IEEE International Conference on Blockchain and Cryptocurrency 2023 (ICBC 2023), Dubai, UAE

By Adel Ben Mnaouer - Prince Sultan University, Saudi Arabia, IEEE ICBC 2023 General Co-Chair, Burkhard Stiller - University of Zurich, Switzerland, IEEE ICBC 2023 General Co-Chair and Fakhreddine Karray - MBZUAI University, UAE, IEEE ICBC 2023 General Co-Chair

ICBC 2023 is the 5th edition of the IEEE Communications Society (ComSoc)-sponsored IEEE International Conference on Blockchain and Cryptocurrency. It is the society’s primary forum for reporting the latest research results and innovations, regulations, standards, industry practice innovations, and policies in the exciting, emerging, and challenging area of blockchains and cryptocurrencies. It was held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on May 1–5, 2023, at the Sofitel Dubai Downtown Hotel.

It was a challenging task to win the bid for Dubai as we were a bit late in bidding, but this happened at the end of the Corona pandemic times, too, which provided a very good planning basis for ICBC, since Dubai’s measures and procedures for daily life and event organizations in the context of the pandemic had almost returned to normal. We acknowledge proudly the help of Dubai Tourism in enhancing the bid by offering the conference’s attendees with ample information about what Dubai could offer to visitors. The support and gold sponsorship of the Canadian University Dubai and the support of the IEEE UAE Section were also highly valuable in helping secure the bid despite stiff competition.

The excellent location (at Downtown Dubai) was carefully chosen, and the hotel’s local amenities and performance to the high satisfaction of the attendees. Just to exemplify, breakfast as part of the room fees and lunches as part of the conference fees offered a very wide range of local and international food options with high quality. Although the hotel venue was close to the many attractions Dubai is offering, the rate of attendance of the conference was noticeably high till the last workshop on CryptoEx’23. Overall, three social events were organized during the conference, the first one was a cocktail reception by the grass-pool of the hotel overlooking Burj Khalifa and Dubai Downtown. The second one was a Dhow cruise and dinner in the Dubai Marina area with music and Tennoura dance show. And the third one was the Gala Dinner at the hotel’s ballroom with a sumptuous banquet. Thus, the first dimension of an attractive set-up for an important conference and event had been dealt with successfully.

Cocktail Reception by the grass pool at the Sofi tel Hotel, a snapshot of some attendees

On the second dimension, especially the technical content of an IEEE event, in this year’s edition of ICBC 2023, we have received 266 submissions, including full/short papers, posters, Systematization-of-Knowledge (SoK) papers, and Demos, which had been contributed to by 694 authors from 37 countries. In addition, two workshops had been collocated with the main conference track, namely CryptoEx’23 and Crosschain’23. Out of these overall submissions, about 24.7% were from North America, 31% from Europe, 33.4% from Asia/pacific, 5.1% from Australia, and 5.8% from the rest of the world. While each paper had received at least three reviews, from the technical program committee consisting of 175 experts in total, overall, 130 papers (including workshops) were retained to appear in the proceedings in its different categories.

Through this rigorous process, the program compiled shows a very high-quality: only 33 full papers have been selected for the single-track program, corresponding to a competitive acceptance rate of 18.5%. Selected ICBC 2023 best-papers were invited to submit an extended version of their papers to Wiley’s International Journal of Network Management with a fast-track review process. Additionally, 5 SoK papers, 25 short papers, and 27 posters have been accepted to the conference program. Moreover, 10 demo papers were accepted. The conference program was also enriched with three panel discussions by experts selected from among the attendees and from local industries. Those panel topics on “Blockchain for Post-Quantum AI and Security: How much help it may bring?,” “CBDCs — Will they ever happen? When? In what form?,” and “Are Private Blockchains Dead?” interested, in all cases, a very large set of attendees, who participated actively in those discussions as well.

Award presentation to Stephan Tai, Keynote Speaker, from left to right: Moayad Aloqaily, MBZUAI, Abu Dhabi, James Won-Ki Hong, POSTECH Korea, Stefan Tai, University of Berlin, and Adel Ben Mnaouer, Prince Sultan university, Saudi Arabia

The general feedback on ICBC 2023 from the audience attending was extremely positive. Lots of words of praise and satisfaction were expressed by the attendees to the organizing team which made us happy and proud of the achievement. Valuable goodies were presented to all the attendees and the in-kind contribution of Dubai Tourism is again duly acknowledged.

The student support team receiving public recognition, from left to right: Adel Ben Mnaouer, Prince Sultan University, Saudi Arabia, Mohammed Faieq, Ayman Samsudeen, Issraa and Hajer Ben Mnaouer, David Bourne, Canadian University Dubai, and Moayad Aloqaily, MBZUAI.

The next station of the IEEE ICBC will be the beautiful city of Dublin in Ireland. We wish the organizing team success for the IEEE ICBC’24.