Dubai has launched its own digital currency to allow citizens and residents make digital payments for school fees, bills and retail purchases.

The blockchain-based digital currency called emcash will be used by citizens to make retail payments in-store, pay for government utilities, telecommunication, and school fees in government shop fronts, Emcredit, the Dubai’s official credit bureau, said in a statement.

Emcredit, a state-backed subsidiary of the Dubai Department of Economic Development, launched the digital currency through a partnership with blockchain payment provider Pundi X and Ebooc Fintech & Loyalty Labs.

Payments will be made via a bespoke Pundi X POS device created for ebooc fintech & loyalty labs for the exclusive use of emcredit with their branding will be dedicated to running a stable, digital equivalent of the UAE dirham (AED). These devices will be available at hundreds of store fronts across the city, according to Emcredit.

“To be the world’s first city to offer blockchain-based payment solutions to our residents is an exciting moment for Dubai. It confirms Dubai’s status as an international tech hub. Deploying cutting-edge technology such as blockchain is a key priority and is delivering benefits to our citizens in the form of convenience and securities to customers and merchants across Dubai,” the credit bureau said in the statement.

Further details of the partnership will be announced following the development, testing and approval of the technology by government regulators later this financial year, Emcredit said.

Pundi X Aims to Transform Retail Businesses with Blockchain Technology

Pundi X is betting big on blockchain technology. The company says that it is shipping its blockchain-based POS devices to thousands retail partners in Singapore, Brazil, Africa, Korea, and other markets. It is targeting a rollout of more than 100,000 of its POS devices to the global retail in three years.

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Meanwhile, Pundi X has unveiled the world’s first blockchain phone called the XPhone at the XBlockchain Summit in Bali, Indonesia. The company also launched the XPhone operating system which is being tested by phone manufacturers. The XPhone will be officially launched in the second quarter of 2019.

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