Telr, a payment gateway provider of payment gateway solutions provider has been granted in-principle approval for the Retail Payment Services & Card Schemes (RPSCS) License from the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates (CBUAE). According to Telr blog this is a pivotal moment in Telr’s journey towards revolutionizing the digital payment landscape in UAE.

Khalil Alami, Founder & CEO of Telr, said: ‘I am thrilled to have achieved this historic milestone. This milestone is not just a reflection of Telr’s dedication but also of the dynamic and innovative spirit of the UAE’s fintech landscape. We are deeply honored by the UAE Central Bank’s trust, and we remain committed to pioneering digital payment solutions that elevate businesses and drive economic growth across the region.’ Alami added, ‘With great pride, we will continue empowering businesses on their journey to success while further cementing the UAE’s esteemed reputation as a leading payment hub in the region’.

Telr’s mission is to build connections that remove fragmentation in the e-commerce ecosystem, enabling customers to transition to cashless transactions and digitize the payment acceptance process. Telr has focused on empowering businesses to expand globally since 2014 through its one-stop-shop approach, offering a wide range of services for the e-commerce sector, including secure payment options, real-time monitoring, and specialized business solutions.

Telr has also introduced Telr Split Payments, a service that simplifies the reconciliation processes for UAE merchants. Additionally, Telr has launched Telr Finance to provide quick access to business capital.

Established in 2014, Telr, the UAE-based award-winning payment gateway solutions provider, offers a unique platform that enables payment handling in over 120 currencies and 30 languages in the UAE and KSA with the highest level of security. Through a single integration, Telr grants access to every payment method, including Visa, Mastercard, American Express, UnionPay, JCB, Apple Pay, PayPal, SADAD, Mada, STC Pay, and urpay.

Last month Telr announced its partnership with Fils, an ESG-focused digital infrastructure fintech which utilizes blockchain technology.

CASHIN Saudi Arabia, a POS and digital payments fintech provider and UAE based Fils, a blockchain enabled empowering climate-positive transactions, have partnered to empower CASHIN KSA’s extensive network of merchants across the kingdom, comprising a significant share of the market, to integrate Fils’s blockchain enabled enterprise-grade payments platform. Through this collaboration, merchants will gain the ability to accurately track their environmental impact, mitigate their carbon footprint with high-quality carbon credits, and transparently report their progress.

This partnership represents a significant milestone for Fils, which, following its successful ventures with other market leaders in the region, is now expanding its footprint in Saudi Arabia. By leveraging CASHIN KSA’s extensive market reach and established presence, Fils is primed to accelerate its growth trajectory and advance its mission of embedding climate positivity into every transaction.

“Our collaboration with CASHIN KSA underscores our commitment to advancing sustainability in the financial sector and aligns perfectly with our mission to empower businesses to embed climate action into their operations,” said Nameer Khan, CEO of Fils. “Together, we are not only driving positive environmental change but also supporting the climate goals of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, contributing to a greener and more sustainable future.”

According to Omar AlRammah, CEO of CASHIN KSA, this partnership exemplifies the company’s dedication to sustainability and innovation: “Our collaboration with Fils marks a significant step forward in our journey towards a more sustainable future. By integrating Fils’s cutting-edge technology into our payments infrastructure, we are advancing our commitment to environmental responsibility and paving the way for a greener financial ecosystem.”

Ripple Blockchain cross border payments provider has partnered with Commercial International Bank (CIB) in Egypt to leverage XRP for faster, secure and cost effective transactions in the remittance sector.

This strategic alliance aims to revolutionize the way cross-border payments are conducted, leveraging Ripple’s cutting-edge technology and the digital currency XRP to enhance international remittance services. The collaboration, heralded by industry experts, signifies a major leap forward in financial innovation and efficiency.

This collaboration follows Ripple’s announcement to increase its activities in the United States, signaling a broader strategy to cement its position as a leader in blockchain technology and digital currency. The alliance with CIB, one of Egypt’s premier financial institutions, is particularly noteworthy as it positions the bank as the second major Egyptian bank, after the National Bank of Egypt (NBE), to embrace Ripple’s technology for cross-border transactions.

Prominentmember of the Ripple community on the X platform (formerly known as Twitter), Wrathofkahneman,  published the news that fintech heavyweight Ripple Labs has onboarded another major customer, sharing a link to the 2024 Fintech Report, Egypt.

The report states that Commercial International Bank (CIP) based and operating in Egypt is now collaborating with Ripple to integrate its blockchain technology in order to “enhance the efficiency of cross-border payments.” He wondered whether the bank will also integrate the XRP token itself as part of its collaboration with Ripple.

