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DubaiPay, a retail payment platform developed by the Smart Dubai office is integrating blockchain. This addition will allow the portal to settle transactions and enable reconciliation in real-time. The initiative launched on Sunday and dubbed “Payment Reconciliation and Settlement” system, is a collaborative project between the Smart Dubai Office led by the Crown Prince of Dubai and the Dubai Department of Finance (DoF).

In an interview with Gulf News, the Smart Dubai Government’s director of smart services-enablement department Mira Sultan Obaid Abdul Rahman said, the move is to increase the efficiency of the government’s payment system by moving all transactions to the distributed ledger technology. The Department of Finance (DoF) is therefore tasked to control settlements, reconciliations, refunds, disputes, and many other payment-based issues under this new system.

Currently, the DoF activities are a largely manual process, relying on staff members who manually monitor and check all transactions made by different portals reconciling for settlement and taking fees. Altogether, this cumbersome process normally lasts 45 days, however, thanks to this blockchain-powered solution, these hurdles will be no more.

The new blockchain based payment system has already been tested by two government agencies: the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) and the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA). Together, these two agencies have used the system to process over 5 million transactions for their numerous activities.

In addition to its citywide payment initiatives instituted through blockchain, the government of Dubai also envisions a blockchain-based database for all government documents. As part of city authorities’ roadmap to create a better payment and settlement system, the Roads and Transport Authority, Dubai Customs, Dubai Police, Dubai Municipality, and Dubai Airports, as well as many other government agencies will join the ‘Payment Reconciliation and Settlement System’.

The blockchain integration will have an immense impact on the city considering the number of transactions and activities that the DubaiPay application processes. The portal is home to more than 40 bodies, including 14 non-governmental agencies, 27 government agencies, and many other private entities. It has increased in its transaction processing capabilities, collecting $35 million (Dh13 billion) from 9.4 million transactions in 2017, indicating a 17 percent increment over previous years.

The number of transactions processed by the DubaiPay portal, the government agencies that are ready to get on board, and the city’s goals to reduce the 45-day payment and settlement system to a seconds-job, are no doubt proof that the blockchain system would be the best solution for the city.