Zain Group — a leading telecoms provider in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region — has joined the governing council for enterprise-grade distributed ledger platform Hedera Hashgraph.

Zain provides mobile voice and data services to over 49.5 million active customers and has a commercial presence in eight countries in the MENA region — including Kuwait, Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Zain’s joining of the council represents a regional first, Hedera’s announcement on June 15 claims.  

Hadera Hashgraph and its governing members

To realize its aim of establishing a more secure internet using public blockchain technology, Hedera Hashgraph’s Governing Council follows a decentralized governance model, bringing together international organizations from diverse industries. 

Existing members include Boeing, Deutsche Telekom, Google, IBM and Swisscom Blockchain and University College London, among others.

Each member of the council runs a node on the Hedera Hashgraph public network and is responsible for approving updates to the Hedera platform codebase.

The platform keeps its source code open for review and uses a hashgraph-based consensus algorithm to allow for multiple branches of blocks, as opposed to a single chain.

By joining Hedera, Zain Group hopes to gain insights and exposure into trends and developments in the blockchain space, placing it in a better position to assess how to develop applications using the technology in its own field of operation. 

Zain CEO and vice-chairman Badar Al Kharafi said that the Group sees its evolving services and applications — including mobile money and fintech, e-health, drones, Internet of Things and 5G — as all lending themselves to being further improved through the use of blockchain.

Hedera’s platform has been designed with a particular focus on developing more energy-efficient mechanisms to help address concerns over the environmental impact of blockchain technologies.

In May, University College London became the first academic institution to join the council, and is contributing its research into central bank digital currencies and blockchain antitrust to the Council’s “Tokenomics” and “Legal and Regulatory” working groups.