Next year's Expo 2020 will be held in Dubai.  You may have already seen the TV advert featuring Will.i.am announcing this news to the entire world.  The last time the UK hosted it, London was the venue in 1851 and it became known as the 'Great Exhibition'. Since Dubai never does things in half measures, Dubai Expo 2020 is expected to be spectacular.

One of the events taking place during the Expo 2020, is the World Blockchain Conference.  You may have heard of one Blockchain application, Cryptocurrencies (Bitcoin being one).  It has the potential for far more applications.  In brief terms, Blockchain allows for the storage of digital data in a set sequence, whilst preventing unauthorised tampering or alteration.  It provides a reliable history, if you like, of a sequence of historical transactions, processes, events and documents. 

The accountancy community is seriously looking into its application to accounts and auditing; and some judicial courts were even looking into making use of Blockchain to file legal documents with those courts.

For many governments in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries and the wider Middle East, this technology has the potential for transforming their citizens' lives and boosting their economies.  This is because these countries often have numerous government reporting, filing and documentary legal obligations in place for people residing in those there (such as commercial contract registration with relevant government ministry).

To comply, it can be time consuming, costly and open to misuse.  Blockchain has the potential of reducing these substantially.  This is why, for example, Dubai is very seriously looking into Blockchain technology, to compliment its Dubai Smart City initiative.

As you can imagine, Blockchain technology is very new and the law needs time to catch up and there are issues with complying with current legal obligations when implementing this technology.  As always, we would advice taking legal advice early on, to make sure you are doing things correctly and not breaching the law.

Carbon's lawyers are on hand to help so ff you'd like to chat about this in more detail please drop me a line faris.dean@carbonlawpartners.com.