This platform is set to become a nationwide system for exchanging verified customer data.

Dubai’s Department of Economic Development, or DED, and state-run bank Emirates NBD are rolling out their so-called UAE KYC Blockchain Platform.

120 local firms already signed up for the platform with Emirates NBD

First revealed in February 2020, the new blockchain platform is designed to unlock digital customer onboarding, instant bank account functions, and verified KYC data sharing between licensing authorities and financial institutions. Announcing the news on July 28, the DED and Emirates NBD said that the platform has over 120 companies already on-boarded by the bank with active bank accounts.

According to the announcement, Emirates NBD is the first bank to go live on the platform at launch. The bank will primarily work with small and medium-sized enterprises, enabling them to on-board digitally. They will also be able to instantly open bank accounts through Emirates NBD’s E20 Digital Business Bank.

During the first stage of the project, Dubai Economy moved all active trade licenses onto the blockchain platform, amounting to more than 40% of all active trade licences in the UAE.

The project aligns with the government’s vision around digitization

As previously reported, the new project is supported by major local authorities. These include the Central Bank of UAE and the government-backed innovation office, Smart Dubai. According to DED and Emirates NBD, the platform will soon feature a number of banks including Commercial Bank of Dubai, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, HSBC, and RakBank.

Omar Bushahab, chief executive of the business registration and licensing sector at DED, highlighted that the UAE KYC Blockchain Platform is in line with the government's call for digitization. He 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 digitization and paperless as crucial strategies that enable continuation and sustainability.”

The UAE has emerged as a major global jurisdiction in recent years with a welcoming stance towards the blockchain and crypto industries. Earlier this year, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank reportedly became the first Islamic bank to execute trade finance distribution transactions using blockchain technology. Abu Dhabi Global Market, an international financial centre and free zone, is reportedly preparing to launch crypto asset trading in 2020.