Dubai wants to become a world leader in blockchain technology and has gone ahead with major initiatives including to use it for all government documents by 2020.

Jojo Puthuparampil is a business news writer for Inc. Arabia.

UAE-based blockchain startup ArabianChain has raised Dhs3 million ($817,000) from Arabian Bugshan board member and House of Invention International vice president Ahmad Abdullah Bugshan.

The firm has developed a public and decentralized platform for contracts using Bitcoin database technology blockchain.

The funds will help the firm sign on more government and private sector clients, said Mohammed Alsehli, founder and CEO of ArabianChain.

The firm has operations in Saudi and Kuwait, in addition to the UAE.

Dubai wants to become a world leader in blockchain technology and has gone ahead with major initiatives including to use it for all government documents by 2020.

In March, Smart Dubai, a government-run entity, partnered with IBM and ConsenSys for a plan to implement Bitcoin database technology blockchain.

In February, National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) became the first bank in the Middle East and North Africa to introduce real time, cross-border payments on the blockchain.

The bank formed a partnership with Ripple, a US startup specializing in blockchain technology. Through the alliance, NBAD will enable customers to cut the cost and speed of payments.

In October, the UAE’s largest lender, Emirates NBD, said it was working with Indian bank ICICI on a pilot project to use blockchain technology for global remittances and trade finance.

Blockchain works as an electronic transaction-processing and record-keeping system. It allows parties to track information through a secure network, with no need for third-party verification.

Using math and cryptographic tools, blockchain technology helps create an open and decentralized database of transactions, monetary or otherwise.

This creates a record whose authenticity can be verified by everyone involved in the transaction, effectively allowing institutions like banks to cut transaction cost and time.

The technology also allows trading parties to track information via a secure network, without the requirement for any third party verification.