In April this year, the Communications Regulatory Authority of Qatar ("CRA") published its National Blueprint paper, which sets out a several recommendations for implementing blockchain technology across several private and public sectors. The CRA has now set out an open invitation for comments on the Blueprint here: Public Consultation on National Blockchain Blueprint (cra.gov.qa).

A sample of its recommendations:

  • Establishing pilot projects with the cooperation of authorities across a variety of sectors. We have seen this in the UAE, with pilots being explored at the Dubai Land Department, the RTA and Smart Dubai. Schemes such as these are necessary when introducing fundamental architectural changes to public services. The CRA will undoubtedly be encouraged by the success of existing pilots across the Middle East, and we expect solid cross-sector uptake.
  • That funding programmes for businesses and start ups are defined, and an environment that encourages blockchain initiatives is nurtured. These programmes appear to include engagement from a number of government limbs, including the Qatar Development Bank and Qatar Foundation. It remains to be seen what level of funding might be available or how it might be obtained.
  • Opening a regional data centre to assist in achieving the CRA's goals of providing public cloud services and a test network for blockchain projects. Interestingly, after its Dubai launch in 2019, Microsoft then opened its Azure centre. It is unclear at present whether further government backed projects will be opened.
  • To accelerate blockchain upskilling and education by introducing not only vocational training schemes with the assistance of the Ministry of Communications and IT, but also to introduce blockchain courses into high school and undergraduate programmes.
  • To introduce distributed ledger technology into government services such as identification, voting, and transparent taxation. These services may deploy similar mechanisms to those explored in the UAE National Program for Artificial Intelligence's Blockchain Guide in relation to ID and healthcare.
  • As with the Dubai Land Department's pilot, to transfer property contracts to the blockchain. The Blueprint also suggests that these transactions could be carried out in cryptocurrency. Whilst this is far from the norm globally, there is precedent in the region. Even larger developers such as DAMAC are offering property for sale in Bitcoin and Ether.

The invitation for comments has been extended to anyone with an interest in the project. It expires on 15 September 2022.

“The National Blockchain Blueprint highlights how blockchain technology can contribute to building an innovative and growing IT sector that contributes to increasing domestic and foreign investment, which supports Qatar National Vision 2030 and Qatar National Development Strategy”