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The National Bank of Abu Dhabi has introduced real-time cross-border payments on a blockchain by integrating technology from industry firm Ripple. The offering will immediately benefit customers in the Asia-Middle East remittance corridor.

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Announced today, the NBAD laid claim to be the first bank in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region to go live with blockchain technology for real-time remittance. The new feature will facilitate its entire regional customer base with efficient, instant cross-border payments.

In statements, Vineet Varma, NBAD managing director and chief for global transaction banking stated:

With blockchain, we hope that we could address the needs of our customers and drive forward more efficient and flexible service. Embracing technologies like Blockchain is a step in the right direction for our customers.

The NBAD also has a marked presence in Malaysia, Hong Kong, China, South Korea and more recently, India – the largest receiver of remittance in the world.


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With the launch, bitcoin’s underlying technology sees yet another use case in the banking sector as the innovation gains further commercialization in 2017.

Ripple Blockchain Integration

The feature rollout is powered by integrating Ripple’s blockchain technology within NBAD’s existing infrastructure. The bank claims that customers will benefit from “end-to-end visibility of transactions” and will also see “the instant transfer of funds to a beneficiary” at lower costs compared to existing traditional cross-border payment services. With Ripple connectivity, transparency of the transaction process, near-instant delivery times and clear costs will “significantly progress” the existing cross border payments process, the bank added.

Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse added:

Banks and their customers have been hearing about the promise of blockchain technology to enable real-time cross-border payments.  Now…banks like NBAD are making this a reality by offering Ripple-enabled payments to their entire customer base.

Further, the executive sees 2017 as the year that will see “broad commercialization” of blockchain technology on a global scale.

NBAD’s presence in Asia will see real-time payments enabled in the Middle-East-Asia corridor.

As the largest lender bank in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi with assets of $178 billion, the NBAD is also the second largest lender in the United Arab Emirates and the largest by market cap among all UAE banks. Its footprint in a number of major Asian remittance markets including China and India could see a telling impact in the wider banking industry, one that could fast-track adoption of blockchain technology for core commercial offerings like payments for users.

NBAD’s Ripple-powered remittance offering comes after the UAE’s largest lender, Emirates NBD, announced a successful blockchain remittance pilot with Indian private banking giant ICICI.

CCN is communicating with the NBAD on its latest offering and will update the announcement with further details.

Images from Shutterstock.

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