Massive Dubai Resort Rolls out Blockchain-based Staff Solution

John Moore

The large Dubai Caesars Bluewaters hotel has turned to the Lucid Pay digital wallet for a blockchain-driven solution to managing its staff discounts and allowances provision. Created by Liquid-D, the Lucid Pay system will be used to afford staff with a digital payment option when using their perks and allowances around the hotel’s facilities.  

The massive Caesar’s palace Bluewater 'island' development in the city will use the smart contracts and wallets to automatically credit and debit the discounts and allowances to its staff according to contractual conditions of employment, as well as manage their useage. In order to do this, the system will integrate into existing Hotel POS systems from Oracle and Opera. The wallets will be available via staff’s Android and iOS mobile devices.   

Jejin Joseph, the Caesars Bluewater head of IT Infrastructure, was quoted in reports as saying that this ease of integration made Lucid Pay “the right choice”, and that the system “is very easy to setup and use and requires minimal training for the existing staff.”

“Being a Blockchain-based solution,” he added, “we are provided with a transparent, tamper free, immutable ledger for our employees' allowance and discount program.” 

Not the First

Interestingly, Caesars Bluewaters is not the first to turn to Lucid Pay and blockchain technology for such a facility, which presumably aims to cut down on fraud and misuse of staff incentives as well as streamline the back-end processes for increased efficieny. The Dubai-based Atlantis resort has also recently announced it is using it, only in its case that will be a customer-facing facility for guest payments.

Jawad Riachi, of the Dubai-based Liquid-D says its is happy clients are beginning to “value the platform and realize its potential in terms of functionality, speed, effectiveness and ROI.” 

In a view that has been echoed by many blockchain advocates over the last year, he appears to believe that the blockchain technology Lucid Pay uses needs to be as inconspicuous as possible, and that his company must focus on making a product that is easy to use and implement, offering a “convenient learning curve and minimal intrusion.” 

It echoes the views of EOS creator and company founder Daniel Larimer, who in a recent interview  a London’s Blockchain Live event, told me that “Blockchain will be heavily adopted when people no longer talk about blockchain,” but that “to get from where we are today to there [is] a matter of getting the existing businesses and existing proven business models to upgrade their software to use blockchain give users greater security.”

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Central Banks and Cryptocurrencies: Natural Born Enemies, or Soon-to-Be Friends?

Oli Weiss

The frosty and (some have speculated) internationally coordinated response from central bankers to Facebook’s Libra was received with little surprise by crypto entrepreneurs and investors.

Officials from across the G7 economies were keen to stress not only the regulatory hurdles Libra would need to clear before it got the green light, but also their ongoing commitment to the tacit proposition that there must remain a legal and technical firewall between fiat and cryptocurrencies.

Steve Mnuchin, U.S .Treasury Secretary, was at pains to emphasize that Facebook’s proposed coin is “a very long way” from being approved by U.S. regulators, and the Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, has been quoted expressing similar sentiments that Libra must be “rock solid” well before it’s launch.

However, it is French Finance Minister, Bruno La Maire, who has been most explicit in a recent interview with the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera where he stated that, “the red line for us is the Libra must not transform into a sovereign currency.”

Inside Singapore’s Crypto Laboratory

This context of mistrust and sometimes outright hostility from central bankers towards cryptocurrencies makes two developments in Singapore all the more significant; firstly Project Ubin led by the Monetary Authority of Singapore, and secondly the recent decision to allow five new digital banking licenses.

Project Ubin is a joint venture by the de facto central bank of Singapore and leading global financial institutions including HSBC, JP Morgan and Bank of America Merrill Lynch. In essence, the project seeks to explore the possibility that blockchain distributed ledger technology can be used to make the settlement of inter-bank payment quicker and reduce processing times whilst maintaining high levels of security and data privacy.

So far, the project has begun to demonstrate that a tokenized Singaporean dollar can in fact function as a method of inter-bank settlement for day-to-say business, and work has commenced between the Project Ubin teams and the Bank of Canada on how the system can be scaled to allow for international payments.

One obvious question arises from this: if this system works and could hypothetical be generalized elsewhere, what would this mean for the role of central banks in the future?

One possible answer is also starting to emerge from Singapore, where Ministers have just approved the issuance of banking licenses to up to five new digital banks.

This further enshrines the contestability of the financial sector in Singapore, and provides room for the type of new, innovative entrants likely to take advantage of Singapore’s world-class crypto infrastructure and flexible regulatory environment.

As such, there are signs emerging that the cold war between central bankers and crypto innovators may be starting to pass, and a strategic partnership between the two could be possible in other financial centers like Singapore. For now, one thing is certain: Singapore is, and almost definitely will remain, one of the key centers of crypto and fintech dynamism, due in part at least to the bold actions of the Singapore Monetary Authority.