Visitor's at DED. Dubai Economy, along with six banks has formed a consortium for sharing of verified Know Your Customer data between banks and licensing authorities in the UAE. Image Credit: Gulf News archives

Dubai: Dubai Economy, along with Emirates NBD, Emirates Islamic, HSBC, RAKBank , Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) and Commercial Bank of Dubai (CBD), has formed a consortium for sharing of verified KYC (Know Your Customer) data between banks and licensing authorities in the UAE.

The new ‘KYC Blockchain Consortium’ will facilitate a faster, more secure on-boarding and exchange of digital customer data and documents through advanced blockchain-powered distributed technologies, a first of its kind in the region.

“Our strategic alliance with banks to launch the first KYC blockchain platform in the UAE is an important step towards continuing to attract investors to this market,” said Ali Ibrahim, Deputy Director General of Dubai Economy said.

“The platform will offer a digital ‘Instant Bank Account’ functionality, allowing for faster and less cumbersome onboarding journey with banks and significantly improving the experience of new investors looking to establish themselves in the UAE,” he said.

The consortium will drive the mutualisation of KYC efforts among existing and future ecosystem participants on a common platform. The KYC platform will launch in the first quarter of 2020 at which point it will open for additional qualified financial institutions and licensing authorities to join.

Ease of doing business

The future vision is for the Consortium-run ecosystem is to serve the greater good by improving ease of doing business as well as overall regulatory compliance in UAE. Smart Dubai in collaboration with the UAE Central Bank will play a pivotal role in overseeing and regulating the Consortium operations.

“Smart Dubai has made significant headway in its plans to embrace advanced technologies and tailor them into services that ensure better quality of life and higher levels of happiness for all of the city’s residents and visitors. Blockchain is a breakthrough of particular importance for us; we see in it tremendous potential to streamline services and operations, saving time, money, and resources for everyone involved – individuals, companies, or governments,” said Wesam Lootah, CEO of the Smart Dubai Government Establishment.

With the launch of the KYC Blockchain platform, authenticated and validated KYC data of companies will simultaneously be shared with financial institutions of their preference. This will expedite the opening of a bank account for newly registered companies and reduce the burdensome and costly requirements of managing KYC data for already registered companies. This is in stark contrast to the status quo, whereby multiple paper-based KYC files are redundantly originated and managed in silos.