Blockchain Trade Finance platform combating fraud, UAE Trade Connect has just added its 13th bank member. Invest Bank will be the 13th bank to join UAE Trade Connect which is paving the way for a secure, efficient and technologically advanced trade finance landscape.

Initiated in 2021 as a collaborative project between the banking industry and e& enterprise, UTC utilizes cutting-edge technologies such as blockchain, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and machine learning to offer a cloud-native solution. This solution enhances transparency by digitizing trade-related documents in real time, detects suspicious transactions, and prevents fraud.

Zul Javaid, CEO, Trade Connect said: “Invest Bank’s inclusion in the UTC consortium demonstrates our commitment to strengthening the UAE banking industry while also playing a fundamental role in advancing the nation’s digital strategy and contributing to its ambitious growth plans. Our platform is not just a technology solution; it serves as a driving force for economic growth and ensures enhanced risk management.”

Helmi Abdullah, Chief Wholesale Banking Officer, at Invest Bank said: “Joining UAE Trade Connect as a member bank is a significant milestone in our journey, as it reinforces our commitment to enhance our digital trade capabilities supports our growth of Trade Finance business in a secure and efficient manner. This decision demonstrates UTC’s dedication to raising banking standards in the UAE.”

As an official member, Invest Bank gains access to a robust system that validates trade finance transactions, identifies duplication, and combats potential fraud in real time. This empowers the bank to make informed lending decisions, increasing lending confidence and safeguarding funds.

The UTC blockchain platform plays a pivotal role in enhancing lending confidence and transparency, facilitating increased lending opportunities towards mitigating risks, enhancing operational efficiency, and validating invoice transactions worth over AED 170 billion equivalent to $46 billion while detecting multi-million-dirham frauds. UTC has made significant progress towards establishing itself as a national invoice registry.

UAE Trade Connect seeks to expand its offering to other banking entities in the region. In a recent LinkedIn post, Zul Javaid, CEO of UAE Trade Connect, the UAE’s first trade finance platform to combat fraud, announced that they had hired Wissam Massud to lead their international expansion. One of the countries on its list is KSA.

Blockchain trade finance platform for banks in the UAE, UAE Trade Connect, an e&enterprise company has announced that it has surpassed $27 million in transactions identifying interbank duplicate financing and preventing fraud attempts.

According to their LinkedIn post, “ This accomplishment serves as a testament to the unwavering dedication and commitment of the 12 leading banks in our consortium to combat fraud in real-time. As we move forward, we remain committed to continuously improving our platform’s capabilities and staying ahead of evolving #fraud tactics.”

UAE Trade Connect includes the following UAE banks, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, ADIB – Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Al Masraf, Commercial Bank of Dubai, Commercial Bank International, Dubai Islamic Bank, Emirates NBD, First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB), Mashreq Corporate & Investment Banking Group, National Bank of Fujairah, RAKBANK and United Arab Bank.

UAE Trade Connect  is seeking  to offer its solution to Saudi banking sector.

UTC, the fintech blockchain platform of e& enterprise, is the UAE’s first commercialized solution to combat fraud in the trade finance space built on advanced technologies, namely blockchain and Artificial Intelligence (AI). UTC is a collaborative project of the banking industry and co-created with e& enterprise. It was developed by UAE based Avanza Innovations.

In a recent interview with Qatar News Agency, the  Secretary-General of Qatar’s Research Development and Innovation Council (QRDI) Eng. Omar Ali Al Ansari affirmed that artificial intelligence (AI) science and the digital revolution related to “metaverse” and “blockchain” are among the most important technological transformations in the current era.

He believes that these technologies are important due to their contributions to the development of scientific research and innovation, through its ability to analyze huge amounts of data and process them faster and more effectively, which leads to the discovery of new patterns in the data and contributes to innovative scientific discoveries.

Al Ansari  added that  the digital revolution and Blockchain technology will provide new levels of security, transparency and security for information, which contributes to the development of methods of dealing with information and data, storing and exchanging them. It also enhances trust and cooperation and opens new horizons in this field.

As such the council aims to promote technological development by stimulating and nurturing talent, as well as expanding the knowledge of the research and development community in the areas of artificial intelligence, big data analysis, and others.

