The 2nd Blockchain Symposium: Integration of Digital Technologies with Blockchain, organized by Oman Blockchain Club, in association with the Communication & Information Research Centre at Sultan Qaboos University was held at the University on 10 December 2018 in the presence of H.E. Dr. Ali bin Saud Al Bimani, the Vice Chancellor of SQU and other dignitaries. Delivering the welcome remarks, H.E. Dr. Hamad Salim Al Rawahi, Chief Executive of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), outlined the general policies and guidelines of TRA and its efforts towards integrating latest digital technologies and electronic services to promote communication, education, healthcare and business in the country.
Blockchain is an emerging technology that can transform businesses, industries and public organizations. Blockchain is a digital ledger technology that cryptographically hashed, authenticated, and maintained through a distributed or a shared network of participants using a group agreement protocol. Oman Blockchain Club members and the organizers of the Blockchain Symposium articulated the view that Blockchain allows peers to peer exchange of money directly without the need for a traditional financial intermediary or a third party, with lower cost and high-speed transactions. “Blockchain is a technology that transfers all kinds of information contents faster, traceable, and in secured ways, and portable and adaptable to different types of applications and technologies. Services such as property transfers, the execution of contracts, authentication services, network and device management, records management and supply chain management, could transform supply chains and governmental functions, including central banking, all above can use and benefit from the Blockchain”.
The organizers said that adoption of Blockchain technology in Oman could influence positively in several ways. “Adopting such technology will lead us in Oman to be a pioneer in the region. Blockchain is an enabling technology that lead Oman to achieve efficient operations through optimizing the current services of emerging applications such as identity management, data management as well as supply chain management. Therefore, it is essential to analyze these technologies critically to learn lessons from international best practices that benefits Oman”, they said.
The Blockchain Club has already participated in development of local capacities via specialized trainings at an international level on Blockchain use-cases and platforms for developing (Coding) applications. The Club trained so far more than 100 locals as professional programmers of Blockchain applications, whom may become in the near future the national industry for developing this kind of future digital technologies. The Club’s specialized training programs are still on going. The Club continually is exploring other future digital technologies that can be integrated with Blockchain, such as Internet of Things (IoT’s), Big-data and Artificial Intelligence (AI).
The Symposium aims to outline the technologies that can be adopted, intergraded an emerged with the Blockchain. The symposium also focuses on the potential applications for Oman and will allude the governance’s policy and regulatory framework required to empower such technologies in a safe and secure manner. During the event, a video on Blockchain: Current Achievements & Future Prospective in Oman was screened. Keynote speaker Justin Smith, Technical Architect of Swisscom Blockchain, spoke about “Challenges, Opportunities & Impacts of Blockchain technology”. Shivansan Macilamani moderated the panel discussion on “Rapid development of Blockchain technology and impacts on economies”.