|01 March, 2020

Dubai International Financial Centre and Mashreq  Bank launch instant Bank Account Opening with the region's first KYC Blockchain platform - Now Live

In continuation of the consortium formed back in July 2019 between DIFC and Mashreq, the initiative known as Know Your Customer (KYC), along with the DIFC incubated FinTech firm, norbloc, was unveiled as a market-first  of its kind in the Middle East

Arif Amiri - CEO of DIFC Authority

Arif Amiri - CEO of DIFC Authority

Dubai: Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and Mashreq today announced the region’s first blockchain data sharing platform, now live in production, to support licensed businesses and corporates opening digital bank accounts instantly.

In continuation of the consortium formed back in July 2019 between DIFC and Mashreq, the initiative known as Know Your Customer (KYC), along with the DIFC incubated FinTech firm, norbloc, was unveiled as a market-first  of its kind in the Middle East. DIFC and Mashreq took a strategic decision to harness this promising technology by focusing on a specific use case to enhance both the quality and integrity of corporate KYC information as well as quality of customer experience when opening bank account, which complement the ease of doing business in DIFC.

The platform is now live and available to all UAE-based corporates and banks. DIFC and Mashreq take the recent KYC consortium announcement forward and announce the region-first live connection, built on the same chosen platform norbloc Fides.

Growing from an initial “Proof of Concept” to confirm the possibility of using cutting-edge blockchain technology, the KYC platform is now ready and open to all licensing authorities and financial institutions in UAE to join DIFC and Mashreq’s live blockchain experience for full-scale adoption under a unified nation-wide umbrella. The platform will make it easier and faster for new companies to do business in the UAE, removing existing paper-based KYC processes.

Arif Amiri, Chief Executive Officer, DIFC Authority said: “As the leading financial centre in the MEASA region, we take great pride in continuously enhancing and evolving the DIFC ecosystem in order to provide a world-class environment for our partners and community to conduct business. This initiative provides financial institutions and businesses a platform in order to seamlessly undertake operations.  

“We place a high importance on strategic collaboration with industry-leading financial institutions as part of our commitment to Emirates Blockchain Strategy 2021 that will accelerate seamless transactions and improve the efficiency of working processes for Government entities and professionals at the Centre.

“As we enter a new period of growth and expansion, our core focus on FinTech and blockchain are major steps on our journey towards transforming the future of finance.”

Ahmed Abdelaal, CEO of Mashreq, said: “In a true milestone for the banking sector in the UAE, Mashreq continues to lead the way in implementing emerging technologies into practical use for our customers. The program aligns with the UAE Blockchain Strategy 2021, earmarking the beginning of a journey towards a broader vision of forming a Consortium of Banks, Government Bodies as well as other Licensing Authorities, for seamless sharing of customer KYC data, thus leading to increased transparency, added security and a better customer experience.” 

“As a digital leader, Mashreq will continue to innovate and elevate the banking experience for our customers and invest in solutions that make our operations more efficient and seamless, ultimately positioning the country as a global financial hub. The initiative also marks our commitment to fulfilling the vision of the UAE Banks Federation, Smart Dubai and UAE Central Bank to serve the greater good and promote ease of business,” he added.

This first-to-region digital account-opening product for businesses and corporates provided through partnership between DIFC and Mashreq, is a testament of the great potential of using blockchain technology. DIFC prepares the KYC record during the corporate license application and is shared electronically via blockchain with Mashreq, with customer consent, simplifying the process of opening a bank account. This single KYC solution for corporate entities, is a scalable ecosystem solution, available to all qualified financial institutions/licensing authorities and supports connectivity with other similar initiatives when they follow the footprints of DIFC and Mashreq into production.

As part of leading innovation in the region, DIFC and Mashreq transformed their business operations and IT platforms to ensure seamless connectivity between the two organizations and digitized the entire front and back end onboarding and KYC processes, to provide a true digital experience to customers.

To achieve this milestone, DIFC and Mashreq collaborated to define the business and operating framework, technical architecture, customer data protection schedules, Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery plan and set-up the blockchain connectivity. Norbloc provided the Blockchain platform (Fides), Gowling WLG assisted in drafting the legal agreements, while Deloitte supported Mashreq with the overall governance and program management.

As part of DIFC’s legal framework, its Data Protection Law embodies international best practice standards, and is consistent with EU regulations and OECD guidelines. It is designed to balance the legitimate needs of businesses and organizations to process personal information while upholding an individual’s right to privacy.

Based on the experience and learnings from the production implementation, DIFC and Mashreq have also conceptualized a consortium framework covering key tenets required for large-scale adoption by other participants joining the ecosystem. Key aspects around consortium governance (ownership structure, oversight, decision making process), business model (participation criteria, commercial model) and operating model (technical considerations, operating guidelines, change management, data confidentiality, dispute management, liabilities and indemnities etc.) are defined and ready for ecosystem scale up.

DIFC and Mashreq invites all other banks and licensing authorities to join the ecosystem and take advantage of the efforts and learnings to provide a seamless best-in-class experience to their clients. A new technology architecture that has the ability to be faster, more secure, more efficient than the current onboarding verification procedures with enhanced transparency.

For more information visit the DIFC self-registration portal: https://portal.difc.ae/clientportal/s/registerwithdifc 

-Ends-

About Dubai International Financial Centre

Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) is one of the world’s most advanced financial centres, and the leading financial hub for the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA), which comprises 72 countries with an approximate population of 3 billion and a nominal GDP of USD 7.7 trillion.

With a 15-year track record of facilitating trade and investment flows across the MEASA region, the Centre connects these fast-growing markets with the economies of Asia, Europe and the Americas through Dubai.

DIFC is home to an internationally recognised, independent regulator and a proven judicial system with an English common law framework, as well as the region’s largest financial ecosystem of more than 24,000 professionals working across over 2,300 active registered companies – making up the largest and most diverse pool of industry talent in the region.

The Centre’s vision is to drive the future of finance. Today, it offers one of the region’s most comprehensive FinTech and venture capital environments, including cost-effective licensing solutions, fit-for-purpose regulation, innovative accelerator programmes, and funding for growth-stage start-ups.

Comprising a variety of world-renowned retail and dining venues, a dynamic art and culture scene, residential apartments, hotels and public spaces, DIFC continues to be one of Dubai’s most sought-after business and lifestyle destinations.

For further information, please visit our website: difc.ae, or follow us on Twitter @DIFC.

Tarek Kiwan
Media Communications Manager, DIFC Authority
Tel: +971 4 362 2454
Email: tarek.kiwan@difc.ae 

About Mashreq

One of the UAE’s best performing banks for over five decades, Mashreq is a leading financial institution with an expanding footprint across the Middle East. We have international offices across Europe, Asia, Africa and the US, and a strong presence in the financial capitals of the world.

As the oldest bank in the UAE, our journey can be traced back to humble beginnings in 1967, followed by a phase of rapid growth and strategic expansion. Throughout its history, Mashreq has differentiated itself by pioneering new-to-market concepts and launching unique products and services. 

Our innovative approach with emphasis on best in class customer & employee experience sets us truly apart. It helps us deliver greater shareholder value and also continues to win us numerous  awards and accolades in all the fields of banking we operate in – Digital,  Corporate, Retail, International, Treasury, Emirati and Islamic, and across the multiple banking channels we deploy – mobile, digital, online and traditional channels.

For media enquiries, please contact:
Rana AlBorno                                                                      
Public Relations, Mashreq                                                
Tel: 04 –6083629                                                               
Email: RanaAlb@mashreq.com 

© Press Release 2020

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