Residents of Dubai will soon be able to make digital payments for school fees, bills and retail purchases with a digital currency after a partnership was signed with Emcredit, Dubai's credit bureau.
The agreement has been signed with blockchain payment provider Pundi X, Ebooc Fintech & Loyalty Labs, a statement said.
The bespoke Pundi XPOS (point of sale) device created for Ebooc for the exclusive use of emcredit will be dedicated to running a stable, digital equivalent of the UAE dirham, it added.
Further details of the partnership will be announced following the development, testing and approval of the technology by government regulators later this year.
Pundi X said it is shipping thousands of its payments devices to the global retail market, including partners in markets such as Singapore, Brazil, Africa and Korea.
The company said it is targeting a rollout of more than 100,000 of its blockchain-based POS devices to the global retail market by the end of 2021.
Under the emcredit partnership, consumers in Dubai will be able to use the digital currency to make retail payments in-store, pay for government utilities, telecommunication, and school fees in government shopfronts via emcash, Dubai's digital currency launched by emcredit.
The announcement confirms Dubai's status as a global blockchain innovation centre and the first global capital to afford citizens the option to make essential payments on a digital currency.
An emcredit spokesperson said: "We are committed to continuously improving the services we offer to our customers in accordance with the directive of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai.
"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."
Zac Cheah, CEO and co-founder of Pundi X, added: "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. We are very proud to partner with emcredit and to support its vision for supporting its customers through technological innovation."For all the latest tech news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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