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Smart Cities and Blockchain: Four Countries Where Artificial Intelligence and Distributed Ledger Technology Coexist

Have you ever heard of smart cities where traffic, public services and document circulation are totally automated? Smart city means the integration of big data and the Internet of things (IoT) to optimize the efficiency of urban processes and services that connect with people. An example of this innovation is the light sensors that help save electricity and reduce the cost of road maintenance.



The future is here

It is estimated that by 2020, there will be 600 smart cities worldwide, and 5 years later, almost 60% of the world’s GDP will come from there. Digital technology can become the engine for economic progress, and blockchain, obviously, could be a part of that.

Imagine how far we can go if the following creative innovations are unified. What aspects of a city will be run by IoT and blockchain in the next ten years? Driverless cars and trains can run in cities and do not need the coordination of humans. Products are not broken, sellers do not raise prices and medical cards do not disappear. Is it a utopia? Absolutely not.

You might be surprised to know that somewhere, the ‘smart future’ is being built right now. And it’s not just a cryptocurrency or a payment service, but the fact that all city processes are controlled by blockchain. These are cities of the future, and they are gradually being built.


The United Arab Emirates

Today, Dubai is considered one of the most progressive digital cities in the world. With driverless trains, automatic sensors, flying taxis, solar panels and wifi benches, it probably owns everything that a person in the future longs for. The Emirates authorities do not stop at what has been achieved and are implementing the most innovative ideas to turn the city into the first smart city based on blockchain in 2020.

Blockchain will also be applied in logistics and storage of goods. This helps create the entire intelligent driverless truck system to transport products or materials.



It is interesting to know that blockchain was used in Estonia before it was focused for development, and even before Satoshi Nakamoto invented Bitcoin. They say the improvement was due to the 2007 cyber attack, when – at one point – government services websites were offline because of serious DDoS attacks. This made Estonia reconsider its perception of data security and took an initial approach to blockchain.

Since 2012, ledgers have been used in Estonia’s national health, judicial, legislative, security and commercial systems. The technology was not only limited to testing but was accepted widely. In particular, the Estonian government introduced blockchain to people and allow them to access to this system, in order to control personal data. Therefore, Estonians can control, view and, if necessary, gain access whenever they want. Moreover, people have the opportunity to check how medical professionals or public officials are reviewing their health cards, insurance or driver licenses. Any official who accesses their personal data without permission can be prosecuted.



Chinese authorities plan to create 1,000 smart cities, where the technologies and data collected will improve the lives of every resident (according to Deloitte reports). In January 2013, the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development officially announced the list of the first national smart cities, in which the technology was referred to as “a sector that needs to be strengthened and encouraged.”

The first city of the future could be Yinchuan, where traditional forms of payment were abandoned. Now, instead of tickets, passes and documents, everything is recognizable through the face. Shopping is no longer a burden when you just place an order through a mobile application.

In April 2017, Wuzhen Think Tank published an article discussing the development of the blockchain industry in China. The article introduces trends in the global and domestic blockchain industry, providing valuable knowledge to research institutions and related businesses. A few months later, the National Commission of Experts in the field of Internet financial security technology announced the principles of blockchain compliance.

At the moment, the Chinese government is researching blockchain with more orderly stored data. The National Audit Office of China discussed the use of this technology to solve existing problems in centralized storage infrastructure.

This is official recognition for the beginning of a new digital era in China, creating great momentum for the development of blockchain technology. And again, like in Estonia, blockchain has become a solution to security. In 2014, one of Hong Kong’s largest banks, Standard Chartered, lost nearly $ 200 million due to credit fraud. The crook used duplicate invoices for the same goods to receive money from the bank. In order to prevent financial fraud such as Standard Chartered, the Chinese Government along with a government agency in Singapore used blockchain and developed a unique cryptographic string for each invoice. Companies are required to have an electronic ledger, which stores invoices using the platform along with blockchain – the technology used in Bitcoin transactions. This ensures that there will be no double operations and banks cannot lend money with fake invoices.



Blockchain technology in the US is more than just a tool to operate cryptocurrencies or manage databases. Local governments recognized the potential of blockchain in providing public services and are implementing a number of projects.

The state of Delaware was the first to announce the Delaware Blockchain Initiative in 2016. This comprehensive program, initiated by Jack Markell, is designed to stimulate the use and development of blockchain technology and smart contracts in both the private and public sectors in the state. It should be noted that the authorities have officially recognised electronic transactions in blockchains as verified data, blockchain transactions have been legalised in the accounting profession and other business records for local companies. This initiative is considered an important step in preventing problems arising from taxation and future recording operations.

In 2017, the state of Illinois announced the “Illinois Blockchain Initiative,” which calls for associations of state agencies to cooperate in exploring innovations in ledger technology. State authorities also intend to promote the use of blockchain “to transform public and private services, redefine the relationship between government and citizens about data sharing, transparency and trust, making the leading contributions to the US in digital transformation.”

Not only Artificial Intelligence is changing the way we live, but it is also making huge changes to our jobs. The future of the workforce is what CEOs are concerning about in the context of the fast development of modern technologies. In general, many countries around the world have embarked on the path of the digital economy and sooner or later, we will see the social, economic and environmental changes.

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