In May of this year, GDA Corporation (GDAC), based in Australia and Dubai International Financial Centre, entered into a partnership with Elrond Network, the European startup building the internet scale blockchain, establishing fast payments and Smart Contract frameworks. UNLOCK interviewed GDAC which has offices in Dubai UAE.
UNLOCK interviewed Ashton Hettiarachi, Partner and CEO at GDAC and Emma-Jane MacKinnon-Lee, also a partner at the firm.
GDAC works with governments and large private organizations in fast growing economies (Middle East, Asia), helping to bring in new emerging technologies, use open innovation to solve large scale problems and work with regulators to create new economic opportunities.
Last year (2019), GDAC was appointed by the Dubai Future Council on Blockchain as the main partner to lead the Dubai Foresight Initiative to create a more Dubai tailored future technology roadmap and the most industry relevant use cases.
The initiative aims to address some of the structural and fundamental challenges and bottlenecks in the region with regards technological adoption and implementation in industries. The GDAC team is working closely across 5 key industries including; transportation, tourism, trade and logistics, real estate and construction and financial services.
According to Emma-Jane, “After being appointed, for the past 8 months, we have worked with over 30 Dubai government bodies and private sector entities, 4 UAE regulators, 30 international companies and 20 domain experts on this initiative. GDAC has been able to identify over 60 Dubai native blockchain use cases and then refined these 60 use cases into 21.”
GDAC has been involved in the UAE since 2019 when they were introduced to Smart Dubai and the Blockchain Council.
Hettiarachi adds, “We played a role with the Dubai Future Accelerators program helping to vet the 7th cohort in 2019.”
Looking further into the work being done by GDAC, this initiative involves producing a comprehensive foresight report on the future of blockchain and other emerging technologies in Dubai’s largest industries. Hettiarachi states, “Here we will pinpoint the biggest technological trends, assess the promise of blockchain and emerging technologies for native Dubai applications and also navigate future cross-industry commercial use case opportunities and action plans for economic growth.”
“We did industry and policy analysis in the financial sectors, transportation, logistics, and sought to understand the political, economic and social forces that effect these different sectors and how new emerging technologies could streamline information flow, improve citizen experience using DLT (Distributed Ledger Technology) or Blockchain.”
Ashton states, “I had lived in Dubai for 10 years and worked on various policies for digital transformation before joining GDAC and working on this project. For three months we looked into organizations such as Emirates Airlines, Amazon, DHL, Careem as well as 16 governmental entities and studied the opportunities for implementing digital payments, 3D printing, Blockchain, AI and refined these use cases.”
When GDAC starts working on implementation, they will have a strong network of technology partners depending on the different sectors and use cases, and this is one of the reasons for partnering withElrond Network and other companies such asQuantstamp. Ashton explains, " Dubai will be announcing four Blockchain use cases in October 2020."
When it comes to Blockchain platforms Ashton believes that it depends on use cases, Ethereum has a strong following and private blockchain for enterprise such as Hyperledger can be used, it all depends on use case.
Ashton believes that Dubai government is mindful about the future and moving forward to building great solutions and this is all dependent on political decision making to resolve any structural challenges present.