As per the recent report by law firm Shehata & Partners, CIB integrated Ripple’s technology to transform cross-border transactions.

After the confusion and speculations surrounding the situation of UAE based Hayvn a digital asset focused financial institution, providing trading, asset Management, custody, and payments, Ahmed Ismail, Board Member & Co-Founder clarified a few facts to set the record straight and bring hope that the future is bright for Hayvn, and for the digital asset scene.

First and foremost Ismail firmly and unequivocally stated that client funds are totally safe and have not been touched and as such Hayvn continues to serve its clients with the utmost professionalism and care. He explained to LaraontheBlock, “Clients funds are safe globally. All our client’s funds are safe wherever they reside.”

Secondly the company under the intern leadership of Tim Grant ,CEO, Deus X Capital, Stuart Connolly CIO, Deus X Capital & HAYVN Board member and Ismael himself, are currently cleaning up house, setting their strategies for the company and looking to hire a CEO to replace Christopher Flinos.

Ismael stated, “We are firmly committed to Hayvn and to its success. Sometimes things don’t go as planned, yet despite this Hayvn is doing well. Its revenues were up in the past month and we are looking forward to hiring a new CEO to replace Flinos.”

In terms of the technical and technology issues in Hayvn, Ismael reaffirms that technically all things are running smoothly. He admits that there were glitches when they were migrating to the new platform, yet clients were made aware that this might happen and all things were handled and dealt with according to the highest modes of professionalism.

In terms of its regulatory status, Ismael reaffirms that Hayvn continues to be a globally regulated business through their entities in Australia, Cayman Islands and Lithuania.

In the final analysis while Hayvn has gone through a tumultuous experience, that doesn’t make it a failure yet. Companies throughout history have gone through ups and downs but what makes them survivors are the team of passionate dedicated individuals behind them.

If Binance, whose reputation and growth stemmed from one person, its founder and CEO CZ, and who had this year to face the SEC (Securities and Exchange Committee) and come out still alive and kicking, there is hope for digital asset, crypto companies everywhere.

2024 will be a pivotal year for Hayvn and its team; they will either come out stronger than before having learned from past mistakes and experiences, or they will fall into oblivion. Those following Hayvn closely for such a long time, can only wish them the former outcome.

Ripple Blockchain and crypto solutions provider has partnered with Onafriq, fintech payments entity, previously known as MFS Arica to offer digital asset enabled cross border payments in Africa, GCC ( Gulf Cooperation Council) countries as well as UK and Australia.

Onafriq utilizing Ripple payments, will open three new payment corridors between Africa and the rest of the world. In GCC Onafriq will be working with Blockchain enabled Pyyple fintech payments entity.

Antti Arponen, CEO at Pyypl, said: “The success of the GCC in drawing in people from all over the world to live and work here has made it a hub for remittance payments. So we are really pleased that our ever-increasing number of customers seeking to send money to Africa will greatly benefit from our new connection with Onafriq, which will allow them to send remittances quickly and cost-effectively to the continent. ”

The partnership is bringing faster, more efficient, and cost-effective international money transfers to Africa, and is set to accelerate financial inclusion across the continent.

“For a number of years, Ripple has supported crypto-enabled, cross-border payments to individuals and businesses, and we are particularly excited to expand the reach of our solution into Africa thanks to our Onfriq partnership,” said Aaron Sears, SVP, Global Customer Success at Ripple. “Connecting our partners PayAngel, Pyppl and Zazi Transfer with Onafriq over Ripple Payments will bring the benefits of faster and more cost-effective cross-border payments to individuals seeking to send money into Africa from around the globe.”

Onafriq has the largest mobile money movement footprint across Africa at a time when mobile money is a significant driver of financial inclusion and has revolutionized access to financial services across the continent. The fintech’s payment hub connects over 500 million mobile wallets across 40 African countries, and operates across more than 1300 payment corridors on the continent, underpinning regional payment interoperability and seamless cross-border payments.

The announcement is being made as Dare Okoudjou, Founder & CEO of Onafriq, is set to appear at Swell Global 2023, the seventh edition of Ripple’s annual customer conference, which this year takes place in Dubai.

Dare Okoudjou, Founder & CEO at Onafriq, said: “Our mission is to make borders matter less when it comes to payment within, to, and from Africa. We are advancing this mission through our partnership with Ripple, which is already enabling new types of connections with fintechs such as PayAngel, Pyppl and Zazi Transfer. These connections are set to enable fast, secure and low-cost remittances at scale between Africa and the rest of the world, and represent a bold first step for our crypto strategy to leverage blockchain technologies to amplify our impact on people and businesses on the continent.”

