The Hashgraph Association, the non-profit organization accelerating the broad adoption of the DLT ( Distributed Ledger Technology) network Hedera globally, has today announced a co-funding initiative with UAE based Seagrass, a climate action company and subsidiary of E.ON, one of Europe’s largest operators of energy networks and energy infrastructure. 

This initiative facilitates the building of the Seagrass Wallet, a proof-of-concept Web3 identity wallet that provides users with a decentralized digital identity and wallet that relates to their carbon projects. 

Seagrass which is based in Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) financial centre UAE holds a license to arrange trades in environmental instruments from ADGM’s Financial Services Regulatory Authority. Seagrass chose the UAE because of its position as the cross roads and stands where carbon credits are originated as well as demanded.

Seagrass aims to unlock the potential of the carbon markets and transform carbon finance, which can make an important contribution to the net-zero transition. This collaboration supports its goal of bringing together supply from certified projects with large-scale demand from buyers with ambitious climate strategies on a centralized marketplace driven by technology, transparency and integrity.

The Web3 identity wallet provides transparency on environmental, economical and project data to buyers and developers. Self-Sovereign Identity (SSI) architecture enabled by Hedera ensures users will have a decentralized digital identity and crypto wallet that is compliant with European standards. This leading-edge Web3 digital wallet creates, stores, and presents digital identities with verifiable credentials, alongside the storage and exchange of assets.

The digital identity would put users who had been onboarded by Seagrass in charge of their credentials, potentially allowing them to save time and reduce costs by interacting with other market participants without having to go through fresh due diligence or know-your-client checks.

The proof-of-concept has been designed to be compatible with Seagrass Carbon Map, a live application available to buyers and sellers on the Seagrass marketplace that provides users with sophisticated data on the impact of nature-based projects and enables deep, ongoing engagement between project developers and carbon credit buyers. Seagrass Wallet is currently in testing and will be made available to clients in 2024.

Thomas Birr, Chief Strategy and Innovation officer at E.ON and Managing Director of Seagrass’ shareholding company, said: “We’re proud to be partnering with The Hashgraph Association and Hedera on the use of Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) to unlock opportunities in the carbon markets via Seagrass.  I look forward to seeing its implementation and use in 2024.”

Kamal Youssefi, President of the Board of The Hashgraph Association, said: “As we build a vibrant innovative ecosystem for startups, enterprises, and government institutions around the world, we simultaneously focus on the realization of a net zero carbon future. Combining the power of Hedera’s DLT with Seagrass’ commitment to scale the carbon markets via liquidity, integrity, and digital access for all, it also builds value on the wider engagement with E.ON.”

It is not surprising that a Blockchain Fintech startup such as Abu Dhabi based Pyypl would raise $20 million in its Series B round from new and existing investors. Since its inception UAE based Pyypl with offices out of Hub71, has not only advocated financial inclusion but has built its technology to ensure it. It was name the one of the top 37 crypto startups to watch in 2022 by Techround UK.

About 22 per cent of the GCC’s population is unbanked, compared with 60 per cent in North Africa, according to a report by consultancy Strategy&.

Blockchain enabled Pyypl provides digital payments and financial services for all smartphone users to carry out online transactions, without the need for a bank account or credit card. 

Pyypl uses advanced Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) for regulatory compliance, Anti Money Laundering (AML) and Counter Terrorism Financing (CTF). They are a full blockchain-native financial services backend-platform, having developed the technology themselves.

Their platform conducts real-time Politically Exposed Persons (PEP) and sanctions (both country and individual) screening against latest and historical UNSC, USDT, FATF, OFAC, and EUCFSF records, as well as all local databases.

Initially Pyyple was regulated and operational in both Abu Dhabi ADGM in UAE as well as in Bahrain. On its website it states that it has received authorization in Kenya, Mozambique, Kazakhstan, and is in preparations to expand to other countries. On its website its posts that the company is currently preparing for operations in Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Tanzania, Oman, Qatar, Uganda, Namibia, Jordan and Kuwait. In previous months it began hiring in preparation for its Oman launch. Pyypl aims to be in 20+ markets within the next five years.

Through Pyypl’s platform, it is able to connect any smartphone owner into the formal financial system. Pyypl’s card services have been used by its rapidly expanding customer base at thousands of merchants globally, in over a hundred different currencies, by customers from over a hundred nationalities.

With connections to numerous global financial institutions facilitating cross-border money transfers, Pyypl’s solutions also cover many key remittance corridors in the region.

