Dubai is developing a new sovereign cryptocurrency called emCash. It is one of the largest governments to date to create its own digital currency
Emcredit, a subsidiary of Dubai Economy, and UK-based Object Tech Group will work together to establish contactless payments. The partnership is part of the Dubai Economy Accelerators umbrella and will entail the development and implementation of emCash, an encrypted cryptocurrency. The new coinage allows UAE residents to make varied payments, from their daily coffee and children’s school fee to utility charges and money transfers, through the near field communication (NFC) option in their phones.
Based on blockchain technology, emCash will be the digital currency in emPay wallet, launched by Emcredit to support contactless payments. With emCash, emPay users will have the option of a secure digital currency, and merchants can receive such payments in real time without going through intermediaries.
“Customers can choose between two payment options on the emPay platform – the existing dirham payment or emCash,” said Emcredit CEO Muna Al Qassab. “While the dirham payment goes through normal settlement procedures, intermediaries and costs, emCash payments are settled directly between the user and merchant. emCash thus gives real-time value movement and merchants can pass the cost benefit to the emCash holder.”
Dubai Economy deputy director general deputy Ali Ibrahim said emCash would give a financial identity to contactless transactions, reinforce Dubai as a competitive business destination, and accelerate Dubai’s evolution into a smart economy.
“A digital currency has varied advantages: faster processing, improved delivery time, and less complexity and cost,” said Ibrahim. “It will change the way people live and do business in Dubai, and mark a giant leap for the city in harnessing game-changing innovations to improve the ease of business and quality of life. We are delighted to have Object Tech as our partner in this initiative and the Dubai Economy Accelerators program. Obtaining the approval of other UAE authorities will be considered if required.”
Object Tech Group director and co-founder Tom Morgan said they are delighted to be working with Emcredit and Dubai Economy on the emCash project.
“This project is a great example of the ambition here; together we are essentially creating a whole new economic ecosystem,” said Morgan. “It will harness blockchain technology to make financial transactions cheaper, faster and more secure while demonstrating the huge advantages of embracing this technology for governments, business and customers alike. This is a key step towards creating a truly connected city.”