Earlier this month, the largest bank in Dubai, Emirates NBD, unveiled plans to integrate blockchain technology into its checks as it launched an initiative that has been referred to as “Cheque Chain.” The project involves adding printed Quick Response (QR) codes to the bank’s checks, with each code eventually registered on the Emirates NBD blockchain to strengthen authenticity and reduce fraud. As the bank’s Group Chief Operating Officer Abdulla Qassem observed at the time:
“Cheque Chain will bring an added layer of security to our cheque clearing system, and ensure that each cheque issued will be verified under the bank’s system with its own unique QR code providing significant improvement in cheque security.”
The initiative is just one of the latest bits of blockchain news to come out of Dubai, of course, as the city is now in its third month of a government-directed drive to incorporate digital ledger technology into virtually every area of the city’s operations. That effort is led by the Smart Dubai government office charged with managing innovation, and has seen Dubai form partnerships with IBM and Consensys to help facilitate the city’s adoption of the technology.
Smart Dubai plans to fully integrate blockchain technology into the government’s systems, and will eventually place all government and public documents on the city's very own ledger system. According to Smart Dubai director general Alsha Bin Bishr, the goal is to “make Dubai the first blockchain-powered government in the world by 2020.”
Of course, the adoption of blockchain technology is but part of the story of Dubai’s drive to create the smart city of the future. Other recent projects include efforts to create infrastructure guidelines that other cities can adopt, integrated data systems, sustainable living plans, enhanced facial recognition systems, and a “smart WiFi” system.
Oh, and one more thing...
Robot police. Yes, that’s an actual thing now. Trade Arabia recently reported that the Dubai Police have a new member on the force - a robot equipped with the latest interactive technologies, including emotion sensors that enable it to assess human moods and expressions to ensure that it responds appropriately while interacting with the public, its own facial recognition system, and more.
Apparently, the future really is now.