• Consortium to govern streamlined customer onboarding and regulated data sharing between financial institutions and licensing authorities
  • Investors and entrepreneurs will benefit from expedited digital bank account opening, a value-add service to further enhance ease of doing business in UAE
  • Government leadership and support strengthens foundation for a nationwide ecosystem enabling exchange of KYC data between financial institutions and licensing authorities
  • Consortium will be fully complaint with Dubai Blockchain Policies issued by Smart Dubai as well as all applicable Central Bank of UAE regulations
  • norbloc is the technology provider enabling the ecosystem using its Fides blockchain platform
  • Dubai Pulse is the blockchain platform enabler and offers scalable platform to facilitate onboarding of more entities

Dubai: Dubai Economy, along with Emirates NBD, Emirates Islamic, HSBC, RAKBANK, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) and Commercial Bank of Dubai (CBD), has formed a consortium for sharing of verified KYC (Know Your Customer) data between banks and licensing authorities in the UAE. Part of the strategic focus of Dubai Economy on enhancing ease of business in Dubai and supporting the smart transformation of the emirate’s economy, the ‘KYC Blockchain Consortium’ will facilitate a faster, more secure onboarding and exchange of digital customer data and documents through advanced blockchain-powered distributed technologies, a first of its kind in the region.

“Our strategic alliance with banks to launch the first KYC blockchain platform in the UAE is an important step towards continuing to attract investors to this market,” His Excellency Ali Ibrahim, Deputy Director General of Dubai Economy said. “The platform will offer a digital ‘Instant Bank Account’ functionality, allowing for faster and less cumbersome onboarding journey with banks and significantly improving the experience of new investors looking to establish themselves in the UAE. This in turn will boost customer satisfaction as well as ease of doing business in the UAE as a whole.”

His Excellency added that the initiative aligns well with the leadership’s vision and aspiration of improving the UAE’s global rankings in ‘Doing Business’ and ‘Competitiveness.’ “We are excited to onboard some of the leading banking institutions to establish what will eventually become a nationwide ecosystem and we invite other financial institutions and licensing authorities to join in this initiative.”

The Consortium will drive the mutualisation of KYC efforts among existing and future ecosystem participants on a common platform. The KYC platform will launch in the first quarter of 2020 at which point it will open for additional qualified financial institutions and licensing authorities to join. The future vision is for the Consortium-run ecosystem is to serve the greater good by improving ease of doing business as well as overall regulatory compliance in UAE. Smart Dubai in collaboration with the UAE Central Bank will play a pivotal role in overseeing and regulating the Consortium operations.

His Excellency Wesam Lootah, CEO of the Smart Dubai Government Establishment, said: “Smart Dubai has made significant headway in its plans to embrace advanced technologies and tailor them into services that ensure better quality of life and higher levels of happiness for all of the city’s residents and visitors. Blockchain is a breakthrough of particular importance for us; we see in it tremendous potential to streamline services and operations, saving time, money, and resources for everyone involved – individuals, companies, or governments. It is due to this spirit the Smart Dubai Department has successfully delivered several projects and initiatives across all pillars of the Dubai Blockchain Strategy.

“Collaboration is a core tenet of the Strategy,” HE Lootah added. “We are happy to see a group of prominent and pioneering entities come together to establish the KYC Blockchain Consortium, bringing together respective datasets in a safe and secure manner to create a new and advanced service that helps investors and further improves ease of doing business in the UAE.”

With the launch of the KYC Blockchain platform, authenticated and validated KYC data of companies will simultaneously be shared with financial institutions of their preference. This will expedite the opening of a bank account for newly registered companies and reduce the burdensome and costly requirements of managing KYC data for already registered companies. This is in stark contrast to the status quo, whereby multiple paper-based KYC files are redundantly originated and managed in silos.

Through forming a consortium to launch the first KYC Blockchain Platform in UAE, Dubai Economy, Emirates NBD, Emirates Islamic, HSBC, RAKBANK, ADCB and Commercial Bank of Dubai have fully demonstrated their commitment and leadership to adopting innovative technologies with the objectives of better serving their customers and fulfilling regulatory obligations.

Abdulla Qassem, Group Chief Operating Officer, Emirates NBD, said, “We are delighted to be among the first partners of this significant initiative which will bring greater transparency and efficiency to doing business in Dubai. The consortium leverages Emirates NBD’s experience as a pioneer in digital banking, especially in the nascent field of blockchain verification, and is an important milestone towards boosting Dubai’s established credentials as a globally competitive centre for investors. As Dubai’s leading bank, we will continue to support such public-private sector collaborations that benefit the nation and its economy.”

