Saudi Arabia is determined to reap the benefits of Blockchain

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JEDDAH — Blockchain is neither a company nor an application but is a new technology that will complement the Internet, according to Reham Baseddiq, Ateon’s marketing manager.

The BlockChain, as its name implies, is a series of interconnected blocks. Each block is a group of transactions; encrypted and represented by a hash; which is a long series of digits and letters. Each block contains its hash and the hash of the previous block. Therefore, forgery is impossible.

The Blockchain is a network of so called computing nodes. Together they create a powerful second-level network, a wholly different vision for how the internet can function. Every node is an “administrator” of the Blockchain, and joins the network voluntarily

By allowing digital information to be distributed but not copied, Blockchain technology created the backbone of a new type of internet. “The Blockchain is an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value.” Don & Alex Tapscott, authors Blockchain Revolution (2016)

“Not only is Blockchain disrupting the financial sector, but will completely reshape all businesses,” claimed Dr. Nabil Al Jamal, a real estate development pioneer and early investor in Blockchain companies in the region.

An interesting development in this space is that the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia are joining forces to explore the possibility of creating a digital currency that will allow for cross border transactions. The countries realize that Blockchain has the potential to bring on a fundamental shift in the way business transactions are carried out in future.

Realizing the need for better understanding of the potentially disruptive technology for local stakeholders; Ateon, a member of Alhamrani Group of Companies in Saudi Arabia, ran a weeklong Blockchain roadshow in Riyadh and Jeddah recently. The roadshow was attended by over 60 senior executives from the financial, insurance, government, and the private sector.

Ateon’s roadshow was the right platform for such engaging discussions. Technical presentations were made by recognized Blockchain experts from Ateon’s partners; SettleMint, a Belgium-based software company with rich experience in developing Blockchain applications for financial institutions, and Sofitto, a Belgium-based leader in Blockchain last-mile payment space, and Shocard, a US-based Blockchain identity management solutions leader.

Kashif Younus, Ateon’s business development manager claimed that Ateon is the first Blockchain systems integrator in Saudi Arabia and among the first few in the region. Ateon is working on use cases for loyalty, land registry, patient records management, student records management, KYC-as-a-Service, VAT, Zakah, and payments settlement.

Dr. Hussam Yaghi, president of Ateon, believes that adopting Blockchain solutions will be inevitable and is just a matter of time before it is adopted. He believes that the Blockchain has a huge potential for saving time and cost for the public and private sectors.

Ateon is a member of Alhamrani Group, which was established in 1957. It has strategic partnerships with some of the most recognized Blockchain companies; such as SettleMint, Shocard, Sofitto, and EduChain. — SG


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