The Advisory Council of the United Arab Emirates Banks Federation (UBF) discussed applying blockchain in its member banks, according to the Dubai-based English language newspaper Gulf News on Dec. 17.
The Advisory Council of UBF, a non-profit organization representing 50 member banks in the country, considered using blockchain to improve Know Your Customer (KYC) processes at entrant banks. UBF’s chairman, Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, claimed that the discussed initiative represents an effort to create and maintain a “thriving banking ecosystem.”
Participants also discussed issues pertaining to the country’s national digital transformation program and Emiratization — a government employment initiative to place its citizens in roles in the public and private sectors.
Aref Al Ramli, chairperson of UBF’s Digital Banking Committee, presented a blockchain-based study that explores the benefits of digitizing various processes within member banks via distributed ledger technology (DLT). The study has outlined a number of blockchain applications by banking institutions, including cross-border payments, compliance reporting, customer onboarding, and others.
Al Ghurair said that emerging technologies are “continuing to shape customer needs and expectations,” putting banking industry participants “at the forefront of innovations.” He also claimed that new technologies like blockchain can assist banks in creating new revenue streams, “which will in turn drive sustained business growth.”
In late November, the governmental AI and Blockchain Joint Working Group hosted an annual meeting that concluded with the launch of two initiatives intending to boost blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI) development. At the meeting, participants considered strategies to attract foreign investments and build a necessary infrastructure by using AI and blockchain.
Also in November, Abu Dhabi-based Al Hilal Bank announced it completed “the world’s first sukuk transaction” based on blockchain technology. Sukuk, a legal tool that is known as “sharia compliant” bonds, allows investors to generate returns in compliance with Islamic law.