Dubai Economy and Emirates NBD go live with the UAE KYC Blockchain Platform

• Dubai Economy is now 100% production ready with all active trade licenses on the blockchain platform • Companies, primarily SMEs, are now able to onboard digitally, and instantly open a bank account via Emirates NBD’s E20 Digital Business Bank, which is in beta, by invitation only • The goal is to facilitate starting a business in UAE by creating a nationwide ecosystem enabling exchange of Know-Your-Customer (KYC) data between financial institutions and licensing authorities.

Dubai Economy and Emirates NBD announced the go-live of the UAE KYC Blockchain Platform, an initiative which facilitates secure digital customer onboarding, instant bank account functionality and sharing of verified KYC (Know-Your-Customer) data between licensing authorities and financial institutions via advanced distributed blockchain technology. This market leading initiative is powered by norbloc, a global leader in blockchain KYC technology.

The initiative, which was first announced in February 2020, is set to become a nationwide ecosystem for exchange of verified KYC data. The project is fully supported by Smart Dubai and the Central Bank of UAE who play a key regulatory role in the initiative. Meanwhile, Commercial Bank of Dubai, ADCB, HSBC, and RAKBANK are also set to go live very soon.

“We are very proud to announce that the UAE KYC Blockchain Platform is now production-ready with over 120 companies already instantly onboarded by Emirates NBD with active and operational bank accounts. This is one of the initiatives that contributes to Agenda Number One of Dubai Model which focuses on improving customer experience”, Omar Bushahab, CEO of Business Registration & Licensing (BRL) Sector in Dubai Economy, said.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 digitisation and paperless as crucial strategies that enable continuation and sustainability, especially during these challenging times, further enhancing ease of doing business in the country.”

“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 and of our remaining banking partners along with the official release of the Consortium Agreement that will govern the ecosystem and outline how data will be shared between Consortium Members. 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,” Bushahab added.

With the launch of Phase I, Dubai Economy 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 seamlessly pull data of their customers and receive real time updates made to customer data.

Abdulla Qassem, Group Chief Operating Officer, Emirates NBD commented: “Emirates NBD is 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.” He added, “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.”

“The UAE is one of the first countries in the world to implement a country-wide, blockchain based ecosystem for data sharing,” Astyanax Kanakakis, CEO of norbloc, said. “The commitment of Dubai Economy, leading financial institutions such as Emirates NBD, Dubai Government, and the UAE Government to this initiative demonstrates a proactive and ambitious mindset, and positions the UAE as one of the first countries taking significant measures towards creating a digital low touch economy with simplified processes ensuring that business can continue to thrive in the post-COVID environment.”

Mohammad Al Qaizi, Director of Information Technology in Dubai Economy, commented: “The launch of KYC Blockchain Platform, along with the Unified Business Registry (UBR) in Dubai, shows the blockchain ecosystem growing in line with the leadership’s vision and aspiration of improving the UAE’s global rankings, competitiveness and to build a seamlessly integrated paperless government framework. Companies can now choose to share their data, in real time, with the financial institutions of their choice, thus significantly reducing time and cost.”