The government of Dubai has revealed details of its own blockchain-powered digital currency, called emCash.
According to a press release, the Dubai government will develop and implement emCash, an encrypted digital currency that will be used to pay for government and non-government services in Dubai city. The emCash cryptocurrency will be developed by emCredit, a subsidiary of Dubai Economy, in partnership with UK-based blockchain firm Object Tech Group. Dubai Economy is the government-backed development agency responsible for planning and implementing the economic agenda of the Dubai Emirate.
Dubai Cryptocurrency to be Used for Digital Payments
Built on the latest blockchain technology, emCash will be the digital currency in the emPay wallet which allows UAE residents to make diverse contactless payments, ranging from school fees to utility and money transfers, through near field communication (NFC) option on their mobile phones. Users will access their emCash through the emPay wallet. With Dubai cryptocurrency, emPay users will have the option to use the secure cryptocurrency, and merchants will receive their payments in real time without going through intermediaries.
Ali Ibrahim, deputy director general of Dubai Economy, said that the launch of emCash would give a financial identity to contactless transactions and help reinforce Dubai as a competitive business destination:
“A digital currency has varied advantages – faster processing, improved delivery time, and less complexity and cost. It will change the way people live and do business in Dubai, and mark a giant leap for the city in harnessing game-changing innovations to improve the ease of business and quality of life.”
To help accelerate the adoption of emCash, a point of sale (POS) device has been created by blockchain payment firm Pundi X in partnership with ebooc Fintech & Loyalty Labs. The device, dubbed Pundi X POS, is designed to allow Dubai residents to make essential payments such as government utilities, telecommunication, and school fees and retail purchases by using emCash.
Dubai’s Blockchain Strategy
The government of Dubai is aiming to become the world’s first blockchain-powered government. By 2020, the emirate wants all bill payments, visa applications and license renewals to be transacted digitally using blockchain. Indeed, the government’s “Blockchain Strategy” initiative will see, among other efforts, the launch of 20 blockchain solutions to complement its existing operations. Dubai’s government has already partnered with Object Tech to bring blockchain-based security at Dubai International airport and develop digital passports to eliminate manual check. Earlier this year, the Smart Dubai Office teamed up with a FinTech firm to develop a citywide blockchain development system that aims to connect all existing 38 partner government entities as well as financial institutions and other city departments over the blockchain.
Furthermore, in an attempt to transform how court judgments are validated, the Dubai International Financial Center Courts launched a blockchain-powered judiciary system to help verify court judgments and share documents in real-time. This particular initiative would significantly improve the effectiveness of the legal system by simplifying the judicial process and eliminating document duplications.
By developing its own cryptocurrency, emCash, Dubai hopes to attract FinTech companies to the region and establish itself as a leader in the blockchain space. For now, emCash is still being tested and waiting for full approval from local government and regulators.