When in Rome do as the Romans do, when in Hamburg, go to the Digitalization panel!

Wenn man in Rom ist, mach es wie die Römer. Aber wenn du in Hamburg bist, wechsel zu Digitalisierungssprache!*

When in Rome do as the Romans do. If in Hamburg, go to the Digitalization panel next Thursday, 30th November, 11.30 am.

Avira Tharakan will talk about the blockchain disruptive technology that DocsWallet uses to keep a safe track of academic and employment, something like the PayPal of official documents, a digital locker to keep peace of mind of applicants by probing their authenticity before the institutions.

Avira Tharakan, DocsWallet´s CEO, is a member of the Dubai Chamber Trade delegation that will discuss about Digitalization in the UAE and Future, in the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce.

Docswallet is based on blockchain technology (a public ledger of all transactions) aiming to keep a direct flow without middle men between sender and receiver of official documents, let it be academic records, visa applications, bank accounts or job contracts. DocsWallet creates these digital lockers and keep information safe and accessible to embassies, banks, and companies, reducing the time process drastically and making it to work as the PayPal of digital, official documents.

The Indian startup, 1st runner up of the StartAD FinTech incubator of NYU and currently enrolled on the Startupbootcamp Dubai, provides the necessary technology to +500 issuing centers (i.e., universities) and receiving institutions (embassies, companies, banks, and others) and works in three fronts:

· DirectVerify service (digitally authenticated document request and a direct access to verifier , reducing incredibly the turn-around time),

· iTranscript service allows customers to apply and share their transcripts from anywhere in the world, making the hard process of transcripts processing easier for applicants and institutions),

· Aadhaar, India´s National Identity System, offers digital signature to which DocsWallet has been integrated, allowing seamless identity authentication and digital signature processes.

Now let´s put in context this disruptive information in context and go back to the UAE, where the government plans to go paperless by 2020 by implementing the National Blockchain Strategy.

Dietmar Siersdorfer, CEO of Siemens Middle East and UAE, already said it on the foreward of the Strategy& paper “Preparing for the Digital Era: The State of Digitalization in the GCC Businesses: “The GCC is taking great strides toward economic diversification. Knowledge, industrialization, and sustainable energy are in focus. Cities are becoming smarter, infrastructure increasingly connected, and efficiency gains are being sought across all sectors. Digitalization is driving these transformations”.

A Naseba report about Financial Technology in the GCC 2017-2018 talks in the same direction. It reflects the opinions of 200 Banking, Financial services and Insurance (BFSI) decision makers from the GCC region. The document reminds us that the GCC is one of the top 10 largest economies, and the MENA region has a collaborative GDP of more than $4 trillion. Moreover, the tech savvy societies of the Middle East spend over $13 billion per year on financial technology.

Respondents to the Naseba´s study highlights nine high priorities for the FinTech: cloud solutions, digital transformation, artificial intelligence, mobility, blockchain, core banking & system integration, smart payments, business intelligence tools and cybersecurity. In the UAE, two banks, NBAD (FAB) and Emirates NBD, have a pilot and live blockchain projects.

Imagine how important is to control the flow of workers in a country like the UAE, home of 10 million inhabitants, and at least 85% of the population is composed of foreign workers from South Asian nations -India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. The largest community is Indian, approximately 2.6 million.

We may change the geography but the situation is the same: Europe has to cope with waves of immigrants wishing to settle within their borders and bring their families with them. Many of them, survivors of war conflicts, cannot probe their academic records and therefore their talent is wasted. According to Eurostat (the official statistics service of the European Union), the 28 Member States of the EU reported 2.7 million immigrants from non-member countries in 2015. By January 1, 2016, there were 35.1 million people born outside of the EU living in one of the State Members: 8.7 million in Germany, 5.6 million in the UK, 5 million in Italy, 4.4 million in Spain, and 4.4 million in France. Luxembourg has the highest share of non-nationals, 47% of its total population. Germany, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia, Austria and Ireland have a 10% or more of non-nationals from their respective resident populations.

If we look at importance of document repositories in academic records and transcripts, Europe offers valuable insights:

There are 19.5 million students in tertiary education within their borders. Germany alone hosts 3 million, a 15% of these students. Family ties are present too: France gets 40.9% of their tertiary students from Africa (2015), while Portugal hosts 34.1% of the same continent. Spain and Portugal reflect their historical ties with Central and South American nations, receiving 48.9% of tertiary students abroad in Spain and 35.3% in Portugal.

German students are the largest groups in Latvia, Hungary, Netherlands and Austria, and make the second & third largest groups in other Member States. The record of nationals studying abroad is for Luxembourg, where 45,9% of students completed their tertiary education abroad.

In 2015, China (including Hong Kong) was the largest country of origin for tertiary students from abroad: 11.1%. Chinese students were the biggest foreign group in Germany, Ireland, France, Italy, Finland, Sweden and UK, and the second largest group in Netherlands and Cyprus. Other non-member countries in the tertiary education rankings of the EU are Turkey, Macedonia, India, United States, Brazil, Israel and Mexico. Chinese graduates are the highest share of abroad students in six Member States.

This is too much talent to manage. Blockchain will disrupt the way documents are signed and verified. The leap will be as moving from using typewriters to typing emails. Now, think if to keep shifting piles of papers from table to table for weeks, with the risk of losing track of applicants and no clue if documents are fake or authentic, makes sense.

To refresh about this digital locker of documents, feel free to read/listen Rosa Panadero´s interview with Avira Tharakan´s interview or watch it on YouTube.

(The author of this post got all her academic records lost during the Oxford flood in 2008. Having her application for post-grade been pre-accepted with the scanned documents, the university required the originals to formalize the inscription. After the summer, she emailed asking about the starting day and the reply froze her: “We have no track of your documents madam.” She had kept the receipt of the mail post and she hopelessly sent it to them. Some weeks later, someone in her old house phoned to say that an unopened envelope from the university arrived on her name).

Some of the information gathered in this post comes from:


https://www.startupbootcamp.org/startups/docswallet/ https://www.directverify.in/myeasydocs_directverify/directverify/verify-now.aspx https://www.strategyand.pwc.com/reports/preparing-digital-era https://www.naseba.com/financial-technology-in-mena-2018-demands/?utm_source=finarticle https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/nri/middle-east-news/20-of-indian-migrants-reside-in-uae-report/articleshow/56410014.cms http://gulfnews.com/news/uae/society/uae-population-edging-closer-to-10m-1.1579486 http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/Migration_and_migrant_population_statistics http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/images/4/42/Share_of_tertiary_education_graduates_from_abroad_by_country_of_origin_for_the_three_largest_partner_countries%2C_2015_%28%25_of_all_tertiary_education_graduates_from_abroad%29_ET17.png http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/File:Main_countries_of_citizenship_and_birth_of_the_foreign_foreign-born_population,_1_January_2016_(%C2%B9)_(in_absolute_numbers_and_as_a_percentage_of_the_total_foreign_foreign-born_population).png http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/Tertiary_education_statistics

* German translation by Claudia Nyangdou.


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