The Bitfury Group, a technology company specialising in bitcoin mining and blockchain, launched operations in the UAE this week, aiming to capitalise on rising spending on blockchain technology in the Middle East.
“Blockchain technology is improving the way data and assets are managed, moved and secured around the world,” said Alex Shevchenko, head of Bitfury’s Exonum software service. “The opportunities are limitless.”
Spending on blockchain technology in the Middle East and Africa region is projected to double this year to $80.8 million, up 107 per cent from $38.9m in 2017, according to figures published in February by IDC.
Blockchain is an electronic transaction-processing and archive system that allows parties to track information in a secure network without the need for third-party verification. It is the underlying software enabling transactions of cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, but can also be used to track more conventional transactions.
Banks, governments, exchange houses and financial services firms are increasingly looking to adopt emerging technologies such as blockchain to cut the costs of doing business.
Bitfury, which is based in Amsterdam but has offices in San Francisco, Washington DC, Riga, Latvia and Hong Kong, has raised more than $100m in venture capital, according to documents by cryptocurrency news website Coindesk.com, and generated $93.7m of revenues in the fiscal year 2017.
The firm started out as a ‘bitcoin mining’ company - the process by which cryptocurrency transactions are verified and added to the blockchain ledger, for which the 'mining' company gets paid in bitcoin.
Last week, the company held events in Dubai and Abu Dhabi to showcase its new blockchain solutions including Emercoin, Exonum and LightningPeach. In particular, it aims to provide blockchain-based services to regional governments to help them operate more efficiently.
“The UAE is spearheading investment in this regard as is evident by several government initiatives,” said Alex Botezatu, head of Software for Bitfury.
“We are excited to share our expertise here with other members of a community dedicated to raising appreciation for the technology and moving it closer to universal adoption.”