Pyypl recently became the first-ever company in the Middle East to deploy a “Blockchain On-Demand Liquidity” solution for its customer cross-border transfers, in partnership with Ripple, who also recently awarded the company with a prestigious “2021 Global Visionary” award . Earlier in 2021, Visa and Pyypl announced a Middle East and Africa Strategic Partnership Agreement, further positioning Pyypl as a leader in the region’s FinTech sector.  

With $78 billion in remittances in 2020 from Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates (UAE) combined, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is home to two of the top three remittance corridors in the world. The region is also undergoing a fast-moving shift to digital and boasts one of the world’s most progressive financial regulatory environments.

Prior to the recent $20 million Series B round, Pyypl had raised $18.5m in its Series A round from a diverse group of investors from Europe, the US, Asia and the Middle East, including UAE-based venture capital company Global Ventures. At the time, the Pyypl app had been downloaded 2 million times since its launch in 2021, with the company growing to 150 employees.

The latest round brings total investment to close to $40 million, the company said, and will enable it to expand across the Middle East and Africa (MEA) as well as product development and new features of the company’s proprietary technology.

LaraontheBlock had spoken to Antti Arponen, CEO of Pyypl on expansion plans in Oman. He noted, “Our latest fund raise from earlier this year is being used to turbocharge Pyypl’s growth in our core GCC markets and expand into new ones – including Oman. Oman and the GCC region in general, are very competent, top-grade jurisdictions globally. Yet the relatively high proportion of people who are financially underserved makes it ripe for FinTech innovation. Oman’s young, tech savvy population is demanding digital payment solutions that work globally, and Pyypl wishes to contribute to growing a financial ecosystem in the country that can meet these expectations.”

He added that ultimately Pyypl’s aim was to reach 1 billion smartphone users in the MEA region. He stated, “Pyypl’s fast and secure digital payments services are already available at the tap of a smartphone screen in multiple MEA markets. Ultimately, our aim is to reach the 1 billion smartphone users in the MEA region.”

Ahmed al Marjeby and Mahmood al Lawati have developed a blockchain enabled digital identity platform out of Oman. Nashid, the blockchain enabled digital identity platform is aimed to mitigate the risks of identity fraud. Nashid has also secured a pre-seed investment as part of the Techween program from Oman Technology Fund

As per the news, Oman based Nashid will allow users to access services digitally without visiting any service provider ever again.

In 2020 alone, identity theft and fraud cost over $700 billion in losses worldwide

The platform will allow the creation of a secure digital version of one’s identity and their attributes. The need for in-person verifications will cease, usernames and passwords will disappear, and a frictionless, online-only user journey will take place.

Nashid is powered by the Blockchain to maintain the truth of all digital interactions with high levels of online security and credibility. It also is fueled by encryption models of hash functions, digital signatures, and verifiable data structures and proofs to ensure security and uses asymmetric Cryptography to keep identities private using decentralized Identifier (DID) standards, and DID communications and methods

Marjeby, co-founder and CEO of Nashid, earlier founded two tech startups in the e-commerce and blockchain technologies, while Lawati, co-founder and CTO, has previous experience of founding a property tech startup.

In an interview, Lawati said, “Nashid as a digital identity platform powered by blockchain that allows service providers to verify new and existing customers digitally. Nashid also creates secure and reusable digital identities that are portable and verifiable. This mitigates risk of identity fraud, automates businesses’ ability to verify users digitally, and removes the need for in-person identity verifications.”

According to Lawati, Nashid is an enterprise-ready platform for businesses and a wallet app for end-users. The enterprise element allows service providers, banks and finance companies, telecommunications service providers, healthcare, aviation and oil and gas companies,  to verify users’ identities with seamless integration to their legacy systems and business processes.

Marjeby told LaraontheBlock when asked about what blockchain they were using, ” Apart from the platform itself, we are building our own blockchain governed by rules and parameters suitable for the Identity space and local regulations. Currently we are still in the final testing phased as we optimize and prepare for onboarding.” 

 End-users’ wallet app will ensure users have control and ownership of their identity information, and establish a clear ‘consent-based’ model of data exchange, which complies with local regulations and personal data protection laws.

 Lawait adds, “Nashid participated in the pitch competition at COMEX in June 2022 and was chosen as a Top 10 project by a powerhouse investment committee. Later, it secured a pre-seed investment as part of the Techween programme of Oman Technology Fund.”