Dubai’s Department of Economic Development Launches UAE KYC Blockchain Platform

Dubai Economy (Dubai Department of Economic Development or DED) and Emirates NBD, a leading banking group in the MENAT region (Middle East, North Africa, and Turkey), have announced the go-live of the UAE KYC Blockchain Platform.

The project is described as an initiative that facilitates secure digital customer onboarding, instant bank account functionality, and sharing of verified KYC data between licensing authorities and financial institutions via blockchain technology. The initiative is being powered by Sweden based norbloc blockchain KYC technology, according to a release.

First announced in February 2020, the KYC platform is said to be designated as a nationwide ecosystem for exchange of verified KYC data. The blockchain project is being supported by Smart Dubai and the Central Bank of UAE who plays a key regulatory role in the initiative.

Additionally, the Commercial Bank of Dubai, ADCB, HSBC, and RAKBANK are said to be preparing to go live with the service very soon.

Omar Bushahab, CEO of Business Registration and Licensing Sector at DED, said they are very proud to announce that the UAE KYC Blockchain Platform is now production-ready with over 120 companies already onboarded.

“This is one of the initiatives that contribute to Agenda Number One of Dubai Model which focuses on improving customer experience, ” said Bushahab. “This marks a key milestone in establishing a UAE-wide ecosystem for KYC data sharing and instant digital onboarding of companies by financial institutions. It is in alignment with the government’s vision around digitization and paperless as crucial strategies that enable continuation and sustainability, especially during these challenging times, further enhancing ease of doing business in the country.”

Bushahab said that Emirates NBD is the first banking group to go live on the platform with its initial use case covering E20, its digital business bank. The next milestone will be the go-live of Emirates NBD’s additional use cases.

“We are also in advanced discussions with a second wave of financial institutions and free zones to further expand the initiative, and we welcome the remaining financial institutions and free zones to join this effort,” added Bushahab.

According to DED, with the launch of Phase I the organization has migrated all active trade licenses onto the blockchain platform, representing over 40% of all active trade licenses in the UAE.

In addition to receiving new leads to open bank accounts, participating financial institutions are now able to leverage the blockchain platform to pull data of their customers and receive real-time updates made to their customer data.

Abdulla Qassem, Group Chief Operating Officer of Emirates NBD said they are delighted to be the first banking group in the UAE to partner and go-live with Dubai Economy on the UAE KYC Blockchain platform.

“Emirates NBD is a leading supporter of home-grown SMEs and start-ups who are key contributors to the UAE economy, and we are proud to announce our first live use case which enables SME customers to open accounts instantly through our E20. Digital Business Bank app. With multiple use cases covering both Emirates NBD and Emirates Islamic, this pioneering solution aligns with our shared commitment of making banking simpler for our customers, enabling them to focus on their business.”

Astyanax Kanakakis, CEO of norbloc, said the UAE is one of the first countries in the world to implement a blockchain-based ecosystem for data sharing.



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