The Smart Dubai Office (SDO), a government initiative to "make Dubai the happiest city on Earth," has launched a "blockchain-powered upgrade" to the Dubai Department of Finance's financial system, according to a September 23 press release.
The new blockchain-powered platform dubbed, generically, the "Payment Reconciliation and Settlement System," was developed in collaboration with the Dubai Department of Finance and is intended to streamline the process of transaction reconciliation by allowing transactions to be completed in real time with minimal human intervention. The system will also reportedly automatically resolve disputes concerning transactions, as well as create transparent and unalterable financial records.
Currently, the Dubai Department of Finance reconciles transactions by manually reviewing invoices, taking the fees required by the department, and transferring the remaining balance to the proper authorities, which can take up to 45 days to complete. Additionally, human error can cause money to be sent to the wrong entity or require the process to be restarted.
The SDO and the finance department hope that government entities such as the Dubai Police, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), and the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) will implement the new blockchain platform into their transaction reconciliation processes. The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) and the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) have reportedly already processed a combined 5 million transactions using the new blockchain platform.
Dr. Aisha Bint Butti Bin Bishr, director general of the Smart Dubai Office, stated:
"Ensuring the success of the 'Payment Reconciliation and Settlement' system requires fostering collaboration and synergy among the various Government entities that have joined – or are planning to join – the system, considering that it calls for each entity to open its data and work hand-in-hand with other departments from across the Government spectrum."
The government of Dubai has taken a number of steps to incorporate blockchain technology into its operations. In October of last year, the Crown Prince of Dubai announced the development of the Block Chain Initiative for Green Charger, which is being overseen by the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority. Around the same time, the Dubai Land Department announced a blockchain project intended to record real estate contracts and lease registrations. And in July of this year, the Dubai International Financial Centre Courts created a task force to investigate how blockchain technology might improve the city's court system.