Swiss based Vonom Academic AG, which is transforming scientific publishing through blockchain technology to elevate research publication standards will be holding the Vonom Academic premier academic conference, “Proof of Green: The Future of Blockchain and Sustainability”. The conference will be held in Dubai on May 7th – 8th at the Address Downtown hotel.

The conference fosters dialogue on blockchain for sustainability, key for tackling environmental issues.

A wide range of topics will be covered , including ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance), renewable energy, environmental conservation, carbon credits, and social policies. Key discussions will focus on blockchain’s impact on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), its influence on emerging industries and regions, and community involvement in sustainable blockchain solutions.

“We chose sustainability as our focus because, now more than ever, it’s crucial to change our behaviors toward the environment. Blockchain’s wide reach can amplify these efforts, making it pivotal in our mission for positive change,” says Philip Blazdell, CEO of Vonom Academic.

Featuring speaker panels, workshops, and more, “Proof of Green” offers a comprehensive exploration of blockchain’s role in shaping a sustainable future. Announcements regarding keynote and session topics will be released in the days ahead.

The conference will also unveil a glimpse of their cutting-edge blockchain-powered publishing platform. Through blockchain technology, researchers can meticulously record every step of the publication journey, from data aggregation and analysis to peer evaluation and revisions, all in an immutable and auditable fashion. This decentralized platform not only safeguards copyright entitlements and equitable compensation but also facilitates universal accessibility to published materials, thereby championing the principles of open access.

“Our blockchain-powered publishing platform heralds a new era of trust in academic research and revolutionizing the way knowledge is shared,” adds Mr. Blazdell.

UAE  Zayed University researchers have published a new research report under the title, “Investigating the Failure of the Blockchain Technology and Suggested Recommendations”, recommending the consensus algorithm underlying the Hedera network, hashgraph, as the best Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) to utilize.

Ala’ Al Hilal a Professor at UAE Al Zayed University, and his colleagues undertook a comprehensive investigation of the strengths and shortcomings of blockchain technology, while showcasing DLT as an alternative that can offer more viable solutions than blockchain to both public and private.

As per the research, one of those promising alternative DLT platforms is hashgraph. Unlike traditional blockchain platforms, which use a chain of blocks to record transactions and rely on miners to validate those transactions, hashgraph uses a Directed Acyclic Graph (DAG) to record transactions and relies on a consensus algorithm to validate them. A thorough comparative analysis was conducted between these two technologies to determine which would emerge as the dominant technology in the market. The research found that the primary distinction between Hashgraph’s DLT and traditional blockchain technology is in their approach and structure. While blockchains store data in blocks linearly, hashgraph uses a directed acyclic graph to store and process information. Both DLTs are decentralized, with each node having a copy of the ledger and sharing any changes.

The research report compares speed, efficiency, fairness, and awareness between traditional blockchain platforms and DLT solutions. In terms of speed, it was found that hashgraph can process approximately 500,000 transactions per second by utilizing the Gossip method. On the other hand, some blockchain networks can only achieve a maximum speed of around 10,000 transactions per second. As such, hashgraph is faster than blockchain as it requires less information to be disseminated across the network as more events occur.

When it comes to efficiency on blockchain networks, users may encounter difficulties when working on a block, particularly when two blocks are submitted simultaneously. In such cases, one of the blocks must be discarded, which can lead to a less efficient network. In contrast, hashgraph does not require block creation and instead relies solely on events, making it a more efficient option.

Regarding fairness, researchers found that on a blockchain, users can select which orders they want to process or halt. This can lead to a lack of fairness for those who are using the network or who are connected to it in any way. Conversely, hashgraph approaches fairness differently. It randomly allocates nodes and uses consensus time stamping to prevent interference and enhance the effectiveness of transaction ordering.

Ala’ Abu Hilal stated, “The primary motivation behind my research was to explore decentralized technologies and their potential applications for enhancing the security and scalability of decentralized applications. Thus, I chose Hashgraph specifically for its unique consensus mechanism, high throughput capabilities, and notable features.” He adds, “As for future research, I do indeed plan to delve deeper into the applications and implications of hashgraph technology, aiming to provide a more comprehensive understanding of its capabilities and potential impact.”

