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National Bank of Abu Dhabi Announces Cross-Border Payment Agreement With Ripple

Abu Dhabi’s leading commercial bank, the National Bank of Abu Dhabi, has announced a cross-border payment system in partnership with the blockchain startup Ripple.

The service will allow intra-bank transfers to be conducted through the bank’s platform via the blockchain, thanks to the collaboration that borrows from Ripple’s existing systems.

The announcement reflects the first major blockchain development to come out of Abu Dhabi, and the United Arab Emirates more generally. It comes after a year that has seen the UAE in particular take significant steps toward embracing the blockchain across a number of industries.

The bank’s managing director, Vineet Varma, said the move represents a step in the right direction for the bank’s customers, with a view to harnessing the cost saving and efficiency benefits made possible by the distributed ledger.

“We’re always exploring new ways to enhance our customers’ experience. 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 UAE has been keen to attract blockchain startups and investors alike, with a range of policies rolled out in recent months to improve the climate for developing distributed ledger technology.

In addition to banks, the Abu Dhabi stock exchange has also started to explore a blockchain-based system for improving the recording of transactional information. The technology could also be implemented in a range of other industries, with some projecting uses in fields as diverse as the charity sector, shipping and agricultural passporting.

Ripple has provided the technology behind the payments system. The real-time global payments company is working with a range of partners over payment system implementation, many of which could shape the future of financial transactions.

It comes at the outset of what analysts expect to be another productive year for blockchain technology, as companies move from research and validation to developing more widely usable solutions.