Residents and citizens of Dubai will soon be able to use digital currency for making routine payments, such as utility bills, school fees, etc. The brand new digital asset, dubbed emcash, is an initiative of emcredit, a state-backed subsidiary of the Dubai Department of Economic Development. Emcredit has teamed up with blockchain payment provider Pundi X and its partners Ebooc Fintech & Loyalty Labs LLC to develop the new platform.
A number of Point of Sale (PoS) devices, compatible with emcash, will be installed throughout the city for in-store payments. Pundi X, who will provide the terminals, said it plans to issue 100,000 of its devices globally within the next three years. Emcash will serve as a digital equivalent of dirham, the United Arab Emirates‘ fiat currency.
An emcredit spokesperson claimed that, “To be the world’s first city to offer blockchain-based payment solutions to our residents is an exciting moment for Dubai. It confirms Dubai’s status as an international tech hub. Deploying cutting-edge technology such as blockchain is a key priority and is delivering benefits to our citizens in the form of convenience and securities to customers and merchants across Dubai.“
The payments will not be limited for public services, as a number of non-governmental partners are set to join the platform further down the road. More details on the project will be provided later this year and the technology is scheduled for approval by authorities before the end of 2018 as well.
Zac Cheah, CEO and co-founder of Pundi X added that, “Bringing blockchain-based payments technology into the government sphere is a major development for the technology. But to be able to bring it to one of the great cities of the world and the most advanced economy in the Middle East makes today an historic moment for the real-world application of a technology that has promised so much potential until now.“
Dubai has been at the forefront of blockchain innovation ever since the industry started to emerge into prominence. A couple of weeks ago, Toshi Times reported that the city‘s Department of Finance will be using a blockchain-based system in its operations. Earlier this year, Dubai announced plans to use blockchain in its legal department as well.
Pundi X has been on the receiving end of some negative press back in June after hackers breached the Korean exchange Coinrail and managed to steal 2.6 billion of Pundi (NPXS) tokens. Just a month later, NPXS was a subject of another hacker probe, this time resulting in a loss of 229 million tokens.
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