Last week, the UAE’s central bank announced it was working on a joint cryptocurrency, based on blockchain, with its counterpart in Saudi Arabia
Dubai: Since beginning its dramatic rise in value over a year ago, many commentators have pronounced bitcoin dead, saying instead that the true value of the polarising digital currency was to be found in its underlying technology, blockchain.
Cryptocurrency experts disagree, however, saying this analysis is too simplistic.
Whatever the true worth of bitcoin, in recent years it has been blockchain technology that has seen the overwhelming majority of investment from banks, governments, and large companies.
But what is blockchain, and why does everyone want to use it?
Essentially, a blockchain is like a record that is accessible to anyone; a ledger that registers every single transaction.
It can be used for a number of different things, including hospital records, financial transactions, and government data.
It is not controlled by anyone: There is no central authority such as a government or bank. Instead, everyone who uses it contributes to it in some small way.
Supporters say this kind of structure makes it more efficient and fair.