UAE Emirates NBD bank chooses R3, the blockchain and DLT infrastructure provider as latest council member of its digital asset Lab. R3 will join PwC, a professional services firm, and Fireblocks, a digital asset transfer and direct custody technology platform, as the founding council members of the Lab.

R3’s Corda offers distributed application and tokenization platforms powering regulated digital finance. Only Corda offers a permissioned ledger, asset modelling capabilities and a multi-party workflow engine in one interoperable and scalable distributed platform.

By adding R3, Emirates NBD is strengthening the new collaborative ecosystem by leveraging R3’s regulated markets expertise to drive transformative advancements in digital assets, currencies and banking services. The new membership marks a pivotal step in Emirates NBD’s journey towards redefining the future of banking, using R3’s technology to enhance security, efficiency and customer-centricity.

Abdulla Qassem, Group Chief Operating Officer at Emirates NBD, commented: “We are pleased to welcome R3, a technology pioneer, to the Digital Asset Lab. The platform is significant to Emirates NBD’s innovation strategy as it serves as a testing ground for new financial technologies and digital assets. As a digital banking leader, the Lab demonstrates Emirates NBD’s commitment to stay at the forefront of innovation in a rapidly evolving financial landscape.”

David Rutter, Chief Executive Officer at R3, noted, “R3 is delighted to be partnering with Emirates NBD by participating in its new Digital Asset Lab. The region continues to go from strength to strength in global financial innovation, and the creation of the Lab marks another significant milestone in the growth of its burgeoning FinTech sector.”

The Digital Asset Lab launched in May 2023 at the Dubai FinTech Summit, with the goal of enabling and accelerating digital asset and financial services innovation in the UAE.

R3 has been expanding aggressively in the MENA region in the past months.

In a recent LinkedIn post, Henk Jan Hoogendoorn , Chief Financial Sector Officer at Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) Authority revealed that the digital assets framework that the authority has been working on will soon be launched along with the digital asset lab.

As noted, QFC is working with Price Waterhouse Cooper ( PWC) to finalize the digital assets framework and the launch of the digital assets lab.

As Hoogendoorn noted, “ We are working on digitalassets framework together with Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority (QFCRA) supported by the expertise of PwC .We are making good progress on preparation of Digital Asset Lab to be launched soon.”

Prior to this Qatar Financial Authority had taken several inititiatves towards advancing DLT, Blockchain and digital assets within the financial sector.

In May speaking to LaraontheBlock, Hoogendoorn stated, “We are developing our digital assets framework to allow for public tokenization of assets, including securities, bonds, and real-estate.” He emphasized that they will not go into crypto, NFTs (Non Fungible Tokens) or commodities at this time.

In addition Qatar Financial Centre Authority and Blockchain solution provider R3 signed an MOU to develop and grow Qatar’s fintech industry using technologies such as DLT (Distributed Ledger Technology), as well as an MOU with Blockchain entity Settlemint.

In August 2022 Qatar had released a national consultation paper about the “National Blockchain Blueprint for Qatar”. The paper was collaboratively developed by CRA, Hamad Bin Khalifa University, and Qatar University. The final version was released in March 2023.

Again it seems countries across the GCC and MENA region are embracing blockchain, digital assets, and to some degree virtual assets, the future is looking crypto bright.