“Blockchain capital” Dubai crowned Smart City of 2017

Judges have named Dubai the Smart City of 2017 thanks to its widespread blockchain deployment and “efforts to lead global thinking”.

A jury picked the United Arab Emirates city as the winner of the seventh edition of the Global Smart City Awards in Barcelona, aimed at recognising “the most outstanding initiatives and projects in the urban innovation and transformation industry.”

Crown prince Sheikh Hamdan launched the Dubai Blockchain Strategy last year. The city aims to have the first “blockchain-powered government” and hopes the decentralised technology, which digitally stores data and records transactions between partners in tamper-proof “blocks”, will bring economic opportunities and cement it as a global technology leader.

The strategy includes three pillars: government efficiency, with all documents such as visa applications and licence renewals becoming paperless, saving millions of tonnes of emissions and work hours; industry creation, enabling people to collaboratively form new businesses; and international leadership, opening the blockchain platform to global counterparts to improve safety, security and convenience for international travellers to Dubai.

The new award reinforces Dubai’s position as the world’s “blockchain capital,” said Smart Dubai, one of the official organisations behind the project.

Other winners at the Barcelona awards included Shenzen in China for its congestion-reducing “Traffic Brain,” and Yanbu in Saudi Arabia for its new fibre network with smart lighting control and improved mobility.