Governments are betting on blockchain to power tourism in cities. China, for instance, has a plan to turn 835 acres off the shores of Malacca, Malaysia into a city built off the technology. The city’s infrastructure will be constructed reportedly through the help of blockchain, with a DMI platform and a DMI coin that will allow for payments of government services. It will also have an exchange to let tourists turn their fiat into DMI tokens. SWT International Sdn Bhd, an investment network, and China Wuyi, a construction and engineering firm, jointly rolled out the government-supported effort.
Lim Keng Kai, the project’s CEO, said per reports that “our company is using cutting-edge blockchain technologies and integrating those into the traditional industry to make Malaysia a world-class tourist destination. We have the government approval to remediate this land and came up with some great plans for the area.” For the project, the founders are seeking to raise $120 million — or 500 Malaysian Ringgits — over its beginning stage.
With the effort, 635 acres of reclaimed property will reportedly go toward Melaka Straits City’s construction. An additional 200 acres will be maintained for water recreation facilities as well as chalets. FX Empire reports in a post that “developers intend to make Melaka Straits City the leading tourist destination in Malaysia.” The Ministry of Tourism of China is forecasting 3 million visitors a year for the city, which will reportedly house 100 villas and five boutique hotels.
The city will also be home to a national conference center that can purportedly handle 20,000 visitors. Moreover, visitors looking for some aquatic recreation will reportedly find a water theme park that Keng Kai claims will be “the largest in Southeast Asia” and boast land as well as sea rides. Beyond the park, the city will reportedly feature other recreational amenities such as golf courses, tennis courts, race tracks and concert halls. It will also have kindergartens, colleges and student dorms.
There is also, of course, the blockchain technology. Keng Kai said in the FX Empire interview, “Technological innovations will be focused on the improvement of the fundamental infrastructure and integrated with the city statistics. The creators put [emphasis] on safety and security management of all smart city systems.”
When it comes to commerce, tourists do reportedly have to exchange their fiat currency into crypto. Merchants and businesses within the city will reportedly have special quick-response [QR] codes that visitors can scan for payments. “This is easy mobile banking that can be done in seconds. The transactions will all be stored in the DMI blockchain where any issues that arise can be resolved,” Keng Kai said.
China is hardly the only player looking to create so-called crypto cities: In Nevada, a digital currency millionaire is aiming to build a blockchain-based community. Employees and residents of the space will essentially have an Ethereum address that will function as personal data storage and a method to vote on local matters.
However, it is an open question as to whether this concept could work in real life. The New York Times reported in November, “Most blockchain companies have failed to gain any traction, and Ethereum and Bitcoin networks have struggled to handle even moderate amounts of traffic.” Despite the potential challenge, governments and entrepreneurs are looking to build cities with the help of blockchain technology.