Posted on

‘Smart Dubai’ Initiative Receives a Boost as DAG Platform Comes On Board

As Dubai’s government aims to propel the largest number of blockchain use cases in the world, a DAG platform offering smart city infrastructure has come on board.

A DAG blockchain platform that can operate as the IT infrastructure for smart cities has announced a partnership with the private office of Sheikh Saeed bin Ahmed Al Maktoum — paving the way for an operational presence in Dubai.

The Fantom Foundation says its protocol is designed to operate as the information technology infrastructure for smart cities that will make the lives of people living in urban areas easier — enhancing everything from health care and education to traffic management and environmental sustainability.

Recently, the Unites Arab Emirates unveiled its “Smart Dubai” initiative, which aims to make the metropolis a world leader by becoming the “first city fully powered by blockchain by 2021.” This massive undertaking involves embracing the technology for as many government services as possible. The Smart Dubai initiative was founded following the vision of Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to collaborate with the private and government sectors.

The partnership, formalized at a signing ceremony in Dubai, follows Fantom’s initial trip to the city back in April. Now, the company will be given the opportunity to offer its technology and services across multiple industries in the public and private sector.

Hisham Al Gurg, CEO of Private Office, said of Fantom: “Given their extensive experience in technology R&D and working with partners, we look forward to seeing how this will significantly benefit the Smart Dubai initiative strategy.”

Ashton Hettiarachi, Fantom’s head of innovation lab, was equally enthusiastic and said the company looked forward to helping Dubai “create new economic opportunities and deliver a better user experience for UAE residents.”

Fantom is available here

Tackling blockchain’s shortcomings

Fantom says its ambition has been to create an open-source, scalable platform that paves the way for new, highly reliable infrastructure with real-time transactions and data sharing. The company argues that many existing blockchain solutions have limitations that prevent them from being embraced in real life with broad applicability — not least because of slow confirmation times and high transaction fees.

The team notes that blockchain-powered smart cities will require data sharing in real time across diverse use cases to provide greater efficiency while also creating new economic opportunity. 

Future objectives

While Fantom plans to offer its foundation’s expertise to smart city initiatives across the globe, it is currently focus on the UAE because of the sheer number of opportunities there are in the region, and how proactive and supporting the government is toward blockchain adoption. That said, the company is planning to form new teams and hire fresh talent to help its technology to be adopted. 

In other developments, a BEP2 variant of Fantom’s FTM token, was recently listed on Binance’s decentralized exchange. The foundation said the milestone reflects its drive to “bring value to the wider blockchain industry, instead of focusing purely on our own ecosystem and networks.”

Meanwhile, in July, Fantom became a member of the Government Blockchain Association (GBA) — an international nonprofit — representing them in Australia. The organization hopes this role will act as a bridge between governments and industry as smart city solutions are explored in further detail.

When the announcement was made public, Hettiarachi said: “We are super excited to join GBA as it will open doors not only to connect with various government bodies to understand their challenges, this will be an amazing opportunity for Fantom to create new economies, deliver better user experience for people and make a change in people’s lives.”

Learn more about Fantom

Disclaimer. Cointelegraph does not endorse any content or product on this page. While we aim at providing you all important information that we could obtain, readers should do their own research before taking any actions related to the company and carry full responsibility for their decisions, nor this article can be considered as an investment advice.

Posted on

Latin America’s Biggest Investment Bank to Sell $1 Billion in STOs Using Tezos

São Paulo-based BTG Pactual bank has teamed up with Dalma Capital to sell over $1 billion worth of STOs through the Tezos blockchain.

Latin America’s biggest investment bank, BTG Pactual, plans to shift its security token offerings (STOs), a pipeline of over $1 billion in sales, onto the Tezos blockchain. The announcement appeared in a joint press release published on Tezos Foundation’s website on July 3.

The new initiative is a collaboration between BTG Pactual and Dubai-based asset manager Dalma Capital, who plan to tokenize a number of traditional assets using the Tezos blockchain and smart contracts platform. 

According to the announcement, Dalma Capital is planning to use the Tezos blockchain for digitizing assets in multiple industries, including real estate, equity, lending, as well as global sports clubs. Meanwhile, BTG Pactual intends to boost its expertise in tokenization, which includes the ongoing ReitBZ (RBZ) STO, based on Ethereum (ETH) blockchain.

BTG Pactual’s ReitBZ token is backed by distressed real estate assets in Brazil and aims to enable the bank to provide real estate services to international investors at lower costs than traditional methods. 

Andre Portilho, BTG’s Partner responsible for the STO project, said that the bank will continue to use the Ethereum protocol, while it also sees Tezos as a “global player with a robust blockchain for asset tokenization.”

Tim Draper, an early Tezos investor and known bitcoin (BTC) bull, encouraged BTG Pactual and Dalma Capital’s new initiative in the press release, expressing confidence that Tezos has a “strong use case for security tokens.”

Recently, members of the community around Tezos have expressed concerns over an alleged upcoming hard fork of its blockchain. At press time, Tezos (XTZ) is ranked 21th largest cryptocurrency by market cap, which is around $830 million, according to Coin360.

