On Tuesday 9th May 2017 Smart Dubai announced that it will be designing and building a shared blockchain platform that will underpin the Dubai Blockchain Strategy. The services are planned to go live early next year.
“The Dubai Blockchain Strategy establishes a roadmap for the introduction of blockchain technology for Dubai and the creation of an open platform to share the technology with cities across the globe. The Dubai Blockchain strategy is built on three pillars”:
Paperless digital layer for all city transactions.
Enabling citizens and partners to create new businesses using the technology.
Open blockchain platform for global counterparts to enhance safety, security, convenience for international travellers to Dubai.
With these three pillars in place the strategy is set to save over 25 million economic productivity hours per year and 5.5 billion dirham annually in document processing. Furthermore, blockchain provides a fundamentally different approach to cyber security, which provides us with transparency and a decentralised peer-to-peer system, which maximises the use of shared online services and minimises the threats we face. VentureBeat explains the three main ways blockchain can increase security:
Traditional forms of public key cryptography that secure communications systems rely on centralised, trusted third party certificate authorities (CA). Hackers can compromise these to spoof user identities and crack encrypted communications.
Blockchain overcomes some of these worries. CertCoin removes central authorities and uses blockchain as a distributed ledger of domains and their associated public keys. CertCoin provides a public and auditable Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) that doesn’t have a single point of failure.
Another blockchain company, Pomcor, published a blueprint for a blockchain-based KPI that doesn’t remove central authorities but uses blockchains to store hashes of issued and revoked certificates. This enables users to verify the authenticity of certificates with a decentralised and transparent source. The IOTA’s Tangle overcomes the inefficiencies of current blockchain designs and enables IoT devices to interact and identify each other in a decentralised peer-to-peer system.
Protecting data integrity
The blockchain alternative to document signing, which traditionally is an extremely lengthy and complicated process, replaces secrets with transparency, by distributing evidence across many blockchain nodes and making it virtually impossible to manipulate data without being caught.
Projects such as GuardTime and Gem are helping blockchain technology to verify the integrity of sensitive data, so much so that the U.S. Department of Defence is considering GuardTime’s KSI project to protect sensitive military data.
Protecting critical infrastructure
A blockchain approach to storing Domain Name Services (DNS) could improve security by removing the single target that hackers can attack to compromise the whole system. For example, Nebulis is a project that looks at the concept of a distributed DNS system that will never fail under an excess of requests. A transparent, distributed DNS where domain records are under their owner’s control will make it practically impossible for any entity to manipulate entries.
With the recent ransomware attack, it’s evident that cyber security needs to be given top priority. In an ever more digital world, it’s critical that security is embedded into systems instead of adding security retrospectively, we need to see this attack for what it is - a wake up call. Congratulations to the Dubai Blockchain Strategy for encompassing cyber security into its foundations.