Standard Chartered’s , venture arm SC Ventures, an innovation and fintech investment arm has partnered with Japanese SBI Holdings to establish a Digital Asset Joint Venture investment company in UAE. The parties intend to capitalize the vehicle with $100 million. The company will invest in DeFi, tokenization, consumer payments and metaverse.

The Digital Asset Joint Venture plans to make investments ranging from seed to Series C funding with a focus on investing globally.

Alex Manson, CEO, SC Ventures stated in the press release, “The region is fast becoming a hub for fintechs in the digital asset space due to its strengthening infrastructure and talent. The Digital Asset Joint Venture will be an important vehicle to explore the emerging digital asset ecosystem opportunities globally. The Joint Venture will leverage SC Ventures’ experience in digital assets through our ventures such as Zodia Custody and Zodia Markets, and through our investments in FinTech like Ripple and Metaco.”

In May 2023, Standard Chartered signed an MOU with the Dubai International Financial Centre to collaborate in the digital asset space, including digital asset custody. That same month, SC Ventures exited its stake in Metaco SA, a Swiss-based tech firm offering critical software infrastructure that enables institutions to issue, secure, manage and trade digital assets. U.S. crypto firm Ripple acquired Metaco for US$250 million in its first major acquisition. Ripple is a SC Ventures portfolio company.

“Our Digital Asset Joint Venture plans to make strategic and minority investments in areas such as market infrastructure, risk management and compliance tools, DeFi, tokenization, consumer payments, and the Metaverse. This is one of several strategic initiatives and we will continue to invest and expand our footprint in the region as well as across the digital assets ecosystem,” Manson added.

“We are thrilled to announce our partnership to establish a Digital Asset Joint Venture in UAE together with SC Ventures and bring to bear the collective capabilities of both our organisations in the digital asset space,” said Yoshitaka Kitao, SBI Holdings, Inc. Representative Director, Chairman, President & CEO. “This initiative further solidifies the strategic relationship between SBI Holdings and SC Ventures following our investment forays into SC Ventures’ portfolio companies including Solv, Zodia Custody and myZoi.”

“We congratulate SC Ventures and SBI Holdings on their drive to help shape the future of finance as they forge ahead with their first Digital Asset Joint Venture in Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). In a world where the conversation around digital assets has rapidly evolved from ‘why’ to an eagerly anticipated ‘when,’ DIFC stands at the forefront of regulation, having meticulously tailored its ecosystem to foster an environment that nurtures investment, fuels exponential growth, and drives innovation,” said Salmaan Jaffery, Chief Business Development Officer, DIFC.

Saudi’s fintech entity Geidea just announced that it has partnered with UAE based Blockchainenabled payments platform Magnati, and FAB ( First Abu Dhabi Bank) to offer digital payments in KSA, this comes after Geidea had partnered with Blockchain payments platform WadzPay in 2022.

As per the recent announcement, The collaboration has the potential to be transformative in the Saudi payments space and is set to create exceptional value for clients, bridging the gap between advanced financial solutions and accessibility, while ensuring enhanced affordability, said the statement.

With a focus on innovation and technology, Magnati offers Payment as a Platform services that cater to a wide range of industries and businesses, encompassing integrated payment solutions, secure transaction processing, and comprehensive e-commerce solutions.

Launched in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 2008, Geidea provides over 700,000 payment terminals (POS) across the region and serves over 139,000 trusted merchants including regional and international brands, SMEs as well as e-commerce players.

Magnati CEO Ramana Kumar said the Geidea collaboration is a testament to its commitment to serving the clients’ expansion goals in Saudi Arabia. Kumar added, “Together, we aim to revolutionise the payment landscape by introducing innovative solutions, seamless integrations, and unparalleled customer experiences. Leveraging Geidea’s innovation and Magnati’s fintech expertise, we are poised to unlock the full potential of digital payments.”

Geidea Chief Business Officer Abdullah Alshowier expressed delight at the strategic alliance sealed with FAB and Magnati to support clients in Saudi Arabia. “This collaboration will empower merchants with Geidea’s state-of-the-art payment solutions, seamlessly accepting a wide spectrum of digital payments through a unified platform. We are enthusiastic about collaborating with FAB and Magnati to drive innovation, amplify services, and extend our collective presence in the GCC region,” he added.

In June 2022 Magnati had launched its MetaV, a virtual marketplace that that provides users with richer visual and sensory information, as well as improved quality of information to shop, learn, play games, attend concerts and more online.

