Emirates NBD the creator of Liv, UAE’s first digital bank has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Ctrl Alt, B2B alternative asset solutions provider, to explore infrastructure solutions related to tokenization of real-world assets. The MoU was signed at the Dubai FinTech Summit by Marwan Hadi, Group Head of Retail Banking and Wealth Management at Emirates NBD and Matt Ong, Founder and CEO, Ctrl Alt.

As per the press release,digital Assets represent a trillion-dollar asset class and the opportunities for future innovation and market opportunities within it are considerable. Liv is enthusiastic about championing the next generation of investors and is collaborating with Ctrl Alt to ensure they remain at the forefront in offering diversified and sought-after products. With the support of Ctrl Alt’s infrastructure, Liv aims to explore avenues to grant their customers access to the burgeoning tokenized asset sector.

Several surveys have indicated changing investment patterns amongst millennials and Gen Z. A report on Middle East Investment Trends by Lombard Odier indicated that younger investors hold strong, positive long-term investment convictions. Additionally, 60% also expressed a strong preference for private market assets, including private equity, private debt, real estate and infrastructure. Further, Gen Z are investing at a higher rate and earlier age than previous generations. According to an Oliver Wyman Forum survey, almost half of Gen Zers invest in the stock market and they are 45% more likely to start investing by age 21 than millennials and two to four times more likely than Gen X and baby boomers.

Marwan Hadi, Group Head of Retail Banking and Wealth Management at Emirates NBD, said: “Liv is the first bank in the UAE to explore offering tokenised real-world asset investing opportunities to customers, and we are delighted to co-partner with a leading infrastructure provider such as Ctrl Alt for this initiative. As the innovation incubator in Emirates NBD Group, Liv has always remained at the forefront of digital innovation, seeking to collaborate with partners to explore and experiment with technologies that are in demand globally and in the UAE.”

He added: “According to a report by the Boston Consulting Group, asset tokenization will expand into a USD16.1 trillion business opportunity by 2030. Coupled with the growing demand for alternative investment avenues from millennials and the next generation of investors, this represents an opportunity for us to explore the potential of this domain, aligning with our vision to be the most innovative bank for our customers, people and communities.”

Pedro Sousa Cardoso, Chief Digital Officer, Retail Banking and Wealth Management, Emirates NBD, said, “Tokenization is considered the future of financial markets, offering benefits such as lower costs and reduced settlement times. As pioneers in technology adoption in the region, we are actively exploring the tokenization space to maintain our competitive edge against more agile fintech companies. Our exploration of solutions related to tokenized real-world assets further builds on Liv’s aspiration to serve our Gen Now customers by providing a range of innovative and in-demand products to meet their financial needs.”

Matt Ong, Founder and CEO, Ctrl Alt, added, “At Ctrl Alt, we are passionate about providing accessible infrastructure solutions to the thriving tokenized asset sector from Digital SPVs to Fund Structuring.

We are really excited to be partnering with Liv who are paving the way for tokenized real-world asset investing. Liv truly represents the future of banking with its clear customer-centric focus on innovation and is waving the flag for the next generation of investors who are demanding diversification. We are excited about the opportunity that this partnership will bring to their customers and cannot wait for what is to come.”

Chainalysis the blockchain data platform, has joined Emirates NBD, digital asset Lab. Chainalysis, the blockchain data platform, will join professional services firm PwC, digital asset transfer and direct custody technology platform Fireblocks, and R3, an enterprise Distributed ledger technology platform, as founding council members of the Lab.

According to the press release, Chainalysis’ expertise in blockchain analysis and compliance will strengthen the Digital Asset Lab by contributing to the development of innovative financial products and services that are compliant and secure.

As a national bank known for innovation, Emirates NBD plans to leverage Chainalysis’ analytics and investigative capabilities to further discern market trends and customer needs, while enhancing the integrity of the bank’s digital asset initiatives.

The strategic alliance demonstrates Emirates NBD’s commitment to upholding the highest standards of regulatory compliance in the rapidly evolving digital finance landscape.

Miguel Rio Tinto, Group Chief Digital and Information Officer at Emirates NBD, said, “As a leading local bank that has always been committed to innovation, Emirates NBD is proud to partner with Chainalysis and welcomes the company to the Digital Asset Lab to pave the way for pioneering solutions in the financial sector. By partnering with Chainalysis, the bank aims to provide a more transparent and reliable digital finance environment for customers, thereby fostering greater trust and confidence in the bank’s digital offerings.”

Nicola Buonanno, VP Southern EMEA at Chainalysis, added, “Financial institutions play a pivotal role in sculpting the future of digital assets, offering secure avenues for investor engagement with the right risk mitigation measures. Chainalysis is excited to collaborate with Emirates NBD through its Digital Asset Lab, leveraging its data and solutions to facilitate safe and transparent digital asset services. Together with the Emirates NBD, we aim to forge a resilient financial sector, fostering confidence and further advancing the UAE’s leadership in digital assets innovation.”

The Digital Asset Lab was announced in May 2023 at the Dubai FinTech Summit, with the goal of enabling and accelerating digital asset and financial services innovation in the UAE. As a bank committed to providing customers greater access to a wide range of financial products, Emirates NBD is establishing a robust platform with industry experts for the development of innovative ideas in financial services using digital assets and its underlying technologies.

The Lab focuses purely on digital assets and how underlying technologies can be leveraged to enable customers to effectively manage their financial services requirements in the evolving and dynamic environment of digital assets.