Stock - Emirates NBD \ ENBD
The programme will run for 10 weeks. Image Credit: Bloomberg

Dubai: Banking group Emirates NBD has launched a global accelerator programme for metaverse start-ups to enhance customer experience for the new virtual economy.

The project, in partnership with the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Fintech Hive, and powered by technology provider Microsoft, aligns with the Dubai Metaverse Strategy aimed at placing the emirate in the top 10 metaverse economies of the world, supporting more than 40,000 virtual jobs by 2030 and adding $4 billion to Dubai’s economy in five years.

Over the 10-week programme, DIFC Fintech Hive will evaluate and match Emirates NBD with leading start-ups offering unique propositions on the value creation, experience and technology stack required for the metaverse. This will culminate in a demo day at GITEX where the shortlisted participants will pitch their solutions for an opportunity to co-create engaging experiences for our customers in the new reality.

Commenting on the launch, Marwan Hadi, Executive Vice President and Head of Retail Banking at Emirates NBD said: “With our entry into the metaverse, we seek to reimagine financial services using extended reality and create compelling new propositions for our customers in the new metaverse economy.”

With 94 per cent of all financial transactions and requests conducted outside the branches, the bank is exploring new technologies in the web 3.0 world to expand its digital footprint and create immersive experiences for our customers.

“With the support of the DIFC FinTech Hive and Microsoft, Emirates NBD is looking forward to becoming a launchpad of innovative financial services in the metaverse, playing an active role in co-creating new experiences for our customers with innovative start-ups from around the world,” Miguel Rio Tinto, Group Chief Information Officer at Emirates NBD.

Analysts estimate that the metaverse will contribute up to $5 trillion to the global economy by 2030. The market value of NFTs is expected to reach $80 billion, while consumer spending on in-game purchases is reckoned to reach $75 billion by 2025. Recent studies show that the daily active users on Roblox, one of the leading global metaverse communities, has increased to 55 million. At the same time, 59 per cent of global consumers are keen to transition at least one of their everyday activities to the metaverse.