer, MadHive

-Matt Whittington, Software Developer, Factom

-Parker McCurley, Founder, DECENT

-Tyler Mace, Senior Software Engineer, MadHive

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Hadi Khatib
By Hadi Khatib
Hadi Khatib is a business editor with more than 15 years' experience delivering news and copy of relevance to a wide range of audiences. If newsworthy and actionable, you will find this editor interested in hearing about your sector developments and writing about it.



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