BSS (Blockchain Solutions and Services LLC), Information Technology Authority (ITA) of Oman, and technology service provider Omantel jointly announced the deployment of the national HyperLedger Fabric Platforms to speed the digital innovation efforts in the Sultanate of Oman.
BSS, ITA and Omantel have chosen HyperLedger Fabric as the underlying technology for these platforms. Many are familiar with Hyperledger Fabric – a permission based blockchain platform, developed by IBM under the umbrella of the Linux Foundation. The platform is widely used by governments and corporations globally. Hyperledger Fabric provides an enterprise-ready permissioned blockchain environment with high security, privacy and smart contract capabilities through “chaincode”. An HFS research report recently placed Hyperledger Fabric as holding 52% of all Enterprise Blockchain projects in production, the highest percentage compared to all other platforms.
Oman has embarked on its blockchain journey with two strategic focuses, innovation and national growth. As such Oman has created two platforms. The first platform is the development platform dubbed the “Blockchain Factory” or what is most commonly known as BaaS (Blockchain as a Service). The “Blockchain factory” was developed jointly by BSS and Swisscom Blockchain AG to allow startups, businesses, entrepreneurs, industry players, Ministries, universities, and even SMEs to explore their Blockchain use cases in an agile environment. Users of the development platform can deploy blockchains; develop use cases and chain code to gradually mature them into real life use cases of benefit to both the private and public sectors in Oman. H.E. Abdulsalam Mohammed Al-Murshidi, Executive President of the State General Reserve Fund and Chairman of Blockchain Solutions and Services stated, “The deployment of the blockchain platform in Oman is one of the most important initiatives being undertaken today. With the digitization efforts underway in Oman and regionally, the blockchain platform will empower developers, entrepreneurs, and businesses to innovate using blockchain in a flexible and safe environment, where they can then be migrated into real life production ready solutions on the National Private permissioned Platform”.
The second platform is where mature and production ready blockchain applications and solutions are plugged into the nation-wide platform “The National Private Permissioned Platform”. This highly secure environment is built with three consensus nodes distributing consensus across ITA, BSS, and Omantel. Prior to deploying applications and solutions on the production environment, the solution undergoes an extensive quality assurance and code review process. Dr. Khalid M.W. Tahhan, CEO of BSS stated, “We are keen to develop blockchain applications that serve the Sultanate as well as the global economy at large. With this in mind we also want to ensure that we provide a safe, secure, and robust environment for these applications and solutions to flourish. We hope that both the private sector players and innovators will work in tandem with government to build an innovation driven ecosystem. We have already initiated development of use cases for government utilizing these platforms, which we will announce in due course, and look forward to the innovative use cases to be developed by society utilizing the Development Factory deployed”.
Sheikh Talal Al-Mamari, CEO, Omantel, added, “We are proud to support the government’s digitization and innovation strategy by developing our strategic partnership with major international and local companies. Our partnership with BSS is a strong foundation which we will expand upon in the future with more joint initiatives. The first result of this strong collaboration is the rapid deployment of the Hyperledger Factory and the National Blockchain platform, which was deployed in record time.”
The Oman government under the auspices of the ITA has also developed a SaaS (Software as a Service) incubation platform for the deployment of innovative use cases across Ministries and private sector. This will be coupled with the launching of a national “sandbox” environment jointly orchestrated by BSS, and ITA to create the needed regulatory support alongside the technology. The Sandbox will give regulators insight into what can be applied and what needs to be changed to incorporate innovative concepts and startups into the Oman ecosystem in a safe and secure manner. New research suggests that sandbox test environments for blockchain could help cement partnerships between governments and businesses. Heavily regulated industries such as FinTech, healthcare, transportation and manufacturing can help develop a government’s understanding of blockchain through better dialogue and the creation of joint regulatory sandboxes. Dr. Salim Bin Sultan Al Ruzaiqi, CEO of ITA stated, “ITA and BSS will collaborate to orchestrate the relationship between startups, industry players and government legislative and regulatory bodies to develop the ecosystem needed for these innovative ideas to flourish in the coming period”.
In parallel to these initiatives is a rich training environment that will work to build the needed talent base. As Dr. Khalid M.W. Tahhan states, “Oman is embarking on a progressive training program. This is a joint collaboration between BSS and Swisscom Blockchain. Furthermore, we are providing a three-day training program with Swisscom Blockchain in April and have a small number of seats remaining for anyone interested in learning more about HyperLedger Fabric.”