Blockchain for Banking News

UAE shared Know Your Customer platform goes live using blockchain


Today Dubai’s Department of Economic Development (Dubai Economy) and local bank Emirates NBD announced that the UAE Know Your Customer (KYC) platform is now live. The purpose is to speed up the onboarding of new customers by enabling data to be shared by licensing authorities and between banks. Hence customers don’t have to enter all the data themselves.

The project involves a consortium that is overseen by Smart Dubai and the UAE Central Bank. Four other banks, Commercial Bank of Dubai, ADCB, HSBC, and RAKBANK are expected to go live soon.

Emirates NBD has already used the platform to onboard 120 companies as new clients. “This marks a key milestone in establishing a UAE-wide ecosystem for KYC data sharing and instant digital onboarding of companies by financial institutions,” said Omar Bushahab, CEO of Business Registration & Licencing (BRL) sector in Dubai Economy.

While customer onboarding is the priority, banks can also get updates on their clients’ status. All active Dubai trade licenses have already been migrated to the blockchain.

“Companies can now choose to share their data, in real-time, with the financial institutions of their choice, thus significantly reducing time and cost,” said Mohammad Al Qaizi, Director of Information Technology in Dubai Economy.

The technology provider is norbloc, which is now also involved in a similar shared KYC proof of concept being run by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.

As previously reported in more depth, the blockchain purely stores pointers to the data, with the data itself shared between the parties using norbloc’s p2p protocol. The underlying ledger is Hyperledger Fabric, but the solution has been tested with other major enterprise blockchains.

Asked about the legal liability issues of banks sharing data with other banks, norbloc CEO Astyanax Kanakakis previously explained that the process is often outsourced in any case, so there is a precedent for relying on contracts. The onus is on the recipient bank, which can choose to rely on the data. Kanakakis pointed out that even 30% less time spent on validation would be a major saving.

Apart from Sri Lanka, Australia is exploring the idea of shared KYC, as is a Spanish banking consortium, and Cambridge Blockchain.

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