Joint backing from the Smart Dubai Office and Avanza Solutions has resulted in a new payments platform to be rolled out in the city

A new payments platform based on blockchain technology is being introduced in the city of Dubai.

The announcement was made by FinTech consulting and development firm, Avanza Solutions, and is partnered by government-backed initiative, the Smart Dubai Office. The two entered a Memorandum of Understanding, which was signed in the presence of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, the hereditary Prince to the Crown of Dubai.

Avanza said that the selected platform for this is Cipher, a proprietary blockchain. Cipher will be rolled out across all of Smart Dubai Office’s existing 38 partner government entities, partner financial institutions and departments in order to set up the first blockchain-based building block within its financial plumbing.

The decision to use Cipher follows in the wake of a successful trial project in February 2017. The pilot project (launched in collaboration with Dubai’s biggest bank Emirates NBD and the Dubai Smart Government) was under the Dubai Future Accelerators program.

Avanza says that through Cipher, it has delivered an “immutable, agile and instant reconciliation and settlement platform to the Smart Dubai Office for DubaiPay payment platform”. By implementing smart contracts through the open-source HyperLedger and public blockchain Ethereum platforms, Cipher has the capability of adapting to both public and permissioned blockchain networks.

Dr. Aisha Butti bin Bishr, director general of Smart Dubai said that she was confident with Avanza’s expertise in payment solutions: “Combined with their Cipher blockchain platform, they will support the Smart Dubai Office with technology that not only bridges current gaps but also becomes a vital piece in Smart Dubai’s roadmap for payment processes in the near future.”

The city’s blockchain agenda has been shaped by the introduction of the Dubai Blockchain Strategy. What this initiative will do will transfer and maintain all of the Dubai government’s documents on a blockchain by the year 2020. In addition, technology company IBM and the Dubai government will be developing a blockchain platform for trade finance. This development has been introduced to streamline efficiency with its status as one of the world’s key trading hubs.