Oman to get its first blockchain training centre soon
March 6, 2018 | 10:41 PM
by Times News Service

Muscat: Residents and citizens in Oman will soon be able to equip themselves with the latest skills required to work in a digitised economy, as the country looks to set up its first-ever blockchain training centre.

Blockchain technology allows for information to be shared across computers irrespective of location. The data entered into this network of computers is then constantly updated, so that everyone on the network is able to work with the latest data.

The initiative to train those living in Oman on the functions of blockchain is being spearheaded by Blockchain Solutions and Services Oman, which is under the State General Reserve Fund of the Sultanate’s Ministry of Finance. To expedite the process, it has brought in Trakinvest, a Singapore-based social investment and trade company, which specialises in blockchain.

“I think blockchain is going to challenge the existing business models. It will lead to financial inclusion and transparency and will also enable individuals to monetise their data. This will allow for trading and business to seamlessly take place in a digital medium,” Bobby Bhatia, founder of Trakinvest, said.

“There are plenty of new business models emerging. I think there needs to be more financial inclusion. If someone is actually generating something for you, they should be given the ability to monetise that. If your data, for example, is going to a medical insurance company or a pharmaceutical company for research, you need to be compensated for that,” he added.

Bhatia said blockchain would lead to a more equitable economy, where everyone would be able to benefit. “Sharing is not going to be a choice in the future. It is going to be a given. If I take your data and make $10 on it, I need to give you $5. Blockchain is technically a lot safer than a centralised source of distribution. So, if you have this decentralised distribution of information, I think what it does is answer a lot of questions in terms of cybersecurity. What this is doing is cutting out the middleman, which is what technology is all about,” he explained.

Bhatia further said: “The last 10 years have been all about social platforms, and the youth in Oman is very keyed in. So, I think this is something they will look forward to because they are eager to learn. Sometimes, certain technologies are adopted by people very fast but it takes time for institutions to adapt and change. We can agree that most incumbent corporates and existing governments in many developed countries and quite a few developing countries see that blockchain is the future.”

Bhatia plans to educate people about blockchain by collaborating with local partners to ensure that people in Oman are able to get the best from the training they receive.

“We recently partnered with the government of Andhra Pradesh in India and they are putting 20,000 people through our Trankinvest training programme, in partnership with the Indian Institute of Science. We offered it to the public at $150 (about OMR58), which is exceptionally affordable. This is certified by the number one university in India and the corporates. So, if you take that certificate, you are automatically through to the last round of interviews with top companies. Also, 80 per cent of the course is benchmarked to your practical achievements in this course,” he said.

“Oman could benefit from this because the country is not bound by certain legacy systems. The government here supports the local communities and is upgrading its skills related to cybersecurity, e-commerce, and blockchain technology because there is a huge amount of ability to transform here. Making processes more efficient will help generate more jobs, because the skillset for blockchain tech is lacking at the moment. Universities are not teaching this, and these are fields that are going to be exceptionally important in the future,” he commented.

Besides, Bhatia was looking forward to see how blockchain would help Oman’s Tanfeedh plan for economic diversification.

“We are here to support the ecosystem, in terms of upskilling, analytics, content, and education. This translates into jobs. Digital and social media are something the youth is very engaged with in Oman. If you look at the economic expansion that is being planned across tourism, logistics, agriculture, and so many other sectors, think about how you could cut distances and time by talking to the creators of these goods and services themselves. This is a system that benefits everyone,” he concluded.

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