The research paper assesses that “Hashgraph has the potential to supplant traditional blockchain platforms as the leading technology. We anticipate that hashgraph will achieve widespread success and popularity without necessarily replacing existing technologies due to its patented algorithm, superior scalability, and faster consensus mechanism; hashgraph has the potential to overcome many of the shortcomings of blockchain.”

Kamal Al Youssefi, commenting on the Zayed University research report, stated, “This research report backs up what we know to be true about the advantages of Hedera’s DLT. The Hashgraph Association’s work in the MENA region to support startups, government, and enterprise projects both in terms of funding as well as technology and business advisory services will help increase adoption of hashgraph. As concluded by the researchers, we are firm in our belief of the power of hashgraph technology to offer an impactful substitute to blockchain.” 

Researchers at King Saud University Saudi Arabia have released a research on the relationship between Bitcoin and e-commerce in Saudi Arabia with results showing rapid growth in ecommerce, some knowledge of Bitcoin, and a positive correlation between Bitcoin and e-commerce in the Kingdom

Researchers Dr. Layla Hajr, Suzan Katamoura, and Abdulrahman Mirza, developed a hypothesis to investigate and test the impact of Bitcoin on Ecommerce use in Saudi Arabia using a survey.

The survey analyzed factors such as Bitcoin awareness, usage among Saudi Arabian consumers. Responses were collected from individuals and employees of various companies working in different occupations in Saudi Arabia. In addition, statistical tools SPSS and SmartPLS were used to test the study’s hypotheses.

As per the survey results, there has been a rapid growth in e-commerce transactions and some knowledge of Bitcoin. Most importantly as per the researchers the survey showed a positive correlation between digital currencies ( Bitcoin) and e-commerce in Saudi Arabia.

The authors noted “The study also opens the way for future investigations into topics including Saudi Arabia’s regulations for Bitcoin, consumer attitudes toward Bitcoin, and the potential of blockchain technology for enhancing the nation’s e-commerce processes.”

Saudi Arabia is among the world’s largest e-commerce markets; the statistics in this sector reported that the volume of e-commerce transactions approached $5.7 billion. Also, Saudi e-commerce contributed to the GDP with a return of $10,482 billion in 2020 (Chamber, 2019). As a result of this swift growth in both technologies’ inventions and e-commerce transactions, new electronic methods were developed, for example, STC Pay, and others.

The King Saud University authors expected that the usage of Bitcoin might increase e-commerce transactions. Using an anonymous online survey to test their hypothesis the survey targeted different  community sectors, including various professionals (governmental, semi-governmental, private companies, private businesses, and students) in Riyadh and Jeddah cities.

124 respondents from the cities of Riyadh and Jeddah answered 14 questions.  Responses were collected from participants who work in different occupations, including governmental entities, Semi-governmental Authorities, Private Sector Companies, Private Business individuals, and students. Of the questionnaires answered, 56.5% were female. Additionally, 42.7% of the respondents were between 31 and 40; the rest were distributed between different age categories. The least (11.3%) of the participants held Diploma, and the remaining had a degree of Bachelor and above.

The survey while just a beggining is interesting especially as KSA is working on its CBDC project.

In a recent survey carried out by Deel, a global HR platform within the GCC and MENA region, the findings found that 51% of employees being paid in crypto prefer Ethereum

Employee cryptocurrency withdrawals within the GCC highlighted a growing level of adoption among individuals, who are now using cryptocurrencies as a viable medium for receiving employer payments. Conducting an extensive survey, Deel engaged with over 1600 employees and over 700 organizations in the UAE to gather valuable insights.

Of the 700 organizations surveyed in the UAE, 87% of employees were using crypto for salary payments. Of the 1600 employees surveyed only 8% were being paid in crypto in KSA while in Qatar it was 4.8%.

Exploring the Deel data beyond the UAE, Egypt places itself in the spotlight by a substantial margin, witnessing over 25,000 employee withdrawals using crypto in the last 12 months. Tracking Egypt’s trajectory, the roster of pioneering nations also includes Morocco, and Lebanon, each carving its path towards cryptocurrency adoption.

Notably, Ethereum (ETH) claims the top spot as the preferred cryptocurrency for withdrawals, commanding 51.2%. The US Dollar backed stablecoin USDC follows suit at 24.5%, while Bitcoin (BTC) controls 20.2% of the landscape. Solana (SOL) and Dash wrap up the top five most used cryptocurrencies with 2.5% and 1.6%, respectively, contributing to the crypto withdrawals landscape.

