Tamakkan “Smart Cities” on Blockchain

ABU DHABI, UAE – A gathering of UAE based and international cryptocurrency experts advocated the creation of a unified platform to connect developers, business, the government to enhance the adoption of blockchain technology in the UAE. The Tamakkan BrainTrust also articulated the need for greater experimentation and collaboration across government and private entities to unlock blockchain innovation.


The event, hosted at the Beach Rotana Residences, brought together government and private institutional stakeholders as well as academics, who shared insights on the role of blockchain technology and its exciting potential applications.


The “braintrust,” a specialised discussion focused on outcomes, featured Mohammed Mahfoudh Balfaqih, Managing Director of Peninsular Advisory, Rajesh Johnny Co-Founder Oryx Prive Investments, and Hoda al Khzaimi, Director of the Centre of Cybersecurity at New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD), and brought together a diverse group of investors, consultants, regulators and engineers to devise a framework for the UAE.


Balfaqih recommended that government build a private blockchain platform by giving access to citizens and residents to data centers and IT departments in order to experiment with the development of select key products.


“The government can spur the adoption of blockchain technology by introducing simpler regulations and offering incentives, while the private sector can support startups by investing in them and encouraging experimentation,” he added.


The Municipality welcomed open discussion about the challenges and opportunities presented by blockchain technology. Omar al Hashmi, Director at the Abu Dhabi Municipality’s Knowledge Management and Innovation Department said, “blockchain is an exciting technology that will forever change many of the products and services that we use today, and this is why we should bring together stakeholders at government and private sector level to shape the conversation.”


Al Khzaimi, urged the creation of an ecosystem with computing power to ensure that there is adequate mining capabilities, and also the creation of open regulatory labs that bring together governments, industry and academia to build a unique local framework.


Johnny extolled the benefits of blockchain as a valuable tool that can solve many of the world’s challenging problems, describing blockchain as a simple and open source solution that gives trust to the people, removing inefficiencies from processes that are usually slow because they need various approvals or verifications.


Among the industries being disrupted by blockchain are identity management and banking, said Johnny, adding that blockchain is also unlocking much needed venture capital for startups, thereby empowering youth and creating jobs.


“There is a huge pile of data that can use blockchain to link departments, organizations or governments and the user’s information is protected using privacy encryption. The owner has power over the use of his or her data, and can even choose to monetize the technology”, said Johnny.


Sana Bagersh, CEO of BrandMoxie and founder of Tamakkan introduced the concept of ‘braintrust’ as a new forum for vital dialogue and decision-making. “We are pleased to be organizing the Smart Series for the Municipality as a vehicle for smart city transformation. Our aim is to bring together key stakeholders such as government, policy makers, research centers, financial institutions, universities and industry leaders, the media, incubators and accelerators, technology leaders, public organizations and the private sector.”