IN THIS INTERVIEW, WE SPEAK TO OPENLEDGER’S EXPERTS ON THE VISION, STRATEGY AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR ABU DHABI TO IMPLEMENT BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY AND IMPROVE EMIRATE’S ECONOMY, SOCIAL SERVICES AND BUSINESS IMAGE.
Recognizing the potential impact of the blockchain technology on various industries and services, we couldn’t miss a chance and talk to Alex Timoshenko and Pavel Sivayev, OpenLedger’s experts in blockchain technology, who just returned from Abu Dhabi. The trip was organized to educate more than 20 local authorities and provide insights on blockchain implementation in Abu Dhabi governmental sector.
Let’s get a sneak peek into major insights of this workshop.
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➜ Why do governments today have so much confidence in blockchain and start exploring it? Is there any evidence that this is worth investing time, money and resources into?
Alex Timoshenko: Today, countries compete with each other in enhancing their economies, establishing international reputations and attracting investments in the development of such sectors as finance, tourism, real estate, retail, and logistics. A lot has been done by the governments to embrace the latest technology and digitize this growth.
Unfortunately, rapid growth on different levels brings challenges.
Governments consider blockchain as the solution. Blockchain is the technology that utilizes open distributed databases of transactions involving value. The core feature of its digital backbone allows for secure record keeping where members share and confirm information with no central authority.
Moreover, blockchain-based applications are worth investing time, money and resources because they address institutional weaknesses, such as protection from hacking, bringing transparency, and speeding up the decision-making process.
➜ What are some key use cases or opportunities for Abu Dhabi?
Pavel Sivayev: It’s worth mentioning that blockchain is a win-win solution for both parties: the government and citizens of Abu Dhabi. It doesn’t serve just one party: everyone has an interest in the benefits that blockchain provides.
For the government, it brings trusted relations with citizens, high levels of sensitive data protection, lower costs and higher efficiency.
For the citizens, blockchain saves time and resources, as well as offering real control over personal data.
Alex Timoshenko: OpenLedger’s team sees three key areas for blockchain implementation in Abu Dhabi.
The first one is the usage of the technology for identity applications as information storage and transfer mechanism with numerous use cases. For instance, users could store their identity attestations on a ledger and share them with different service providers using the underlying distributed protocol.
Such blockchain-based Identity systems will have the potential to deliver transparency, privacy and better data protection, faster customer onboarding, lower costs, customized user experience and enhanced compliance — all through a single, trusted and consistent view of customer reference data.
Pavel Sivayev: Freight transportation is another sphere of interest. Blockchain provides a new way to record provenance across complex supply chains, to automate enforcement of agreements by means of smart contracts, and to address other existing challenges. With blockchain in logistics, users can enjoy an improved search, information transparency, seamless management of cash flow and efficient transactions.
Finally, blockchain has the potential to address several challenges in the finance sector — ranging from funds distribution or investments to significant reduction in trade settlement time, increased transparency and traceability with the help of distributed ledger technologies and smart contracts.
➜ What would you say are some of the challenges in implementing blockchain technology on the governmental level?
Pavel Sivayev: Implementing a blockchain technology ideally has three phases: pre-implementation, implementation and post-implementation. Across all three stages, both the government authorities and blockchain development companies face various challenges, ranging from scalability, regulation, and ownership to interoperability and governance.
As the technology is quite new and starts to emerge into different industries, we dedicate a lot of time and efforts to educational activities and collaborate with other players on this market with the aim to find a mutual consensus on how such challenges should be overcome.
Our latest trip to Abu Dhabi for the blockchain workshop dedicated to technology’s opportunities, organized together with Berkeley Research Group, is an example of educational initiatives our team supports and participates.
➜ How OpenLedger’s experience can facilitate the development and implementation process and be useful for Abu Dhabi?
Alex Timoshenko: Our team has already launched several successful projects supported by OpenLedger’s custom blockchain development solutions. This experience was crucial in learning several important lessons on the way to implementing blockchain.
The first and most important thing to do is going through the evaluation criteria checklist to be sure if a project needs a blockchain technology. By fostering this assessment step in the blockchain development workflow, we find opportunities to pioneer innovation and unique development solutions.
The process we stick to looks like this:
As the first step, we define use cases. Then we move to requirements. When it’s done, we run a PoC or Pilot. If successful, we are good to start a full-scale implementation.
➜ What are the key trends in blockchain development on the edge of stepping into 2019?
Pavel Sivayev: Blockchain technology is currently generating almost exuberant enthusiasm among banks, enterprises and public bodies. New initiatives and cooperation agreements on blockchain applications are being announced in the financial press on a near-daily basis.
The major trends of blockchain development in 2019 will be:
- Growing push to identify best business use cases and shift from ‘researching’ to ‘implementing’.
- Critical evaluation of scalability and performance.
- Improvements in privacy.
I do believe there are still lots of opportunities for blockchain in the upcoming year. The trends continue to evolve on a daily basis and it’s important to stay tuned with the latest announcements and make well-informed decisions.
Alex Timoshenko: Participation in the workshop dedicated to blockchain opportunities and challenges in Abu Dhabi was a great chance to share OpenLedger’s expertise, track record of successfully launched projects and vision on blockchain trends in 2019.
Such events lead the way in the country’s initiative toward the adoption of blockchain technology on the governmental level and prove this trend for the net year.