On July 1, Huobi Group announced a joint initiative to develop a new public blockchain for  decentralized financial (DeFi) services, expecting it to host STOs, as well a other means of asset issuance.

Posted on

Dubai Real Estate Department Signs MoU With Telecoms Firm to Implement Blockchain

The agreement, which relates to real estate blockchain technology, aims to make Dubai “the smartest city in the world.”

The Dubai Land Department (DLD) and telecoms firm Etisalat have signed a memorandum of understanding concerning real estate blockchain technology, United Arab Emirates-based outlet Gulf Today reported on June 10.

The DLD works under the Executive Council of Dubai in real estate-related services, while Etisalat is a multinational, Emirati firm that serves 15 countries in the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

Both parties have said they aim to implement smart government standards and introduce paperless management and digital contracts for property transactions.

Sultan Butti Bin Mejren, DLD’s director general, said the agreement is part of an ambition to make Dubai “the smartest city in the world.”

Gulf Today notes that the MoU has the goal of improving registration and verification processes, speeding up transactions while keeping all parties involved safe.

As reported by Cointelegraph, a blockchain platform built by one of the United Arab Emirates’ two telecoms operators was officially endorsed by the government back in April.

Last month, the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA) released a report detailing several blockchain use cases relevant to the real estate industry. The reported stated that the technology has the potential to make land registries trustless, increase transparency and make it easier to transfer properties.

In April, two major British banks, Barclays and the Royal Bank of Scotland, joined a blockchain trial designed to streamline real estate purchases.

Posted on

Dubai Government and UAE Bank Unveil Blockchain-Based Mortgage Platform

The Dubai Land Department has partnered with Mashreq Bank to release a blockchain-based platform for recording and updating mortgage transactions.

The Dubai Land Department (DLD), the real estate arm of the Executive Council of Dubai, has partnered with UAE-based Mashreq Bank to release a blockchain-based mortgage platform, according to a report by The National on May 28.

According to the report, the blockchain-based platform will act as a repository for mortgage records, as well as a way to confirm that the mortgages comply with registration policies. Additionally, the platform will accommodate on-going updates that occur after a property sale, such as recording liquidation and payment defaults or changes to the mortgages.

The new blockchain platform is part of the DLD’s efforts to streamline their services. As per the report, DLD Director General Sultan Butti Bin Mejren said:

“The development and launch of the new e-mortgage system comes as part of our ongoing efforts to enhance automation applications and systems in our transactions to reduce paper transactions and the number of visits.”

The DLD reportedly launched another blockchain-based system last year, the Real Estate Self Transaction system which is purportedly also designed to digitize documents for paper transactions and streamline the brokerage process, which includes connecting tenants and landlords to billers for utility services.

As previously reported by Cointelegraph, Smart Dubai, the technology arm of the government, publicly endorsed a blockchain platform released by telecoms company Du. The blockchain-platform-as-a-service (BPaas) reportedly supports cloud-based private blockchain hosting that is compatible with Ethereum and Hyperledger Fabric.

Posted on

$325 Million Bitcoin-Accepting Real Estate Project in Dubai Pauses Operations

The Aston Plaza in Dubai, a major bitcoin-related real estate project, is reportedly pausing its operations.

The Aston Plaza in Dubai, a major bitcoin (BTC) real estate project, is reportedly pausing its operations, British daily news agency The Times reports on April 28.

The $325 million project — developed by founder of the Ultimo lingerie brand Michelle Mone and her billionaire partner Douglas Barrowman back in 2017 —  includes 1,300 luxury apartments, with at least 150 units planned to be sold in bitcoin.

Touted as the first major development of this size to be available for purchase in cryptocurrency, the Aston Plaza initially offered $130,000-priced studios, about 15 BTC as of February 2018, as well as two-bedroom apartments for $380,000, worth around 45 bitcoins. As previously reported by Cointelegraph, the entrepreneurs sold 50 apartments for bitcoin as of February 2018.

According to the Aston Plaza website, the venture now offers studios as well as one- and two-bedroom apartments starting at 9 BTC; however, the website notes that price is pegged to the United States dollar exchange rate for bitcoin as of Jan. 8, 2018, making 9 BTC equal to around $147,000.

As previously reported by CNBC, the project was originally scheduled to be completed by September 2019.

However, citing government inspectors who visited the site in January of last year, The Times reports that construction of the venture has stopped. As presented on the project’s website, 25% of the project has been constructed to date, with over 400 apartments already sold.

Mone had previously founded another crypto-related initiative known as Equi Capital, according to tech news outlet The Next Web. The Equi project — with reported involvement from Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak — was initially set for launch as an initial coin offering (ICO). Following a $7 million pre-sale, the ICO was eventually cancelled, with refunds issued to investors due to loss of interest and failure to make targets.

In February of this year, the UAE’s largest real estate development firm, Emaar Properties, has officially denied reports that it enabled crypto payments for property.

