UAE – The UNLOCK Blockchain Forum which commenced at Ritz Carlton Hotel DIFC and will continue until January 15 has proven once again that Dubai is a vanguard when it comes to attracting innovative experts, blockchain start-ups, and forward looking attendees.
Al-Iktissad Wal Aamal, the organisers of UNLOCK Blockchain received more than 60 blockchain start-ups from more than 39 countries, as well as more than 40 prominent expert speakers, and more than 500 participants.
Dr. Aisha Bint Buti Bin Bisher, Director General of Smart Dubai, the office driving Dubai’s city-wide transformation delivered keynote speech stating, “While others were still debating the prospects of this new technology, we got to work. We are making Dubai the blockchain capital of the world, we have 20 public sector Blockchain use cases and it’s only the beginning”.
“Dubai took the forward-thinking approach and broke ground on the bold Dubai Blockchain Strategy, and by supporting events such as the UNLOCK Blockchain Forum, we are building a platform to share our learnings and prepare Dubai, and the world, for the future of Blockchain.” HE added.
Walid Abou Zaki, executive director, Al Iktissad Wal Aamal stated, “When I first heard the word blockchain I knew it was a game changer, and we at Iktissad Wal Aamal endeavour to learn and understand our topics in-depth because we see ourselves as more than just event organisers. We are proud today to say that our efforts have met with success not only in terms of quantity but quality of participation and the content being discussed. We believe that the next step in the right direction will entail creating the right regulations for Initial Crowd Funding ICOs as this will attract serious blockchain start-ups as well as position Dubai uniquely.”
Ramez Dandan, National Technology Officer, Microsoft Gulf stated, “Investment in blockchain, across the GCC and beyond, is ramping up at an impressive rate, as organisations recognise it for disruptive digital transformation technology that it is. Microsoft’s participation in UNLOCK follows its commitment in February 2016 to Dubai Future Foundation’s Global Blockchain Council because we strongly believe in the technology’s immense potential for enterprises of all scales and industries. It allows them to share business processes with suppliers, customers and partners, leading to new opportunities for multi-party collaboration and, eventually, exciting new business models.”
The afternoon sessions at UNLOCK saw two tracks. Panel discussions centered on Blockchain and the utilities sector.. Mahmoud Abu Fadda, senior specialist Innovation and Future at DEWA talked about DEWA’s future plans to create electric vehicles charging using Blockchain.
The panel session Dubai the next Blockchain startup valley, witnessed an announcement by Ralf Glabischnig, Managing Partner, Inacta; Partner, Lakeside Partners; Co- Founder of Crypto Valley Labs, Switzerland for intention to open Crypo Valley labs for Blockchain start-ups and entrepeneurs in Dubai.
In parallel sessions, startups were showcasing how they successfully built Blockchain solutions to solve the problems the societies and economies of today were facing. Blockchain startups ranging from Malaysia, UK, Russia, and even Estonia were among speakers in these sessions. Some prominent startups included Naked Technologies, Credits, threefold, Acorn Collective and Echarge. Other startups sessions centered on what Blockchain was doing for healthcare sector. Curecoin, medicalchain, and Etheal were some of the startups presenting.
Day One ended with Bussmann speech that stressed on how one can stay ahead of the digital disruption curve. As he stated, “The central business logic of today is being replaced by smart contracts. First Blockchain movers are focusing on selective & existing cases into production with the highest benefit impact. The convergence of emerging technologies will blur the lines between industries in a highly connected real-time world.”