Dubai passports are going digital. The government of Dubai is trying to create digital passports which would eliminate the need for physical passport checking. These digital passports would be based on the blockchain technology. The passports would use an authorization which would be pre-approved. This would make it easier for the visitors to directly zip through the airport or to enter the country. The airport would consist of a three-dimensional scan tunnel through which most of the visitors would pass, and their identities including digital passport information would be verified.
Dubai has been at the forefront of blockchain technologies. Previously, Dubai has announced plans of registering land and other real estate on the blockchain as well. The government of Dubai has now partnered with the startup Objecttech, which plans to bring the blockchain technology to the busiest airport in the world.
The startup would also introduce a feature which would be known as Self-Sovereign Identity. This feature would allow them to decide who can view the passport information. Thus, there would be adequate privacy controls as well.
The main aim of digitizing Dubai passports would be to make the clearing quicker and safer for all travelers who are passing through the airport. Currently, the startup is working on creating the blockchain-based infrastructure for such a program. The startup aims to have the lot ready by at least 2020.
It remains to be seen whether the blockchain technology and the concept of digital passports would work on such a large scale. Dubai is currently one of the busiest airports in the world. That is why there are also doubts whether this pilot program can be implemented on such a large scale. However, given the scalability options available in the blockchain technology, there are significant chances that it can be used to create such digital passports.
However, for the results, we would have to wait for the year 2020 to find out whether such digital passports can actually work in the real world. It is only by then that the pilot project would be executed. In the meantime Dubai is living up to its reputation of incorporating newer technologies, especially blockchain, for the convenience of the citizens as well as tourists.
Once this concept of digital passport goes mainstream, it would be one of the most preferred airports in the world when it comes to immigration as well as visiting the country as the entire experience would be much more convenient as compared to some of the other airports in the world.
Mahesh Sashital is cofounder of Smartereum.
He was previously Vice President at J.P. Morgan. He has over 15 years of experience in software engineering at various Fortune 20 companies. He has a Bachelor's in Engineering from the University of Mumbai and an MBA from the University of Texas-Austin.