The Arab world has finally begun to pick momentum and accept Blockchain technology as an innovative reality. We’ve recently published a report from Dubai, where in a PR stunt of the decade, a real estate company called Aston Plaza Crypto has partnered with BitPay to sell property for Bitcoin in Dubai’s Science Park, a district 20 minutes away from downtown Dubai.
Here in Dubai, we sat down with Talal Tabbaa from Jordan, who is one of the co-founders of Jibrel.
Initially, the founders of Jibrel (Victor Mezrin, Talal Tabbaa and Yazan Barghouthi) were developing a Blockchain remittance solution for migrant workers working in the Arabian gulf to send money home, but misconceptions, regulatory issues and the volatility of Bitcoin and Ethereum didn’t jive well with the regional market.
“Cryptocurrencies provided the most efficient method of transferring value, but weren’t the best store of value,” explains Talal.
Having discovered and bought Bitcoin in the early 2010s, I initially had a hard time convincing my peers in the Middle East about the benefits of the underlying technology. Even harder was finding a way to buy Bitcoin if you lived in a region where people at the time were predominantly underbanked and dealt almost strictly with cash transactions.
Any discussion with those who worked in the financial industry ended up with hyperbolic accusations of Bitcoin being a currency for sex-trafficking on the deep web, and Blockchain being nothing more than a vaporware hype.
Today, I ironically see that the Middle Eastern Blockchain ecosystem is a completely different story. The same people working in the financial sector that joked about Blockchain being a fad are now propping it as the future of finance.
For example, Dubai’s endeavor to become the world’s first Blockchain city has picked up serious momentum halfway through 2017, and as with everything else “Dubai,” the UAE city-state is doing it in the flashiest way possible.
The usually quiet – but actively running – developers behind the decentralized cloud storage, Sia, have just released their most stable version yet: Sia v1.0.3.
David Vorick, the lead developer behind the project and Nebulous Labs co-founder, has been working on the project along with a small team of developers since 2014. He describes the main difference between Sia and conventional cloud storage services such as Google Drive and Dropbox in the fact that “companies like Google have openly admitted to doing things like scanning all of your emails. Beyond the abusive privacy policies of corporations, all of that data sitting in one place is a juicy target for attackers. In a single compromise, an attacker was able to get nude photographs of a massive number of celebrities.”