ConsenSys, the Brooklyn-based Ethereum development studio has set out a roadmap of blockchain projects in a whitepaper released at the World Government Summit in Dubai.
The paper entitled "Blockchain, Hyperconnectivity, and the City of the Future" is the product of a collaboration between ConsenSys and Vinay Gupta, a technology strategist who was instrumental in the creation of the Dubai Blockchain Strategy and went on to found Hexayurt.Capital, a VC fund dedicated to building the Internet of Agreements™.
Along with a comprehensive analysis of the state of blockchain today, the paper explores how national and municipal governments can leverage the technology to accelerate smart cities and IoT initiatives, improve services like healthcare and transportation, and make strides toward financial inclusion.
The World Government Summit is host to an audience of over 3,000 world leaders, policy makers, international organizations and experts from over 130 countries, the Summit has featured addresses from President Barack Obama and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim. Speakers this year include prominent figures such as Elon Musk, Travis Kalanick and Reid Hoffman.
In 2016, Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, announced ambitious plans for Dubai to become "the first government in the world to execute all its transactions using blockchain technology by 2020". With this unique commitment to leadership in blockchain, Sheikh Mohammed has launched a number of initiatives that make Dubai fertile ground for breakthrough and transformative technologies, including the highly selective Dubai Future Accelerator.
Dubai is becoming blockchain central, with IBM this week announcing a far-reaching import and export tracking blockchain with a number of governmental bodies such as Dubai Customs, Dubai Trade, as well as business partners like Banco Santander.
The Dubai Future Foundation and the Government of Dubai has set up a programme to identify emerging technologies. To move this forward, Dubai Future Accelerator, which saw over 2,000 companies from 73 countries competing for 35 places, was initiated.
ConsenSys was honoured to be one of the companies selected to participate in the first round of the accelerator. Through the program, ConsenSys was paired with Dubai Holding, one of the world's leading sovereign wealth funds. The relationship has produced significant results, which ConsenSys and Dubai Holdings plan to announce in the coming weeks, said a statement.
In November, ConsenSys partnered with the Prime Minister's Office of Dubai to organise Blockchain Virtual GovHack, the largest virtual blockchain hackathon in history with 1011 participants of 41 nationalities working on 131 projects. The hackathon, powered by AngelHack, offered $140,000 in prizes for government technology pioneers with the best ideas for blockchain-enabled solutions to global challenges. ConsenSys founder Joseph Lubin and chief strategy officer Samuel Cassatt served as judges for the hackathon along with others, including executives from IBM and Microsoft, and Dubai government officials. Winners of the hackathon will be announced at the World Government Summit.
ConsenSys has had a strong presence in Dubai since it began participation in the Dubai Future Accelerator, working from the Emirates Tower as part of the program. As the relationship with Dubai deepens, ConsenSys is taking additional office space in Dubai and increasing personnel in the region.
Hessa Essa Buhumaid, Assistant Director General for Government Services and Pioneership at the UAE's Ministry of Cabinet Affairs and The Future, said: "The Blockchain Virtual Gov Hack, which is part of the World GovTechioneers Race, has received a high uptake from across the globe, reflecting the great international interest in developing government work through utilising latest technologies to serve societies. Our partnership with ConsenSys, a leading company in the blockchain space with a strong and growing presence in the region, added a lot of value to the hackathon."
She added: "Global challenges force governments to forecast the future and stay ahead of possible changes. Recognising talent and innovation is crucial for enriching the global knowledge landscape and enhancing the quality of government services."
From Joseph Lubin, founder of ConsenSys: "We are thrilled to see Dubai emerge as a home for fast forward, broad focus blockchain innovation, and are looking forward to ongoing opportunities to work with Dubai government and corporates toward accomplishing many ambitious goals. We are grateful for this outstanding opportunity to demonstrate blockchain use cases for government with focus on increasing quality of life in Dubai, and visibility to promote widespread adoption."