“At RAKBANK, we are thrilled to be a part of the nationwide initiative created by Dubai Economy called ‘Instant Bank Account’ that aims to digitize the onboarding process, making it more seamless, secure and frictionless. The concept of a Blockchain-based KYC platform will optimize costs by enabling financial and banking institutions to deviate from the outdated process of identification verification and take full advantage of today’s blockchain technology that has the potential to be faster, easier, safer and more efficient than the traditional verification processes”, said Geoff Stecyk, COO, RAKBANK.

Dr. Bernd van Linder, CEO of Commercial Bank of Dubai, said, “We are delighted to join the first KYC Blockchain Consortium in the UAE, initiated by Dubai Economy, which will significantly improve the customer on-boarding journey and facilitate a faster and more secure digital KYC process using advanced blockchain-powered distributed technologies leading to enhanced ease of doing business in the UAE. CBD has always been committed to enhance the overall business climate and support investors in line with our ‘default digital’ strategy by adopting innovative digital tools and technology, providing them with innovative solutions and delivering a seamless banking experience.”

"At HSBC, the vast majority of our customers transact digitally and we see blockchain as a powerful tool able to benefit customers across the board – particularly here in the UAE, where we are once again helping set a new global standard in banking technology,” said HE Abdulfattah Sharaf, Chief Executive Officer UAE and Head of International, HSBC Bank Middle East Limited.

Mr. Saoud Al Jassem, Head of Government Banking, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, said, “As ADCB continues on its Digital Transformation journey, it is committed to accelerating the growth of the UAE economy through delivering meaningful innovation for its clients. The Blockchain KYC Production Platform will allow corporate clients to experience seamless registration and account opening and enhanced KYC capabilities.  Additionally, it will ensure the UAE, in line with the Vision 2021, is a world leader in terms of the ease of doing business in the country.  ADCB looks forward to working with the DED, norbloc and the consortium members to expand the Blockchain KYC Production Platform across the UAE.”

The Consortium has partnered with norbloc, a global leader in blockchain KYC, as the technology provider to enable the ecosystem through its Fides KYC Platform. Dubai Pulse, a joint initiative between Smart Dubai and du, is the government-certified blockchain platform enabler. The platform offers varied features including scalability and facility to onboard new entities, with capabilities for entity nodes to be hosted either on Dubai Pulse or on external infrastructure.

“The launch of the first UAE KYC Blockchain Platform is testament to the vision of the joining entities, and to their understanding that seamless, digital customer journeys are the future,” said Astyanax Kanakakis, CEO and Co-founder of norbloc. “Our platform Fides allows for the removal of regulated data silos, better compliance oversight and customer service. We believe this consortium will create a unified ecosystem for data sharing among all UAE financial institutions and establish the global standard for sharing of KYC data.”


Marwan Bin Dalmook Senior Vice President - ICT Commercial & Business Development – Enterprise Solutions at du, said: “At du, we are heavily immersed in unlocking the benefits of blockchain to empower government entities and enterprises in the UAE. With the launch of BPaaS, we have continued to illustrate proof points and use cases for how this formative technology can produce real world solutions to real world challenges. We are proud to be connecting the varied sectors in the UAE to the future of technology and we look forward to facilitating the KYC journey for dozens of more government entities.”


About Dubai Economy

Dubai Economy (Department of Economic Development – Government of Dubai) is the government body entrusted to set and drive the economic agenda of the emirate of Dubai, UAE. Dubai Economy supports the structural transformation of Dubai into a diversified, innovative service-based economy that aims to improve the business environment and accelerate productivity growth. Dubai Economy and its agencies develop economic plans and policies, identify and support the growth of strategic sectors, and provide services to domestic and international investors and businesses.

For further information on Dubai Economy, please contact:
Faisal Shamsudheen, Phone: +971 4 445 5927, faisal.pathiasseri@dubaided.gov.ae  

About Smart Dubai

Collaborating with private sector and government partners, Smart Dubai is the government office charged with facilitating Dubai’s citywide smart transformation, to empower, deliver and promote an efficient, seamless, safe and impactful city experience for residents and visitors. Smart Dubai is committed to a collaborative and agile approach to Dubai’s smart city transformation, empowering strategic partnerships with the public and private sector and academia to design and implement services and elevate citywide thought leadership, in line with its mission to make Dubai the happiest city on earth through technology innovation. 

About Emirates NBD

Emirates NBD (DFM: Emirates NBD) is a leading Bank in the MENAT region. As at 31st December 2019, total assets were AED 683.3 Billion, (equivalent to approx. USD 186 Billion). The acquisition of DenizBank represents a significant milestone for Emirates NBD with the Bank expanding its presence to 13 countries, servicing over 14 million customers. The Bank is ranked among the top 20 in the Forbes’ list of the World’s Best Regarded Companies, securing a leading spot among global brands.