Tarek Salam, Head of Expansion from Deel, stated, “The Deel research provides an interesting window on the latest trends within the employment sector. It is truly great to witness the rapid surge in cryptocurrency adoption within the UAE and the wider region. The regulators have played a commendable role in encouraging greater participation in the cryptocurrency ecosystem and it’s a trend that we will be watching with interest as adoption continues to grow.”

Deel is a leading global compliance and payroll solution that helps businesses hire anyone, anywhere. Deel’s technology offers unmatched payroll, HR, compliance, perks, benefits, and other capabilities needed to hire and manage a global team.

Saudi Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University department of computer Science and Saudi Aramco Cybersecurity chair, published in MDPI a study for a solution for Smart Flood Detection to save lives using the integration of AI (Artificial Intelligence), Blockchain and drones.

According to the study, floods pose a serious risk and require immediate management and strategies for optimal response times. The Saudi city of Mecca has been impacted by climate change in the last decade as floods have increased despite the city’s location in the Arabian Gulf, which has a hot and wet climate. According to the General Authority for Statistics in Mecca, since 2010, the average peak rainfall has increased by 350%. Mecca experienced torrential rains on 23 December 2022, at least partly because of its location, surrounded by mountains, causing numerous vehicles to be swept away.

The authors propose a secure method of flood detection in Saudi Arabia using a Flood Detection Secure System (FDSS) based on deep active learning (DeepAL) based classification model in federated learning to minimize communication costs and maximize global learning accuracy.

As per their abstract, “We use blockchain-based federated learning and partially homomorphic encryption (PHE) for privacy protection and stochastic gradient descent (SGD) to share optimal solutions. Utilizing images and IoT data, FDSS can train local models that detect and monitor floods. The proposed FDSS enabled us to estimate the flooded areas and track the rapid changes in dam water levels to gauge the flood threat. This study concludes with a discussion of the proposed method and its challenges in managing floods in remote regions using artificial intelligence and blockchain technology.

The study introduces a drone application that uses blockchain to manage flooding in remote regions safely and in real-time. The framework can be helpful in missions based on both blockchain and IPFS. The proposed architecture of system nodes makes the process more secure by preventing information from being manipulated and enhancing the data analysis capability within the management system. In a blockchain network, the text data is recorded as part of the transaction information that is recorded during transactions. In addition, a visualization platform will allow access to transaction data, making it easier for operators to supervise their operations.

The study offers a scheme that improves the FL system performance by using DeepAL to select the optimal edge nodes and integrating the learned model parameters into a blockchain-based FL scheme to enhance the reliability and security of the FL system. This method is combined with modern cryptography techniques, such as homomorphic encryption, to achieve a high level of privacy and security capabilities.

In natural disasters, UAVs’ real-time data acquisition can prevent harm by controlling operations efficiently. They can be used to obtain aerial photographs and read water levels, wind speeds, and water speeds to predict weather events, prevent disasters, and aid rescues. These complex interactions can be achieved using AI, the computer-based system that executes tasks requiring intelligence.

With AI and machine learning, systems will be able to resist new, sophisticated attacks with shifting characteristics. Drones must be built with a collective machine-learning model integrating all data from IoT devices and webcams that can be sent to the MEC to create an algorithm with strong predictive capability.

The proposed framework assumes that UAVs collect data and MEC servers store it in the blockchain. This includes basic data, such as the device name, MAC address and type, and geographic data, such as latitude and longitude that help MEC servers acquire data. Before data is added to the blockchain, MEC servers verify UAV validity.

The study utilizes the Internet of Drones (IoD) which can help to save many lives during floods and other catastrophic weather events in places that are difficult for people to reach. IoT devices can be used to collect data on the location and status of people in the affected areas, such as their vital signs, to prioritize rescue efforts.

The data will be sent to a central server where deep-learning algorithms will be used to analyze the data and create a rescue plan. The plan will be sent to relevant organizations involved in the rescue efforts, allowing them to provide aid quickly and efficiently to those in need.

In conclusion the study believes that the system has the potential to significantly improve the efficiency and effectiveness of rescue efforts in disaster situations. By utilizing AI, blockchain, and IoT technologies, the system can quickly analyze large amounts of data and provide a comprehensive rescue plan, ultimately saving more lives.