Game changers come to Dubai

Dubai’s global leadership in blockchain extends well beyond rolling out the technology in government services.


The Smart Dubai Office is also supporting blockchain innovation around the world, giving start-ups on the cutting edge the chance to pilot and implement their projects in Dubai.

Sun Exchange uses blockchain technology

The SDO’s flagship initiative for start-ups is the global Blockchain Challenge, which is pushing the boundaries of what is possible with blockchain. In 2017, The Sun Exchange from South Africa was awarded first place in the competition, winning $20,000, while runner up Vancouver-based Educhain won $15,000.

As its name suggests, The Sun Exchange is rolling out a business model that allows people to own solar power assets remotely, receiving their rental income securely thanks to blockchain. In Dubai, The Sun Exchange has begun working with the Dubai Solar Schools organization to provide solar power in schools and universities across the Emirate, at no upfront cost to the institutions.

The Sun Exchange’s solar energy system meet the energy needs of the Stellenbosch Waldorf School, South Africa

As in South Africa, individuals buy the solar panels and then lease them to The Sun Exchange, which then pays them lease payments based on the electric production of their solar panels. “With blockchain, we are able to increase the accessibility and inclusivity of solar ownership,” founder and CEO Abraham Cambridge says. “We are making solar mainstream.”

Fellow winner Educhain is also focused on Dubai’s education sector. At the end of 2017, the start-up launched the world’s largest pilot of blockchain technology in education, covering more than 400,000 students from primary schools to graduate institutions.

Educhain leverages blockchain to integrate the seamless exchange of digital documents and records

The project will use Educhain’s blockchain records platform to make it easy for students to exchange their academic records digitally and securely when transferring schools or applying for universities and jobs. “We are proud to launch this global pilot as one of the first practical implementations of blockchain technology,” says Mark Balovnev, CEO of Educhain. “We aim to use Dubai as our launchpad for expansion into the wider region.”

Building on the success of the 2017 event, the 2018 Global Blockchain Challenge is now in its final stages, with the award ceremony set for the beginning of May.

“Blockchain will revolutionize how we issue, manage, and share digital records.”
Mark Balovnev, CEO, Educhain

“We have made great headway in creating a local and thriving industry around blockchain by attracting start-ups and companies from around the world to pilot and implement their ideas in Dubai,” explains SDO director general Dr Aisha. “Blockchain is bringing us closer to our goal of making Dubai the smartest and happiest city in the world”full_stop

As published in TIME magazine