UAE bank NBAD offers blockchain payments after tie-up with Ripple

NBAD will allow customers to cut cost and speed through cross-border payments using blockchain technology. (Reuters)

National Bank of Abu Dhabi said on Wednesday it had become the first bank in the Middle East and North Africa to introduce real time, cross-border payments on blockchain, becoming the latest lender to use the technology.

Through a partnership with Ripple, a US start-up specializing in blockchain technology, NBAD said it would allow customers to cut the cost and speed of payments.

Several other banks have already partnered with Ripple, which uses the blockchain technology that underpins digital currency bitcoin to help banks speed up their dealings with one another, including Santander, Standard Chartered and Unicredit. Standard Chartered is also an investor in the company.

Blockchain works as an electronic transaction-processing and record-keeping system that allows all parties to track information through a secure network, with no need for third-party verification. 

Pilot project 

NBAD’s move follows an announcement in October by the UAE’s largest lender, Emirates NBD, that it was working with Indian bank ICICI on a pilot project to use blockchain technology for global remittances and trade finance.

The UAE accounts for more than $19 billion of remittances per year, ranking it fourth in the world, according to World Bank data.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:53 - GMT 06:53
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