Emirates NBD, the largest bank in Dubai, has become the first bank there to have a blockchain project ready to go live. The blockchain project “Cheque Chain” aims to reduce cheque-related frauds in the region. A successful pilot project had been completed last year by Emirates NBD Future Lab. The bank is now said to be implementing a security – enhancing technology for its UAE customers.

The bank detailed how it will integrate blockchain technology into the new cheques, which will be easy to get authenticated and verified by the blockchain. Cheque Chain will require a QR code printed on each cheque leaf and the unique code on each of them can be read with electronic readers and stored in the ICCS technology systems of the bank. The staff can track the status of the cheque and processing will be done through this blockchain process.

As the group chief operating officer, Abdulla Qassem explained:

 “Emirates NBD is committed to exploring commercial uses for this innovative technology. After a successful pilot phase, we are pleased to roll out Cheque Chain to our customers nationwide, becoming the first bank in the region to offer this service. This initiative will significantly strengthen our risk and security management processes, particularly through the reduction of cheque fraud.”

The bank has already registered close to one million cheques using this technology in its first month and is now looking at the option of adding new banks and financial institutions in the UAE.

Embracing Blockchain

Dubai has been one of the most forward-looking cities in the world by embracing the blockchain technology proactively. Similarly, it has plans to set up a blockchain marketplace and also explores it for tourism. The blockchain marketplace has been given special consideration under Dubai 10X initiative promoted by the government to become a world leader in the near future.

Cryptocurrency companies are also realizing the potential and open environment provided by Dubai. In February, Ripple had tied up with UAE Exchange to make an entry into the Middle East market. The UAE Exchange is now part of the RippleNet Network to make use of blockchain technology for real-time payments.However, like all conservative regulators, Saudi Arabia’s Capital Market Authority has warned against indiscriminate investment in cryptocurrencies, as“investment, speculation, and participation in the initial offerings of digital currencies carries high risks”.