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.

UAE Emirates NBD Bank announced on LinkedIn that it has partnered with PWC and digital asset custodian and settlement provider FireBlocks to launch its Digital Asset Lab. PWC Middle East and Fireblocks will be founding council members.

According to Emirates NBD, “This marks a new milestone in our innovation journey, and together, we look forward to shaping the Digital Asset space in the region.”

Fireblocks is an enterprise-grade platform delivering secure infrastructure for moving, storing, and issuing digital assets. The company enables businesses to easily and securely support digital assets and cryptocurrencies.

In February of 2023, Fireblocks acquired First Digital, a stablecoin and digital asset payments technology platform for $100 million.

UAE based Emirates NBD has been a strong proponent for Blockchain and digitization. Emirates NBD was one of the first banks to join the UAE blockchain enabled KYC platform.

In 2022 UAE Emirates NBD Group Chief Operating Officer Abdulla Qassem, stated, “It is only a matter of time before Blockchain technology rises to the forefront in the UAE and we begin to acknowledge crypto and digital assets as valid currencies. He made this statement during a panel session at the Global Business Forum Latin America (GBF LATAM 2022).

Could this be the beginning of crypto transactions and wallets at Emirates NBD, we will just have to wait and see.