Dubai’s Future Blockchain Summit to unlock multibillion dollar opportunities

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In line with the Dubai Blockchain Strategy, announced by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, crown prince of Dubai and chairman of The Executive Council, which mandates that Dubai becomes the world’s first-ever government to execute all applicable transactions using blockchain technology by 2020, the first official Dubai government-hosted event, the inaugural Future Blockchain Summit, was announced Tuesday.

Taking place from May 2-3 at the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), the summit is officially hosted by Smart Dubai Office, the entity recognized as the global first-mover in blockchain adoption, in partnership with Dubai World Trade Centre. Designed to be the world’s most influential and creative blockchain event, the summit brings together over 7,000 chiefs of industry and visionary technologists from around the world to accelerate blockchain application in Dubai and beyond. Focused on moving beyond technical feasibility and theories, this rich conference with over 70 sessions dives deep into real-world applications, creating opportunities and catalysing adoption across a range of sectors — retail and ecommerce, creative economy, healthcare, transportation, education, food, hospitality and tourism, energy, fintech and banking as well as safety and security.

The two-day event will also include the world’s first Global Leaders Exchange program, closed door sessions gathering senior government blockchain champions and C-Level industry enablers resulting in a white paper report; a free to the public, experiential exhibition set to showcase pilot projects and innovative advancements from over 60 government and private organizations and; the grand finale of the Smart Dubai Blockchain Challenge, a startup pitch competition for blockchain-powered entrepreneurs. Further, the event will offer complimentary workshops, such as Blockchain 101, designed to demystify blockchain technology.

Dr. Aisha bint Butti bin Bishr, director general, Smart Dubai Office said: “Blockchain has immense untapped potential for many different industries; ranging from healthcare to transportation to energy. Dubai is the global leader in committing to adopt this transformational technology to ultimately improve the lives and happiness of its citizens. Beyond this, Dubai is also acting as a pioneering catalyst and collaboration platform to innovations in blockchain technology and its application. The Smart Dubai Office is extremely proud to host the Future Blockchain Summit and we look forward to the world coming to Dubai to showcase latest advancements, build strategic global partnerships and develop a deeper understanding of this powerful tool.”

The flagship event will host over 60 speakers, with over 50 percent making their regional debut, including blockchain entrepreneurs and tech world headliners Imogen Heap, 2x Grammy Winner and Founder of Mycelia, an experimental music distribution platform using blockchain-based technology and Dr. Larry Sanger, co-founder of Wikipedia and CIO, Everipedia, a Wikipedia 2.0 built on the blockchain. Other blockchain game-changers include Brian Behlendorf, executive director of Hyperledger, a globally renowned figure in the open-source movement run by the Linux Foundation as well as a host of early adopters from the United Nations, Toyota, Vodafone, the European Parliament, DHL and Bank of America among others.

Dubai is a global hub for cutting-edge technology, and its blockchain-powered initiatives have made the international technology community take note. According to IDC, spending on Blockchain in the Middle East and Africa will double this year to $80.8 million, up from $38.9 million spent in 2017. By 2020, the global market for digital transactions will amount to $9.5 billion, and the global investment in blockchain technology is poised to reach the $300 billion.

Through the Dubai Blockchain Strategy, the city aims to eliminate 100 million annual paper transactions, saving $1.5 billion annually in document processing alone. The strategy is in collaboration with the Smart Dubai Office and the Dubai Future Foundation.

Wesam Lootah, CEO, Smart Dubai Government said: “Dubai has taken great strides in experimenting with the application of the blockchain technology across various government functions to establish the world’s first blockchain-powered city. Smart Dubai is pleased to host this exciting Summit, at the helm of global blockchain adoption, bringing brilliant international industry leaders and innovators to our city who will play a pivotal role in discussions on blockchain implementation across different sectors.”

The first city-hosted event of its kind, Future Blockchain Summit is the gateway to the world's most advanced blockchain government and a business platform for government, industry leaders and tech start-ups. A truly international blockchain event, Future Blockchain Summit has already attracted over 40 percent of its participants from outside of the UAE.

Trixie LohMirmand, senior vice president, Exhibitions & Events Management, DWTC said: “As the first city-hosted blockchain event, the Future Blockchain Summit is a must-attend platform for the best in innovation and creativity.

With an unprecedented line up of first time projects, and speakers making their regional debut, this event will elevate Dubai’s position as a global knowledge hub for blockchain technology. It will help unlock multi-million dollar opportunities not only for Dubai, but for international blockchain innovators. We are pleased to partner with Smart Dubai on this exciting, strategic, initiative event that will shape the industry.”

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette.

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