The platform built on Magnati’s blockchain aims to accelerate the move from two-dimensional to multi-dimensional online commerce by enabling consumers to experience e-commerce in a new, immersive way.

Prior to that Geidea had expanded its operations into the United Arab Emirates and through a partnership with  Magnati.

But this is not the first partnership between Geidea and a blockchain enabled payments platform. Prior to this in November 2022, Geidea partnered with UAE based WadzPay,a blockchain enabled payments platform as well.  Geidea utilized WadzPay technology for the issuance of an e-money wallet, specifically for Hajj and Umrah, to be used in over one million point-of-sale (POS) terminals deployed across multiple merchants throughout the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

WadzPay blockchain-based payment solutions allow Hajj and Umrah pilgrims to set up their own e-Money wallets on their mobile devices to be used for their expenses. Once the wallet is loaded, the pilgrim is ready to spend in Saudi Arabia with lower transaction fees and a user-friendly refund process.

The product is in final live testing and will be licensed soon. According to a tweet last week by WadzPay community member, “ We are getting closer to launch in KSA as licenses ad testing are in the final stretch. Q3 will see live terminals on WadzPay platform.”

So Geidea is moving forward with enabling blockchain digital asset payments from two major players in the region.

In a recent LinkedIn post, the UAE Ministry of Finance praised Fintechs and technologies such as AI Big Data and Blockchain and their role in redefining payments stating in a video that the launch of digital dirham soon. The digital dirham project is the CBDC project being developed within the Central Bank of the UAE.

As per the post, “Fintech, the cutting-edge integration of digital technology into financial services is reshaping the future of finance. From AI to Big Data and blockchain, fintech innovations optimise investments and redefine payments.”

In the video the UAE Ministry of Finance states, “ The UAE has started its digital currency strategy and the digital dirham is on the way!”

In April 2023, it was announced that R3 was chosen by UAE Central Bank as its technology partner to design and build a CBDC for the first phase of the central bank’s CBDC project because it is a permissioned based DLT (Distributed Ledger Technology) that decentralize assets privately and works well in regulated industries, but more importantly is its interoperability and asset fluidity. R3 will not only assist UAE’s Central Bank in developing a CBDC but also in tokenizing financial and non-financial activities, in addition to the digitalization of other financial services.

The Central Bank of UAE announced on March 23rd 2023 that it had commenced the implementation of its CBDC strategy in partnership with technology entities, UAE based G42 Cloud and Blockchain global solution provider R3. R3 then followed this with its own press release on April 4th 2023 explaining on the UAE Central Bank CBDC project including as well Clifford Chance who will be providing critical legal oversight for the strategy. 

Blockchain technology offers tremendous potential for the banking and financial services industry, and it’s estimated to create $3.1 trillion in new business value by 2030 across all sectors.

79% of those in financial services believe that blockchain and digital assets will be important to the industry over the next two years. 

It would seem that the UAE Ministry of Finance is preparing and readying the public for the launch of UAE’s CBDC the digital dirham, 

In Ripple’s latest report entitled “ 2023 New Value report, Crypto Trends in Business and Beyond” which covered topics such as cryptocurrencies, tokenization, DeFi, and crypto custody, financial decision makers from MENA ( Middle East and North Africa) are more bullish than their counterparts in other regions when it comes to cryptocurrencies, digital assets, and Blockchain.

As per the report findings, 72% of finance leaders surveyed expressed increased confidence in the crypto industry over the last 6 months, the number is even higher for those in the MENA region, reaching 87%.

90% of global finance leaders anticipate big impacts on business from blockchain and digital assets in the next three years. In terms of tokenization,they see the most massive impact in public stock trading and private share trading. This was especially expressed by finance decision makers with cryptocurrency experience in MENA.

In addition, global finance decision makers predict CBDCs and stablecoins will have a massive impact across business, finance  and society. This sentiment is particularly strong among  those with cryptocurrency experience, and those based in the LATAM and MENA regions.

When the Ripple report compared these results to last year’s survey, they saw that no only do  more respondents expect significant or massive impact of digital currency on business, finance and society,but they expect this to happen within a shorter period of time.

In other words, impact from these digital currency technologies is and will continue to accelerate at a faster clip. Specifically, respondents appear particularly bullish on the overall impact of digital currencies on payments. Nearly half (46%) of all respondents think stablecoins will have the largest impact on cross-border payments, and anticipate the largest impact of CBDCs to be on consumer-to-business payments (39% of financial institutions) and cross-border payments (41% of enterprises).

