Blockchain for land registry bolsters UAE's digital services initiatives

Abu Dhabi's new blockchain deployment aims to increase security while decreasing the processing time related to land registry related transactions.

Abu Dhabi's Department of Urban Planning and Municipalities (DPM) has launched a blockchain application for the land registry, aiming to increase transparency and traceability of records and security, while ensuring that data can be easily archived.

The DPM has teamed up with Tech Mahindra, the Indian business processing outsourcing company, to roll out the application.

“This is the beginning of many more [blockchain] services that we plan to roll out during the course of the year," said Ahmad Abdolsamad AlHammadi, chief information officer at the Abu Dhabi Municipality, in a press release.

AlHammadi said that the blockchain application would store all property-related documents in the blockchain, thereby decreasing the processing time related to land registry related transactions -- a service that should benefit citizens as well as multiple entities such as property developers and banks. The announcement is one of many this week in the UAE, in line with the Emirates Blockchain Strategy 2021, which mandates that 50% of all government transactions will migrate to the blockchain in two years. 

According to the Worldwide Semiannual Blockchain Spending Guide by IDC, governments and enterprises in the MENA region are looking toward blockchain technology to help run large-scale, data-driven projects with more transparency and efficiency. The report predicted that by 2021, the regional expenditure on the blockchain would reach $307 million. A similar report by Strategy& predicted that by 2024, the regional market potential for blockchain would be worth $3.2 billion, compared to $96 billion worldwide.

Meanwhile, in the UAE, Dubai intends to have achieved the plans laid out in the Dubai Blockchain Strategy by 2020, with the aim of being the first city with public works services fully powered by blockchain. This week alone, the Department of Economic Development in Dubai announced the decision to use a blockchain-powered unified business registry platform (UBRP) in order to simplify the business registry in Dubai and facilitate license issuers to administer trade licenses and corporate registries.

At the FinTech sessions during GITEX Technology Week 2019, industry sources told CIO Middle East that public utility-style blockchains are those which are expected to deliver the most value to society. GITEX attendees said they hoped that government entities had addressed security and privacy concerns at the design stage. 

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.

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