Leading UAE banks joined hands in supporting the UAE Trade Connect (UTC) project that will make banking within the country safe and seamless for all. While still under development, these banks continue to adopt blockchain.
During the year 2020, the blockchain adoption has greatly increased in the land of the United Arab Emirates. This technology paves the way in providing solutions to how local banks in the country can cut their operational costs significantly. It also offers banks enhanced security to block unexpected fraudulent activities.
1. Emirates NBD (ENBD)
In July 2020, Emirates NBD (ENBD) became the first bank in the UAE to go live on the UAE KYC Blockchain, launched by Dubai’s Department of Economic Development (DED). This platform provides a secure digital customer onboarding and sharing system of verifying know-your-customer (KYC) data between licensing authorities via distributed blockchain technology.
This initiative was first announced in February 2020, aiming to build a nationwide ecosystem for verified KYC data. Playing an important key role in this initiative is the support given by Smart Dubai and the Central Bank of UAE.
In May 2020, RAKBANK partnered with Bank Asia, a third-generation private bank in Bangladesh. This is in line with the bank’s strategy to strengthen its cross border remittance and payment solution. The RAKMoneyTransfer (RMT) utilizes Ripple’s blockchain technology. With this, the bank transfers to Bangladesh can be done instantly.
Additionally, RAKBANK announced this year its partnership with BDO Unibank, a full universal bank in the Republic of the Philippines. The bank’s RMT will enable a seamless and secure money transfer to the Philippines with the use of RippleNet.
3. Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB)
In March 2020, the Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) launched the ADIB Direct eFX, a platform that enables the clients to use competitive foreign currency rates and execute on-demand transactions at any given point. This platform is said to enhance the ability of businesses to handle their finance locally and internationally.
A month after, ADIB is one of UAE’s financial institutions that has succeeded in executing trade finance transactions in a decentralized manner. It is made possible with its partnership with TradeAssets, a trade finance e-market powered by blockchain. With this collaboration, the bank can conclude transactions with bank counterparts successfully.
Similarly in March, the Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC), together with Mashreq bank, announced its launch of the region’s first blockchain data-sharing platform. The platform will support licensed businesses and corporates in opening their bank accounts without delay.
Furthermore, the bank also has partnered with the Dubai Land Department (DLD) to launch a new blockchain-based mortgage platform. This new project will act as a repository for Mashreq clients’ mortgage records in the future. It will also enable the DLD to check if the contracts are regulatory compliant and updated regularly.
5. National Bank of Fujairah (NBF)
Adding to March milestones, the National Bank of Fujairah (NBF) has also partnered with Ripple. This partnership enables the bank to send remittances across borders through the use of XRP’s blockchain.
It also provides an additional layer of security for real-time payment transfers. With this technology, the bank will be able to provide support to its ever-increasing customers in Asia.
6. Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB)
In a published report, the ADCB is the first bank in the UAE to complete a live end-to-end trade in blockchain. In September 2019, it successfully transferred goods amounting to $6.5 million from Canada to Bangladesh.
The bank is also known to be the first bank in the country to run blockchain through the dltledgers platform with full documentation. This enables its corporate clients to have greater confidentiality and faster access to cash.
UAE Banks in One Blockchain Platform
In 2017, a consortium of different banks was formed in order to prevent the risk of fraud across UAE and unexpected cyber threats. It is composed of First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB), Commercial Bank International (CBI), ADIB, ENBD, Mashreq, NBF, and RAKBANK.
Developed by the telecommunications firm Etisalat and tech company Avanza Innovations, UTC is expected to launch this 2020.