Many are either somewhat or very likely to begin using cryptocurrencies, CBDCs or stablecoins in their business in the next three years, and are confident that the technologies can meet their business needs. Once again, Ripple saw that respondents in  LATAM and MENA ranked slightly higher than those in other regions, and particularly those decision makers at financial institutions who work in roles related to digital transformation, blockchain/cryptocurrency, and innovation.

Overall, Latin America (LATAM) is more bullish on enterprise and institutional use of crypto for business followed by the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), then North America (NA), Asia Pacific (APAC) and Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

The report also noted that more financial institutions are interested in instituational DeFi due to pain points around borrowing, raising capital which many see that DeFi can help solve. In addition high interest rates currently outweight other borrowing related pain points by a pretty significant margin everywhere except in MENA, where credit approval requirements were ranked as the primary pain point.

According to the report, these findings are reflective of the current state of the global economy, and that’s reinforced when one compares these results to last year’s data when interest rates were lower, and thus ranked lower on the list at that time.

Another significant technology being looked into by financial decision makers is Decentralized digital identity (DID). The vast majority (90%) think DiD will have a significant or massive impact on Banking, Financial Services and Insurance in the next three years, especially finance leaders in LATAM and MENA.

Even those in treasury, capital markets, payments, and institutional banking are bullish on the technology as it pertains to Banking and Financial Services, falling within the 90% response rate and above for significant or massive impact. Surprisingly, finance leaders in those more traditional roles ranked slightly higher than those in innovation, which is somewhat counterintuitive.

When it came to crypto custody the report found that while a greater proportion of respondents at financial institutions (compared to their enterprise counterparts) currently use crypto custody in their business, in general across all respondents it was found that a total of 35% are currently using a custody solution and 54% plan to within the next three years. Additionally, most companies currently or planning to use crypto custody will do so via a managed custody approach outsourced to a third party.

The vast majority of global finance decision makers (upwards of 88%) believe that crypto and blockchain will have either a significant or massive impact on business, finance, and society over the next three years.

Over half of global respondents cited that they already have a cryptocurrency solution in place at their company, or are in the process of implementing one. Upwards of three-quarters indicate an openness to using or exploring other crypto technologies over the next few years (e.g. CBDCs, stablecoins,NFTs, etc.)

Despite the general positivity, uncertainty and barriers to adoption like privacy concerns, lack of clear regulation, risk management and price volatility are still present.

Cross-border payments and consumer-to-business payments are the top two most highly ranked use cases for both CBDCs and stablecoins.

Enterprises are particularly bullish on the use of NFTs for business in the metaverse and events/ticketing. Over 80% of global finance leaders are somewhat or very likely to use cryptocurrencies, CBDCs and/or stablecoins in their business in the next three years.

Ease of use is far and away the most important requirement for organizations to enable customers to pay with crypto. Faster payments/settlement times and cost savings are the biggest value propositions for incorporating crypto into cross-border payments for enterprises and payments/treasury professionals at financial institutions—regardless of region and level of familiarity with crypto.

Top reasons to hold a cryptocurrency are for use as a currency for making payments, and for use as a hedge against inflation.  Interest rates and cost-related concerns are key blockers for borrowing, raising capital, and making cross-border payments.

According to a survey of global institutional clients commissioned by BNY Mellon and conducted by Celent, 97% agree that tokenization will revolutionize asset management and be good for the industry. They also found that 88% of investors are comfortable utilizing a digital representation of currency like stablecoins or tokens.

The majority (72%) of finance decision makers expect to explore tokenization as a way to drive innovation over the next three years, especially those at financial institutions who currently have or are in the process of implementing a cryptocurrency solution at their organization.

In terms of assets that would benefit the most from tokenization 63% of respondents said online security of data, 50% said stocks.

UAE money exchange company, Ferg ( Foreign Exchange and Remittance Group) CEO has stated that the company as well as other money xchanges will start to accept crypto after Central Bank regulations are out sometime at the end of 2023 or early 2024. 

Adeeb Ahamed, Vice Chairmen of Ferg and managing director of LuLu exchange stated, “We are constantly in conversation with the Central Bank and waiting for the regulations. The Central Bank understands the use case of cryptos – CDBC (central bank digital currency). Cryptos is something that has definitely been taken up by the world. It needs to be part of the payment ecosystem. We are very sure that with the regulations coming out by the Central Bank, we will also start accepting.”

Ahamed expects regulations around digital currency are likely to come out later this year or early next year.

These statements were made on the sidelines of Ferg’s Techno meet 23 in Dubai UAE.

Ahamed added that exchange houses could no longer be content by being traditional models of doing business. “In the fast era of digitalisation, it is very important that we find partners that make the journey of customers much easier.