The era of blockchain being linked exclusively with digital currencies and financial transactions is well behind us. The technology has evolved in the past decade, and today, it underpins anything from gaming and social media applications to healthcare and supply chain management. Government and enterprise applications running on blockchain have taken longer than most other sectors, but in the recent past, the adoption has been aggressive, and it’s proving to be a game-changer.
At the heart of the blockchain revolution in public and enterprise sectors is the one advantage that blockchain has over any other technology—it builds trust.
Blockchain gives the users certainty in their transactions through its tamper-resistant, immutable, public ledger. It leads to trust in the system, a critical factor for any technology that’s to be integrated into high-stakes environments like the public service or multi-billion dollar enterprises.
Kenneth Arrow, the renowned economist who won a Nobel Prize once, said that “virtually every commercial transaction has within itself an element of trust, certainly any transaction conducted over a period of time.” Also, according to him, trustworthiness in any environment lowers the transaction costs, and with blockchain, trustworthiness is at its highest.
With this trust as the baseline, blockchain technology has been making its way into several governments’ networks, with most trying out their hand with proofs of concept while a few, especially in the Middle East, have advanced much further.
One of the considerations before any government implements blockchain is its pseudonymous nature. In the public sector, users’ identities must be verified, which has sparked the rise of digital IDs through which users can seamlessly navigate the digital world. These IDs have become one of the primary applications of blockchain networks in many countries. As Saeed Mohammed Ali Alhebsi told CoinGeek Backstage, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is already using blockchain-based digital IDs, making plastic ID cards a thing of the past and allowing easier verification when accessing government services.
“No need to carry your driving license, now you have one unique identification based on blockchain technology that includes all your information—your driving license, healthcare information, your national ID etc.” Alhebsi told CoinGeek Backstage.
Internet of Things and smart cities
The Internet of Things (IoT) has become one of the emerging technologies that many believe will define the future. IoT goes beyond smart devices communicating among themselves autonomously and includes related aspects such as automated nano and micropayments, smart cities, and more.
This is yet another sector in which blockchain has proven to be not just useful but virtually critical. For one, autonomous micropayments between devices need a blockchain network that’s fast and charges meager fees like the BSV blockchain does. Such payments could include things like a wallet attached to your car being charged automatically for parking and toll fees without your involvement.
Aside from the payments, IoT devices generate massive amounts of data, and this data needs a ledger that can record and store it in an immutable nature. According to the International Data Corporation, IoT devices will produce as much as 73.1 ZB (zettabytes) of data by 2025, with the number of IoT devices expected to hit 25 billion by 2030.
A centralized network would run into a bottleneck validating transactions for all these devices. Furthermore, such a system would be easy to attack for any skilled hacker. Blockchain solves all this, making the IoT ecosystem not only faster and more robust but also much more secure as it has no single point of weakness.
Smart cities are another sector which blockchain is perfectly suited for. The technology can facilitate peer-to-peer energy production and consumption, allowing these cities to boost smart energy. Mobility is yet another aspect that blockchain could greatly improve. In combination with smart IoT devices, a blockchain system can offer secure real-time tracking of the transport channels and the passengers, allowing the administration to react accordingly.
Smart cities will also require digital administration services, and blockchain, through smart contracts and digital IDs, will offer this.
The Middle East is one of the regions that’s leading the development of smart cities. Masdar City in Abu Dhabi is a perfect example. It was built from scratch through partnerships between the UAE government, private companies, and even the local universities. Mobility, recreation, education, and even energy are all offered through optimized digital systems.
And while Masdar may be further ahead as a smart city, it’s Dubai that’s leading the integration of blockchain technology. The shopping paradise aims to be the first in the world to be fully powered by blockchain, and it’s well on its way there.
With this and other blockchain developments taking place in Dubai, the city is ideal for hosting the biggest Bitcoin conference this year. On May 24-26, the Bitcoin and blockchain world will converge in the city for the BSV Global Blockchain Convention. The event will see Dr. Craig Wright lead a long line of distinguished creators and founders, developers, government officials, and venture capitalists who will take the stage to talk about the future of Bitcoin. Grab your tickets and secure your spot in Dubai for this year’s most eagerly-awaited digital currency and blockchain event.