The Bank has a significant retail banking franchise in the UAE and is a key participant in the global digital banking industry with 94% of all financial transactions and requests conducted outside of its branches. The Bank announced the creation of E20., a digital business bank for entrepreneurs and SMEs while Liv., the lifestyle digital bank for millennials continued to be the fastest growing retail proposition in the UAE. Emirates NBD was named ‘Best Digital Bank in the Middle East’ at the Euromoney Awards for Excellence in 2019, affirming the Bank’s status as a digital banking leader among its regional peers. 

The Bank has operations in the UAE, Egypt, India, Turkey, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Singapore, the United Kingdom, Austria, Germany, Russia and Bahrain and representative offices in China and Indonesia with a total of 979 branches and 4,150 ATMs / SDMs. The Bank has a large social media following, being the only bank in the Middle East ranked among the top 20 in the ‘Power 100 Social Media Rankings’, compiled by The Financial Brand for 2019. Emirates NBD is a major player in the UAE corporate segment and has strong Islamic banking, investment banking, private banking, asset management, global markets & treasury and brokerage operations.

Emirates NBD is an active participant and supporter of the UAE’s main development and community initiatives, in close alignment with the UAE government’s strategies, including financial literacy and advocacy for inclusion of People with Disabilities under its #TogetherLimitless platform. The Bank is recognised for the pioneering efforts in employee volunteering and corporate social responsibility by IMPACT2030, the corporate volunteering arm of the United Nations. Emirates NBD Group is a Premier Partner and the Official Banking Partner for Expo 2020 Dubai. For more information, please visit: www.emiratesnbd.com  

About HSBC

HSBC is one of the world’s largest banking and financial services organizations. We serve more than 40 million customers through four global businesses: Retail Banking and Wealth Management, Commercial Banking, Global Banking and Markets, and Global Private Banking. Our network covers 65 countries and territories in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa, North America and Latin America. We aim to be where the growth is, connecting customers to opportunities, enabling businesses to thrive and economies to prosper, and ultimately helping people to fulfil their hopes and realise their ambitions. Listed on the London, Hong Kong, New York, Paris and Bermuda stock exchanges, shares in HSBC Holdings plc are held by around 200,000 shareholders in 129 countries and territories. 


RAKBANK, also known as The National Bank of Ras Al Khaimah (P.S.C), is one of the UAE’s most dynamic financial institutions. Founded in 1976, it underwent a major transformation in 2001 as it rebranded into RAKBANK and shifted its focus from purely corporate to retail and small business banking. In addition to offering a wide range of Personal Banking services, the Bank increased its lending in the traditional SME, Commercial, and Corporate segment in recent years. The Bank also offers Islamic Banking solutions, via RAKislamic, throughout its 36 branches and its Telephone and Digital Banking channels. RAKBANK is a public joint stock company headquartered in the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah and listed on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX). For more information, please visit www.rakbank.ae  or contact the Call Centre on +9714 213 0000. Alternatively, you can connect with RAKBANK via twitter.com/rakbanklive and facebook.com/rakbank  

About ADCB

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) was formed in 1985 as a public shareholding company with limited liability, following the mergers between Emirates Commercial Bank, Federal Commercial Bank and Khaleej Commercial Bank, which was established in 1975. The Government of Abu Dhabi through the Abu Dhabi Investment Council (ADIC) holds 62.52% of ADCB shares; the remainder is held by other institutions and individuals. ADCB is the third largest bank in the UAE in terms of balance sheet size and offers a range of commercial and retail banking services to its customers. Additionally, it offers financial markets products in its local currency and USD to select customers to hedge market and credit risks associated with the banking services provided to them. 

About CBD

Commercial Bank of Dubai was established in 1969 and is registered as a Public Shareholding Company (PSC). The Bank is listed on the Dubai Financial Market and is fully owned by UAE Nationals, including 20% by the Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD). Over the years, Commercial Bank of Dubai has built itself into a progressive and modern Banking institution, endowed with a strong financial structure and strong management, as well as a loyal and ever increasing customer and correspondent base. Today CBD is one of the leading banks in the United Arab Emirates and offers its customers a full range of retail and commercial banking products and services.  

About norbloc

norbloc builds blockchain KYC platforms that enable individuals, organizations and regulators to effectively manage and securely share verified Know Your Customer data. Headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, the team behind norbloc holds significant experience in blockchain technology development and financial services. Financial institutions, governments and licensing authorities across the globe trust norbloc technology to enhance customer onboarding, increase data security and mitigate systemic risk.

About du

Operating under the steadfast umbrella of Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (EITC), du is an integral driver of the UAE’s economic, social and digital transformation. Thriving on digitally innovating all facets of the contemporary telecom experience, we touch the lives of millions of customers everyday as a dedicated enabler of connectivity, continuity and growth across consumer and enterprise segments. Whether delivering state-of-the-art Smart City infrastructure, bespoke enterprise ICT solutions, government communications, secure data solutions, or the very best in home entertainment and value, we are a reliable telco and ICT player shaping the future of communication for a more connected tomorrow.


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