Blockchain & Dubai


Dubai is known for being at the forefront of technological innovation. As one of the first governments to engage with blockchain, Dubai’s story is inspirational and can provide a road map to anyone interested in creating smart cities by transforming transactions with the distributed ledger technology. The journey began when blockchain was just a concept, and Dubai is now carrying out a city-wide pilot that will help make it more of a reality.

The government of Dubai has signed a new agreement with UK-based blockchain startup ObjectTech to develop digital passports for entry at Dubai International Airport, the world’s busiest airport by international passenger traffic.

The agreement sees ObjectTech working with Dubai’s Immigration and Visas Department to develop a solution that combines biometric verification with blockchain technology. The goal is to put an end to manual passport verification checks for seamless entry. Or, according to ObjectTech’s announcement, the “world’s first ‘gate-less border’”.

More specifically, the blockchain startup is developing a solution wherein travelers visiting Dubai will be ‘registered into the country using a pre-approved and entirely digitized passport.’

These digital passports will have a wider impact than the airport. Zafar, who directs Consensus Systems’ Middle East and North Africa programming, said that the UAE plans to use blockchain and high-tech tools to create a “seamless experience” for tourists, Emirati citizens and expats alike. “Seamless in terms of your health care, education, buying a property and using technology to enable that,” she said. This could invigorate Dubai’s tech industry by helping foreign-born experts conduct business in Dubai whenever they want.

What will the future bring?

This project as well as others show Dubai’s dedication and drive to create an institutional framework within the region. This will enable Dubai’s leaders to facilitate the expansion of blockchain technology throughout many of their sectors. They are well on their way to making blockchain a reality.