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Blockchain for smart cities

The organisation wants to create a digital framework for local stakeholders to own the future of their cities

Will a blockchain-based ledger herald a new era of public-private partnerships?
Will a blockchain-based ledger herald a new era of public-private partnerships?

DigitalTown, a leading provider of smart city portal solutions, is launching a blockchain-based distributed ledger for managing shared ownership of each city in its global network of city portals. It believes the move will herald a new era of public-private partnership in the development of thriving local economies.


The company operates a global network of more than 20,000 city portals such as that make it easy for residents and visitors to search, share and shop local.


Each city portal is equipped with SmartSearch, a local search engine that provides locally relevant information tailored to personal preferences. Registered merchants are provided with an online storefront with which they can sell locally and globally, paying only transaction fees.


All legal residents are provided with a free SmartWallet that includes a verified online identity with which they can securely engage and transact with services from both the public and private sector.


For cities where the municipality, or its proxy itself does not license the platform for their city, each resident of a city is to be allocated a fractional ownership unit of the city platform. The units may be claimed during a defined subscription period, after which the distributed units become freely traded and accessible to both residents and non-residents.


“Since the advent of online search, local and regional institutions such as municipalities, chambers of commerce, convention and visitor bureaux, destination marketing organisations, trade associations, as well as other local institutions have been competing with each other for ranking in search engines,” said Rob Monster, CEO of DigitalTown.


He added: “In many cases, they have also experimented with buy local initiatives using directories of local merchants but with no ability to transact. These uncoordinated digital efforts have often resulted in an inconsistent user experience causing both locals and visitors to rely on non-local online tools to find out where to go, what to do, as well as where to stay, shop or eat.


“Local ownership of a unified city platform provides the organising framework to regain control over the online economy, achieve self-sustaining economic development, and equip local stakeholders to win in the digital age.”

The DigitalTown SmartCity platform aims to provide cities with the tools required to compete and win in the digital age and comprises:


A single verified login for the city: the DigitalTown single-sign-on SmartWallet provides every registered citizen with a free verified login with which they can securely connect and transact both locally and globally across both public and private services from local shopping, booking a table at a restaurant to signing up for parks and recreation.


Community members and businesses can also securely transmit funds in real-time without fees using their SmartWallets.


A storefront for every business: DigitalTown provides integrated solutions for local commerce across retailers, service providers, dining, and lodging. Registered businesses can secure a free storefront with which to begin transacting immediately.


A secure platform for local innovation: Software developers in a city can use DigitalTown’s application program interface (API) at no cost. During London Tech Week in June 2017, attended by more than 50,000 delegates from both London and abroad, nearly 400 developers participated in the Smart.London global Hackathon sponsored by DigitalTown.


Across the global network of more than 20,000 cities, DigitalTown has reserved 80 per cent ownership interest of each city portal for local and regional institutions who are committed to local online economic development.


Local owners who enter partnership agreements with DigitalTown are also granted ‘right of first refusal’ for each city portal, thereby securing a path to consolidating full local ownership. Centralised payment processing by leading global payment processors provides a seamless path for the municipality, or its proxy, to become the merchant of record.


DigitalTown partners both locally and globallyto achieve its aims. In the US, it is working in cooperation with long-standing institutions such as local Chambers of Commerce, trade associations and the municipalities themselves.


Individuals from around the world are encouraged to sign up at to secure their ownership interest in their local city platform, and to be eligible to participate in future auctions for unclaimed units for their city.


A copy of the Blockchain whitepaper describing the fractional ownership distributed ledger can be obtained at

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