The Council endevours to  provide new opportunities for cooperation with relevant authorities from various countries of the world, with the aim of exchanging information and expertise and promoting scientific and technological progress.

According to Al-Ansari  the Council is about to launch a new program package to support innovation in the private sector, as part of the third national development strategy, where it provided new platforms and programs in order to explore innovation opportunities in a limited range of major national companies and some government agencies, which establishes the importance of adopting innovative solutions in order to build new competitive advantages to raise its production efficiency.

Al Ansari explained that QOI program has received, since its launch, more than 400 submissions from innovators across Qatar and the world,  all of which focused on the areas of health, energy, environment, transportation, education and smart cities, noting that the council announced during the past months that 9 companies won this grant.

In addition the Product Development Management Program, which is being implemented in cooperation with Qatar Development Bank, has attracted 25 participants from 11 small and medium local companies.  About 30 senior government employees (directors and heads of departments) from 10 ministries participated in the Government Innovation Leadership Program. (QNA) 

These statements come at a time where,  Qatar Genesis Technologies, the developers of the Maxya Blockchain platform, are holding meetings and workshops with banks in Qatar to learn from the experiences of fintech.

According to Mazen El-Masri Cofounder and CEO of Genesis Technologies in a LinkedIn statement, “ A banking-as-a-service approach can be adopted to expedite the move from the monolithic structures of legacy core banking systems into a lighter service-oriented banking solution stack. To achieve this transformation, it is now more important than ever for banks to partner with (or acquire) fintechs with solid innovations and at the same time exploit their existing assets to enable new sources of growth in their reconfigured banking value chain.”

He added, “ With the sponsorship of Qatar Central Bank, we enjoyed a great discussion with the banking sector in Qatar with over 50 attendees. We at Genesis Technologies LLC are enthusiastic about the coming banking/fintech partnership and we expect that it will bring to light the next generation of banks.”

Qatar has been strongly moving forward in its blockchain and digital asset strategy. It seems we will be seeing a lot in Qatar over the next few years.

UAE Trade Connect Blockchain enabled trade finance platform looks to offer its solution to Saudi banking sector. Zul Javaid, CEO of UAE Trade Connect expressed his interest in expanding the Blockchain enabled KYC Trade Connect platform to KSA.

This came as UAE Trade Connect participated at the Global Trade Review conference in Riyadh KSA in May of this year.

As per Javaid, “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a robust banking market, and we are very keen to bring our unique blockchain and AI based engine into the country to help banks de risk their trade finance lending.”

Javaid met with several leading Saudi banks at the event. Also present at the event in KSA was First Abu Dhabi Bank and Emirates Bank who are members of Blockchain enable UAE Trade Connect platform.

In February 2023, UAE Trade Connect added its 11th bank to the platform, the United Arab Bank. Prior to that Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) became the 10th bank to join Blockchain trade finance platform.

UTC, the fintech blockchain platform of e& enterprise, is the UAE’s first commercialized solution to combat fraud in the trade finance space built on advanced technologies, namely blockchain and Artificial Intelligence (AI). UTC is a collaborative project of the banking industry and co-created with e& enterprise.

UAE Trade Connect is a cloud-native solution that detects suspicious transactions, prevents fraud and duplication, and supports a wide range of trade-related documents that is validated and inspected in real time.

At the time, Shirish Bhide, Chief Executive Officer at United Arab Bank, stated, “We wholeheartedly support UTC’s mission of driving digital transformation and reducing fraud risks. This strategic partnership aligns with UAB’s mission to accelerate growth through digitization and to build a secure and transparent trade finance ecosystem. UTC’s benefits will not only protect UAB’s customers and the wider banking system but will also boost global trade. It is a pivotal event in the digitization space, with the potential to make trade financing more accessible, affordable, and equitable.”

The Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) released a press release where it confirmed that the Central Bank is continuing to experiment on Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDC).  SAMA is currently working on a project that focuses on domestic or national wholesale CBDC use case in collaboration with local banks and FinTech’s.

Experts explained to LaraontheBlock that this is a CBDC for local wholesale bank settlements. 

