Blockchain platform for Sultanate on anvil

Blockchain Solutions & Services (BSS), an initiative of the State General Reserve Fund (SGRF) — a sovereign wealth fund of the Sultanate of Oman — has announced that it is developing the requisite infrastructure to support the nationwide adoption of blockchain — game-changing technology with the potential to radically transform business and society.

The announcement came at the opening of the Blockchain Oman 2018 Conference which began at the Sheraton Oman Hotel yesterday. Organised by BPOS Global, the two-day event is being held under the auspices of Abdullah Salim al Salmi, Executive President of the Capital Market Authority (CMA).
Delivering the keynote address at the event, Dr Khalid MW Tahhan (pictured), Chief Executive Officer, Blockchain Solutions & Services, said the company has been tasked with putting in place the required infrastructure for blockchain adoption in the Sultanate.
Later in comments to journalists, the CEO explained: “What we announced today is that we are in the process of setting up a national blockchain platform on which the national blockchain projects stemming from the (landmark symposium held last November) are going to be developed.”
“Blockchain Solutions and Services is a government entity which will be setting up the required infrastructure for the country, and we are working with multiple government entities for bringing to life blockchain use cases, establish the infrastructure to provide data to the regulators, and so on. We are collaborating with research centres on the research side of things, and will also be utilizing the Blockchain Club to improve the internal capacity of our developers and smart contract developers.”
A product of the first-ever symposium on blockchain technology organised by the government last November, Blockchain Solutions and Services seeks to innovate new unrecognized blockchain use cases for the technology and business models within it, with the aim to self-develop these solutions and services within the country by improving their efficiency and security, said Dr Tahhan.
Dr Salim bin Sultan al Ruzaiqi, CEO — Information Technology Authority (ITA), said the Authority was keen to support the widespread adoption of blockchain by putting in place the necessary optical fibre infrastructure and other relevant networks.
“We believe the ITA, through the implementation of the e-Oman strategy, has created the foundation and technological base to embrace blockchain,” said Dr Al Ruzaiqi. “Over the past years, ITA has laid the foundation for digitally transforming the government, through the technology foundation that has been created to secure the government network, the PKI infrastructure that provides a digital identity for everyone, and the cloud computing platform, all integrated into one platform.” The government, the official stressed, is keen to embrace blockchain as part of its digitization efforts. “It is looking at the technology itself and architecting how it can be adapted in the government and beyond. We have identified a number of blockchain use cases within the government and are actively engaged with their respective stakeholders to frame the required architecture. This paves the way for tailoring pilot solutions for sustainable and productive use,” he noted.
The ITA has commenced work on its own internal blockchain based pilot in areas of contracting — a move aimed at gaining first-hand knowledge and experience in the technology, said Dr Al Ruzaiqi. “We are assessing to what degree the existing technological foundations can be exploited in blockchain deployment,” he noted.
ITA is taking the lead in defining transacting communities, architecting workable solutions in government, and developing trial standards, along with much-needed regulation, while playing a significant role in the standardisation of the technology.