How 9 Middle Eastern countries are jump-starting blockchain development

As blockchain continues to develop, more and more governments in the MENA region are taking on the technology to address national issues ranging central banking to humanitarian aid.

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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 services, enhance security in their central banking systems and even provide a higher level of care for at-risk communities such as refugees.

MENA governments are now setting into place a foundation 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 startups are popping up with innovative blockchain solutions.

Blockchain is a distributed ledger technology (DLT) in which a growing list of records -- blocks -- are timestamped 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 between two or more parties. That's the case, for example, in the food industry or, more generally, in supply chains, where blockchain technology can offer transparency regarding product provenance, its production and distribution.

Within the public sector, a growing number of governments around the world are using blockchain to improve services.

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