Posted on

Smart Dubai Endorses Blockchain Platform From Major Local Telecoms Operator

The platform has received the seal of approval from Smart Dubai, the government organization in charge of transforming state-level services by 2021.

The blockchain platform built by one of the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) two telecoms operators has received an official endorsement from the government as part of the country’s blockchain integration, executives confirmed in a press release on April 3.

Du, formerly known officially as Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company, created its Blockchain-Platform-as-a-Service (BPaas) to offer cloud-based private blockchain hosting compatible with both Ethereum (ETH) and the Hyperledger Fabric.

Now, the platform has received the seal of approval from Smart Dubai, the government organization in charge of transforming state-level services with the leveraging of disruptive technologies by 2021.

“The Dubai blockchain agenda is an integral strategy for the city’s future and we are proud to be a key enabler for the digitisation of the government,” Farid Faraidooni, du’s deputy CEO of enterprise solutions, commented in the press release. He added:

“By building on top of our BPaaS to support the country’s digital transformation, our blockchain endorsement by the Smart Dubai Office is an important step towards providing smart solutions that create efficiencies for government transactions leading up to 2021.”

The announcement comes the same week as the UAE hosts a dedicated conference on blockchain’s role in the aviation industry. Last month, a similar conference addressed cryptocurrency more directly, with authorities hinting at the need for supportive regulation of the phenomenon.

Smart Dubai, meanwhile, also aims to implement advances such as Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) as part of its roadmap.

“The city of Dubai has pioneered blockchain from the onset and continues to be a global leader in providing new and improved ways to implement and set the future roadmap for the evolution of this ground-breaking technology,” Smart Dubai CEO Wesam Lootah added.

Cointelegraph has previously provided a comprehensive summary of Dubai’s blockchain plans.

Posted on

Dubai Real Estate Giant Emaar to Launch ETH Token, Considers ICO in Europe

Dubai-based real estate giant Emaar will launch an ERC-20 token developed by Swiss blockchain startup Lykke.

Dubai-based real estate giant Emaar has announced plans to launch a token and is considering holding an initial coin offering (ICO) in Europe, English-language local media Arabian Business reports on March 11.

Per the article, the token will be developed by Swiss blockchain startup Lykke, and will grant Emaar’s customers and stakeholders access to the referral and loyalty system across the entire company. Emaar is the largest real estate company in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), responsible for the Burj Khalifa, Dubai Fountain, Dubai Mall and Dubai Opera.

According to its Wikipedia page, Emaar Properties boasts a revenue of $5.83 billion and has been valued at $9.7 billion as of June last year. Moreover, according to Arabian Business, Emaar’s revenue grew by 37 percent last year to $7 billion.

The article further notes that Emaar will also consider holding an ICO in Europe within a year of the internal operational launch of the platform. The startup developing the token, Lykke, will reportedly comply with the ERC-20 standard and release it on the Ethereum (ETH) blockchain.

Maud Simon, global head of human resources at Lykke, confirmed the plans to Cointelegraph.

As Cointelegraph reported in February, Emaar Properties has officially denied reports that it enabled crypto payments for property.

Also in February, the County Auditors’ Association of Ohio announced the formation of a working group to study the use of blockchain for the effective transfer of property deeds.

Posted on

Advisory Council of UAE Banks Federation Considers Adoption of Blockchain in Banks

The Advisory Council of the United Arab Emirates Banks Federation discussed applying blockchain in its member banks to improve KYC processes.

The Advisory Council of the United Arab Emirates Banks Federation (UBF) discussed applying blockchain in its member banks, according to the Dubai-based English language newspaper Gulf News on Dec. 17.

The Advisory Council of UBF, a non-profit organization representing 50 member banks in the country, considered using blockchain to improve Know Your Customer (KYC) processes at entrant banks. UBF’s chairman, Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, claimed that the discussed initiative represents an effort to create and maintain a “thriving banking ecosystem.”

Participants also discussed issues pertaining to the country’s national digital transformation program and Emiratization — a government employment initiative to place its citizens in roles in the public and private sectors.

Aref Al Ramli, chairperson of UBF’s Digital Banking Committee, presented a blockchain-based study that explores the benefits of digitizing various processes within member banks via distributed ledger technology (DLT). The study has outlined a number of blockchain applications by banking institutions, including cross-border payments, compliance reporting, customer onboarding, and others.

Al Ghurair said that emerging technologies are “continuing to shape customer needs and expectations,” putting banking industry participants “at the forefront of innovations.” He also claimed that new technologies like blockchain can assist banks in creating new revenue streams, “which will in turn drive sustained business growth.”

In late November, the governmental AI and Blockchain Joint Working Group hosted an annual meeting that concluded with the launch of two initiatives intending to boost blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI) development. At the meeting, participants considered strategies to attract foreign investments and build a necessary infrastructure by using AI and blockchain.

Also in November, Abu Dhabi-based Al Hilal Bank announced it completed “the world’s first sukuk transaction” based on blockchain technology. Sukuk, a legal tool that is known as “sharia compliant” bonds, allows investors to generate returns in compliance with Islamic law.