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Dubai International Financial Centre and Mashreq Bank Launch Blockchain-Based KYC Platform for Licensed Business in the Region


Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and Mashreq Bank has launched Middle East’s first Blockchain-based KYC platform developed by fintech firm Norbloc to allow licensed businesses and corporation to open a bank account instantly.

The DIFC announced the launch in a press release published Sunday, March 1. According to the DIFC, this data sharing platform is the result of consortium formed back in July 2019 between DIFC and Mashreq Bank.

According to the announcement, the Proof of Concept blockchain protocol called Fides is developed by DIFC-incubated fintech firm Norbloc, whereas Gowling WLG drafted the legal agreements, and Deloitte supported Mashreq with governance and program management.

How It Works

The initiative aims to facilitate business in the Middle East. To accomplish this, DIFC prepares a KYC record during the corporate license application. Then, with the customer consent, the record is shared electronically via blockchain with Mashreq thus allowing instant accounting with the bank.

The platform is now live to make it and faster for new companies to do business in the UAE, removing existing paper-based KYC processes. The DIFC further said:

“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.”

The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), established in 2004, is one of Dubai’s independent economic free-zones and a financial hub for the Middle East, Africa and South Asia markets. The center offers companies 100% ownership without the need for a local partner and also, 50-year guarantee of zero taxes on corporate income and profits.

In collaboration with Mashreq Bank, the center, in accordance with UAE’s Blockchain Strategy 2021, is geared towards providing a more friendly environment to business in the region.

Arif Amiri, CEO of DIFC, commented:

“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.”

Ahmed Abdelaal, CEO of Mashreq Bank, 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.”

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