How 8 Middle Eastern countries are jump-starting blockchain development

Governments in the MENA region are increasingly looking to blockchain to address issues ranging financial services to public administration record keeping, and working with private companies and global vendors to do so.

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Though blockchain technology is arguably in its nascent stages across most of the Middle East, governments in the region are beginning to leverage the technology to streamline public administration, bolster financial services and optimise business processes.

Middle East and North African (MENA) governments are continuing to develop foundations of legislation for blockchain-based projects, most notably outlining policy for blockchain-based financial and contractual transactions. With the support of governments across the region, banks are developing blockchain-powered exchange systems and blockchain start-up are popping up with innovative blockchain solutions.

Blockchain is a distributed ledger technology (DLT) in which a growing list of records, or blocks, are time-stamped and linked using cryptography. The peer-to-peer (P2P) nature of blockchain allows data to be stored globally on thousands of servers, making it almost impossible to tamper with.

Although blockchain first became known as the underlying technology for bitcoin, its applications go beyond cryptocurrency, particularly within markets that require transactional trust or personal privacy between two or more parties. For example, blockchain-based healthcare tools have been widely relied on during the COVID-19 pandemic, as blockchain can maintain the personal privacy inherent to healthcare data while providing the speed, efficiency, and accuracy in data transference crucial to supporting vulnerable populations.

Within the public sector, a growing number of governments around the world are using blockchain to improve services and meet the rapidly changing needs of their citizens.

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