This project is part of SAMA’s ongoing research and experimentation on CBDC. SAMA is seeking to research and explore the economic impact, market readiness, and  potential robust and fast applications of a CBDC based payment solution. 

As per the news, SAMA seeks to review policy, legal and regulatory considerations before moving to the next phases of the CBDC journey to contribute to achieving the objectives of Saudi Vision 2030.

H.E. Fahad Almubarak, Governor of SAMA stated “Local banks and payment companies will always be a cornerstone of this project and its implementation, we have engaged both local banks and FinTech’s, as well as other market players and third party consulting and technology providers, to gain a better understanding of CBDC’s functionality and to test various design options.” 

Noted as well, is that SAMA will continue to experiment on CBDC solution as an infrastructure enabler of innovation in financial services that has the potential to contribute to a more resilient payment ecosystem and accelerate digital transformation in the local financial sector.

SAMA stresses that although no decision has been made regarding the introduction of CBDC in the Kingdom, it continues to focus on exploring the benefits and potential risks of implementing CBDC. This will contribute to informed decision-making within SAMA and to CBDC explorations within the central banking community.

Prior to this announcement, SAMA had hired Mohsen Al Zahrani as Head of Virtual assets and CBDC program. This seems to be the first fruit of efforts made. 

In 2020  SAMA successfully conducted CBDC experiment “Project Aber” in 2019, an initiative in collaboration with the Central Bank of the UAE to examine whether distributed ledger technology could contribute to seamless cross-border payments.

During the 2023 World Economic Forum’s session on Financial Institutions innovating under pressure, the Saudi Arabian Minister of Finance Mohammed Al Jadaan states that while CBDCs have privacy issues they are fantastic tool in developing countries.

Saudi Arabian, Saudi British Bank (SABB) is utilizing Contour Blockchain platform to enhance trade finance by improving letter of credit and guarantee procedures for enterprises and international businesses. SABB is working with local fintech entity Bwatech.

SABB is now the first bank in KSA to provide the ability to exchange commercial documents digitally, facilitate the procedures for letters of credit using a decentralized technology, and reduce dependency on paper documents and the time required for document settlement in commercial transactions. 

The Blockchain enabled Contour platform improves transaction security because the data that is shared on the network enjoys a high degree of protection and privacy, which reduces the risk of fraud.

The Bwatech platform boosts the automation of bank guarantees. This service aims to replace paper-based procedures with advanced technical methods by linking banks issuing these guarantees with their beneficiaries to expedite the implementation of the issuance and subsequent procedures.

Yasser Al-Barrak, SABB’s CEO of Corporate and Institutional Banking states, “We are extremely proud of the key role that SABB plays in the expansion and development of global trade, while contributing to our Kingdom’s economic and commercial development under Vision 2030. We are committed to make further progress in executing the bank’s digital transformation plans, in this instance to remove obstacles in Trade Finance, improve national trade flows and accelerate the pace of trade for companies operating in the Kingdom. To achieve this SABB is happy to leverage the latest technologies such as blockchain and is flexible enough to work with leading Fintechs. This will contribute to Vision 2030 goals to make the Kingdom a regional trade hub.”

SABB was the first bank in the KSA to complete an international trade transaction via Blockchain technology.

Contour blockchain has been working with various sectors across MENA to improve trade finance.

In early 2022 The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), and Egypt’s QNB AlAhli bank have facilitating three test letters of credit on the digital trade finance network Contour utilizing Blockchain enabled CargoX platform. The trial took place with QNB ALAHLI bank one of Egypt’s largest commercial banks, acting as issuing bank and the Blockchain enabled CargoX Platform used for electronic presentation of documents.

In September 2022 HSBC has executed a blockchain-enabled, trade finance transaction between Chinese car manufacturer SAIC Motor and the Taajeer Group, Saudi Arabia’s exclusive agent for MG cars. The transaction was conducted on the Contour platform and became the region’s first for the automotive sector.

Singapore based Contour blockchain launched in 2020  after a series of ground-breaking live pilots in 14 countries and a global trial with more than 50 banks and corporates, which reduced processing times for Letters of Credit by over 90%, from 5-10 days to under 24 hours for an industry of USD 18 trillion.