The Dubai Land Department (DLD) has announced that they are one of the first governments to adopt blockchain technology for the management and registration of property.

The DLD is the government agency responsible for the organisation and promotion of the real estate sector in the Middle East and the world. The first-of-its-kind initiative in the global real estate sector is part of a project that aims to see all Dubai government documents on the blockchain by 2020.

In October 2016, His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, crown prince of Dubai and chairman of the board of trustees of Dubai Foundation for the Future, launched the Dubai Blockchain Strategy. This was in collaboration with Smart Dubai and other partners.

An announcement by Dubai’s government media office stated:

“Based on this initiative, DLD will be able to create a blockchain database for all Dubai properties, which will be available to DLD’s customers as well as all of its government and private sector partners. The technology will allow investors residing in Dubai and around the world to verify property data that is backed by timestamp signatures, enhancing the accuracy of data, the credibility of investment transactions, and the transparency and clarity of the market.”

Director general of the DLD, His Excellency Sultan Butti bin Mejren, said that the adoption of the blockchain was aligned to the commitment to make Dubai the ‘smartest city in the world.’

“As the system simplifies people’s lives by using an integrated system, we are working directly with Smart Dubai to provide our customers with utmost satisfaction and avoid wasting their valuable time,” he said. “This is a major step toward cementing Dubai’s position as the world’s smartest city, expanding our online partnerships with all government entities and real estate parties that our customers need to complete their transactions.”

The blockchain is being developed with the Emirates Real Estate Solutions (ERES), the technical arm of the Dubai Land Department, the Emirates Identity Authority, the Dubai Electricity & Water Authority (DEWA), Emirates NBD, one of the largest banking groups in the Middle East, and wasl Asset Management Group, one of the largest real estate developers in Dubai.

Through a smart and secure database, the blockchain records all real estate contracts and lease registrations. It then links this information with the DEWA, the telecommunications system and other related property bills.

This is the latest move by Dubai that illustrates its determination to become the world’s first blockchain city.

Last month, it was reported that two business icons had launched a £250 million bitcoin property venture in Dubai.

Scottish entrepreneur and U.K. Conservative peer Baroness Michelle Mone OBE and Scottish businessman and philanthropist Douglas Barrowman launched an innovative project known as The Knox group. In a first for the industry, it is possible for property to be bought directly from a developer with bitcoin.

Speaking to CoinJournal, Barrowman explained his belief in the long-term possibilities of the digital currency. As such, he wants people to invest in traditional ‘bricks and mortar’ with their cryptocurrency.

“We are enabling people who’ve made very good gains on bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies the opportunity to diversify back into mainstream investments such as bricks and mortar, rather than backing the next ICO or keeping it all in cryptocurrency,” Barrowman said.