Dubai has already positioned itself as an attractive destination for the rich and the famous to splurge on exorbitant experiences. There’s now one more way in which you could drop coin on the city’s many decadences: a government-backed cryptocurrency. 

Dubai has put its money where its mouth has been in recent times by announcing the development of its very own digital currency. emCash, as it has been christened, is built on the blockchain and is part of a larger payments system created around it called emWallet. The cryptocurrency and payments system were developed in partnership with EmCredit and Object Tech Grp Ltd. The former is a Dubai economy subsidiary, while the latter is a privacy-focused operation based out of the United Kingdom. 

According to a press release by Dubai Economy, emCash was launched with the primary goal of enabling contactless payments using near field communication (NFC). Residents of the UAE will soon be able to pay for everything from a cup of coffee to school tuition fees using nothing but their phone. Since emWallet is backed by the government, it gives people the option of using either actual dirhams ( the UAE’s currency) or the digital currency, which is now recognized by merchants across the board. 

When payments are made using dirhams, emWallet will follow the standard operating procedure involving intermediaries and possible processing fees. emCash transactions, on the other hand, are carried out directly between the individual making the payment and the merchant. The cost benefits incurred through the elimination of processing fees may be passed on to the user in some cases. Another benefit Dubai Economy expects to see from offering their own digital currency is the reduction in fraudulent transactions. 

emCash was created under the auspices of Dubai Economy Accelerators, a programme that aims to develop modern technological applications to strengthen the existing economy. Dubai Economy has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Object Tech to develop a whole suite of applications that will form the city’s new digital economy ecosystem. They city’s authorities have said that they will obtain the requisite permission from authorities across the UAE to ensure the smooth adoption of emCash. 

The launch of its own cryptocurrency is only one part of Dubai’s bid to becoming a government that’s built on the blockchain. According to the Wall Street Journal, the emirate has its eyes set on carrying out a lion’s share of its transactions using applications built on the blockchain by 2020. An initiative called Smart Dubai was launched to realize that goal. Smart Dubai has been conducting sessions with government as well as private organizations to identify services that could be strengthened by porting them onto the blockchain.

This article was written by one of our guest writers

Author: Prateek Jose

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