Dr Aisha Bint Butti Bin Bishr, SDO Director General
The Smart Dubai Office (SDO) is once again partnering with global innovation network Union to organize the second round of the Global Blockchain Challenge, which seeks to source strong and innovative Blockchain start-ups from around the world to contribute to the implementation of the Dubai Blockchain Strategy 2020 which was announced in October 2016 by the Smart Dubai Office and the Dubai Future Foundation with an objective to make Dubai the first Blockchain-powered city by 2020.
The deadline for submissions has been set for March 19, 2018, and selected startups would be announced by April 5. The shortlisted teams will be invited to come to Dubai on May 1 and begin training with Union . The final Blockchain Challenge Presentation and Awarding Ceremony are scheduled to take place on May 3, 2018.
Last year, the 1st round of the Global Blockchain Challenge saw 21 shortlisted startups fly to Dubai from 18 cities from 15 countries including Sweden, United Kingdom, South Korea, Netherlands, Canada, Ukraine, Brazil, New Zealand, Vietnam, Belgium, USA, France, UAE, Italy and South Africa. The submitted ideas spanned blockchain applications in a wide range of topics from energy, real estate, asset management, payments, education, healthcare, and supply chain management to social behavior. Participating start-ups have since had the opportunity to pilot their cutting-edge blockchain solutions in Dubai.
SDO Director General Her Excellency Dr Aisha Bint Butti Bin Bishr said: “Dubai has made great headway in creating a local and thriving industry around blockchain by attracting start-ups and companies from around the world to pilot and implement their ideas in Dubai and become catalysts for the achievement of the Dubai Blockchain Strategy launched by H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council”
“Our main objective at Smart Dubai is not technology itself, but rather its potential to improve people’s lives. Our vision is to build a smart city centered around the happiness of its citizens. Blockchain technology facilitates transactions for people, saving them time and effort, and bringing us closer to making Dubai the smartest and happiest city in the world,” Dr Aisha added.
For his part, H.E. Wesam Lootah, CEO of the Smart Dubai Government Establishment (SDG), noted: “The Global Blockchain Challenge allows us to offer a roadmap to the endless opportunities that this technology can offer, and to give the world a glimpse into the immense potential this technology has to improve human life. Its applications cover such diverse sectors as clean energy, education, financial transactions and commodities, to name but a few.”
“In Dubai, the Blockchain Strategy will not only fully digitise Government operations but will also create thousands of new tech and business opportunities,” H.E. Lootah concluded.
“Opportunities like the Blockchain Challenge open new doors for startups to succeed and for government to bring innovative solutions to its operations. Union has over 12,000 startups on the platform and thousands more in its expansive network,” said Evan Burfield, CEO at Union. “We’re thrilled to be partners for this important challenge and to facilitate the connections between Smart Dubai Office and the entrepreneur ecosystem to find the best ideas for their blockchain strategy.”
Finalists of the Challenge will travel to Dubai to participate in a training programme followed by a pitch competition to an audience of investors, experts, private and public institutions. Three winners will be chosen among the finalists to receive first, second, and third place prize money of $20,000, $15,000 and $10,000, respectively, and the opportunity to implement their product or service in Dubai. This competition further strengthens the collaboration between Smart Dubai and Union, following the December 2016 strategic partnership announcement.
The Dubai Blockchain Strategy revolves around three main pillars: First, increasing government efficiency by transferring 100% of applicable government transactions to the Blockchain; second, creating a blockchain industry and ecosystem and finally, leading globally the thinking and advancement of blockchain technology.
The Smart Dubai Office Global Blockchain Challenge will contribute to the strategy’s industry creation pillar by identifying the most innovative Blockchain ideas from start-ups around the world and bringing them to Dubai to deliver efficient, seamless, safe and impactful city experiences for residents and visitors alike, all the while creating jobs and transforming the labour market.