Beyond bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, the future of blockchain in Qatar may lie not only in the banking and finance sectors but also in supply chain-intensive industries such as oil and gas or in facilities management, an expert said.
“I don’t think there’s a strong future for cryptocurrencies here right now, given the Qatar Central Bank notice issued this year. But I do see a really good use cases for the blockchain in other arenas,” said Nick Gorman, co-founder of the Gulf Blockchain Foundation.
Gorman said the bitcoin network has been around “for over nine years,” and “is the most famous” use case for blockchain. He noted that it is “one of the most secure networks in the history of IT and computer,” making it “appealing to things like asset management and cybersecurity.”
Blockchain, Gorman explained, is a digital ledger, which keeps an immutable record of events. In most cases, it is open source, hence anybody can develop and build on existing chains.
The ledgers are shared, so maintainers of a network each have a copy of the activity. According to Gorman, this makes blockchain good for personal identity management, property ownership and transfers, and vehicle asset maintenance registries, among other uses.
“But the best use case that we’ve seen for Qatar is strategic asset management. It’s managing things like hospitals, schools, and making sure roads and bridges are maintained – these types of activities could be recorded in a blockchain,” Gorman told Gulf Times in an interview.
In the liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry, Gorman said, using blockchain would help prevent illegal manipulation or systems tampering, and other forms of cybercrimes.
“In a traditional, centralised database, if someone wanted to hijack or manipulate the content, they would go into the record, edit it and no one would ever know. But if the system was on a blockchain, not only would it be incredibly fast and cheap to operate, it is incredibly secure – it is the ultimate cybersecurity tool.
“All the supply chain-intensive industries are great use cases, as well as management of big infrastructure, whether in hospitality or agriculture or any other asset-intensive industry,” Gorman pointed out.
He added: “Another good use case is the Qatar residence permit system. If someone comes here, is involved in criminal activity and it’s recorded in a blockchain, it’s there forever; it can never be erased.”
“In the private sector, we see international remittance systems having a strong future once Qatar relaxes legislation surrounding cryptocurrencies; there are so many expats here who are sending money home. Using blockchain would be instantaneous and almost zero fees.”
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