Home / Archive / Dubai Government Greenlights Citywide Blockchain Payments System

Dubai Government Greenlights Citywide Blockchain Payments System

Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:55 PM
Samburaj Das
Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:55 PM

The Smart Dubai Office, a government-backed initiative led by the Crown Prince of Dubai has partnered a FinTech specialist firm to implement a citywide payments platform based on blockchain technology.

The government initiative has entered a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with FinTech consulting and development firm Avanza Solutions, signed in the presence of Hamdan bin Mohammed, the hereditary Prince to the crown of Dubai.

Announced  by Avanza quietly last week, the sweeping citywide project planned by the Smart Dubai Office will see a rollout of the blockchain payments platform to all existing 38 partner government entities, financial institutions and other departments in the city of Dubai.

Avanza’s proprietary blockchain ‘Cipher’ is the chosen platform selected by the smart city initiative. Cipher was picked for a pilot project under the Dubai Future Accelerators program earlier in February this year. The pilot, launched in collaboration with Dubai’s largest bank Emirates NBD and the Dubai Smart Government, proved successful. Emirates NBD has notably conducted blockchain-based international remittance trails with an Indian partner last year.

A notable excerpt from Avanza’s announcement reads:

Smart Dubai Office plans to roll out Cipher across all its existing 38 partner government entities, partner financial institutions and Departments to set up the first blockchain based building block within its financial plumbing.

Details from Cipher’s webpage reveals the platform’s adaptability to both public and permissioned blockchain networks with the implementation of smart contracts through the open-source HyperLedger & public blockchain Ethereum platforms. IBM’s Bluemix and Microsoft’s Azure BaaS are also listed.

A blockchain payments platform for the city of Dubai takes shape with a MoU. Credit: Avanza

Dr. Aisha Butti bin Bishr, director general of Smart Dubai stated:

I am 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.

Dubai’s ongoing blockchain agenda first took shape with the launch of ‘Dubai Blockchain Strategy’, a comprehensive initiative that began with the plan to transfer and maintain all documents of the Dubai government on a blockchain by the year 2020.


The initiative will be helped by the Dubai Future Foundation in formulating its strategies, while the Smart Dubai Office executes the directive – of which the citywide blockchain payments platform is one. Another prominent example of the blockchain directive sees Dubai’s government partnering technology giant IBM to develop a blockchain platform for trade finance, to streamline efficiency with its status as one of the world’s major trading hubs.

Dubai’s foray into blockchain solutions and research began with the launch of the ‘Global Blockchain Council’ in early 2016, led by the Dubai government’s Future Foundation.

Featured image from Shutterstock.