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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 15 November 2018

DIFC Courts and Smart Dubai to launch blockchain taskforce

Alliance aims to create the world’s first ‘Blockchain Court’ to verify cross-border rulings

DIFC Courts and Smart Dubai plan to launch a taskforce to explore how blockchain can be used in judicial processes. Sarah Dea / The National
DIFC Courts and Smart Dubai plan to launch a taskforce to explore how blockchain can be used in judicial processes. Sarah Dea / The National

Dubai International Financial Centre Courts, the judiciary of the emirate's financial free zone, will launch a taskforce with "Smart Dubai" to explore potential uses of blockchain in cross-border disputes, the two parties said on Monday.

The alliance aims to create the world’s first "Court of the Blockchain", the parties said in a statement. They will initially aim to explore how blockchain can be used to verify court judgments that need to be enforced in jurisdictions other than DIFC Courts.

“By harnessing blockchain technology, Dubai will be positioned at the forefront of legal-tech and judicial innovation, setting the standards for countries and judiciaries to follow,” said Amna Al Owais, chief executive and registrar of DIFC Courts.

Blockchain is an electronic transaction-processing and archiving system that allows parties to track information in a secure network without the need for third-party verification.

It is the underlying software enabling transactions of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, but it can also be used to track more conventional transactions such as real estate sales and purchases and contract signings. The Dubai Government’s "Blockchain Strategy" seeks to run 100 per cent of applicable government transactions on blockchain by 2020.

Smart Dubai is the government body responsible for developing technology-driven solutions for creating a smarter and more connected city.

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The alliance with DIFC Courts will explore how "smart" contracts between businesses can be signed and sealed using blockchain, enabling more efficient dispute resolution and a clearer, more accurate way of tracking commercial activity and related legal processes.

It is the first step in creating a blockchain-powered judiciary, which the parties say will have far-reaching benefits, including streamlining the judicial process, removing document duplication and driving greater efficiencies across the entire legal ecosystem.

“Future research will combine expertise and resources to investigate handling disputes arising out of private and public blockchains, with regulation and contractual terms encoded within the smart contract,” the statement said.