Emaar to launch blockchain-based rewards and loyalty platform

Users can access the platform through a mobile application compatible with both Android and iOS operating systems

Dubai, United Arab Emirates - April 25, 2019: Emaar building with branding. Thursday the 25th of April 2019. Business Bay, Dubai. Chris Whiteoak / The National
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Emaar Properties, the biggest-listed developer in Dubai, will launch a blockchain-based referral and loyalty platform, EMR, later this year, according to the company.

EMR will reward customers with tokens for their loyalty and business referrals, Emaar said in a statement on Thursday.

“By launching the EMR utility token ecosystem, Emaar is expanding the concept of connection. We aren’t just looking into the future … we are building it,” said Mohamed Alabbar, Emaar’s chairman.

Customers can use their tokens at Emaar’s facilities, such as hotels, malls and e-commerce — or trade them with other users. EMR tokens can only be redeemed for goods and services with Emaar-owned entities but may be transferred between different, identified users, the developer said in a statement.

An EMR mobile app, for both Android and iOS users, will give users access to the referral and loyalty system to earn or redeem EMR tokens.

Blockchain — the technology behind EMR — is a digital chain of transactions linked using cryptography, a mechanism for secure communications, on an open ledger. The database is a real-time library of records that are difficult to tamper with as each change creates a new record. Spending on blockchain in the Middle East and Africa has been growing at a compound rate of more than 70 per cent since 2016, and is set to reach $307 million by 2021, according to the US-based International Data Corporation.

“Our blockchain token platform positions us to grow our user engagement with today’s digital-native, mobile-first generation,” said Hadi Kabalan, director of tokenisation at Emaar.

The platform and tokens are built on Quorum, the JP Morgan variant of Ethereum — an open source, blockchain-based computing platform.

Consumers across all age groups are increasingly willing to make purchases with tokens, a recent study by KPMG found. This indicates a range of new opportunities for businesses to engage with their customers and transform commerce using blockchain.

The UAE unveiled the Emirates Blockchain Strategy 2021 in April last year, which aims to switch almost 50 per cent of government transactions on to a blockchain platform within three years.

By adopting blockchain, the Emirates is expected to save 77 million work hours annually, Dh11 billion in transaction costs and regular document processing and 398 million printed documents a year, according to the UAE Government.