UAE Dubai Economy and DIFC unify their Blockchain enabled KYC Consortiums

Dubai Economy and Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Authority agree  to consolidate efforts and expand the UAE KYC (Know Your Customer) Blockchain Consortium positioning it as the national corporate e-KYC Platform, making it the first such platform in the region. Previously both entities had launched seperate blockchain KYC consortiums both using Norbloc Blockchain platform. DIFC in March of 2020 had launched their initiative with Mashreq Bank, while Dubai Economy had launched with a handful of UAE Banks a month prior to DIFC.  Both DIFC and Dubai Economy had chosen to use the FIDES platform from Blockchain entity Norbloc. 

According to the recent announcement the unified UAE KYC Blockchain consortium will facilitate  faster, more secure and streamlined customer onboarding and allow sharing of verified e-KYC data between licensing authorities and financial institutions through advanced distributed technologies.

The founding Consortium Members include Dubai Economy, Dubai International Financial Centre, Emirates NBD, Emirates Islamic, Commercial Bank of Dubai, HSBC, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, RAKBANK and Mashreq Bank. The first phase went live in 2020 and more entities have joined since resulting in the platform holding close to 50 per cent of corporate e-KYC records in UAE. In a recent interview UNLOCK carried out with Commercial Bank of Dubai who recently went live on Dubai Economy’s platform, the KYC Consortium of Dubai Economy only covered business licenses that were onshore, adding DIFC is a way to include businesses in free zones. 

“This pioneering blockchain initiative demonstrates the rapid advancements in technology implementation made by Dubai Economy to facilitate and improve the ease of doing business in the Emirate of Dubai and across the UAE. The Government of Dubai Legal Affairs Department is proud to be one of Dubai Economy’s key strategic partners on this first-of-its-kind initiative for the region where we have provided and continue to provide legal support to Dubai Economy in their consolidation efforts with DIFC and the formation of the Consortium Agreement for the UAE KYC Blockchain Consortium,” Dr. Lowai Mohamed Belhoul, Director-General of the Government of Dubai Legal Affairs Department, said.

“Dubai Economy is focused on strengthening our digital economy and the launch of the UAE KYC Blockchain Platform in partnership with our key banking partners is a testament to our ambitions to transform Dubai into a global investment destination. Following its launch in 2020, the platform has become increasingly crucial not only in simplifying the procedures for opening bank accounts for investors, but also in enabling banks to digitally receive verified KYC data. This initiative has a positive impact in attracting business and on the global ease of doing business ranking of Dubai and the UAE,” said Abdulla Hassan, CEO, Corporate Support Sector, Dubai Economy.

Alya Al Zarouni, Executive Vice President of Operations at DIFC Authority, said, “DIFC has been at the forefront in positioning Dubai as the leading business destination in the region since its inception 16 years ago. We are looking forward to working with Dubai Economy to share best practices so we can collectively advance Dubai’s digital economy. Implementing a nationwide e-KYC solution will make it easier for new businesses to open accounts easily when they set up operations in the UAE and supports our leading position in the region for managing privacy and data protection to the highest international standards.”

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