The National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) announced that it has become the first bank in the Middle East and North Africa to introduce real-time, cross-border payments on blockchain, thanks to its partnership with Ripple, a U.S. company specializing in blockchain.
The NBAD now joins a growing list of banks around the world that have adopted the technology, including Santander, Standard Chartered and Unicredit. According to Reuters, Standard Chartered is also an investor in Ripple.
Ripple offers banks the ability to coordinate real-time payments across multiple ledgers to minimize risk as well as delays by using blockchain, which works as an electronic transaction–processing and recordkeeping system that allows all parties involved to track information through a secure network.
Ripple received $55 million in funding last year and has been steadily signing new clients across the globe ever since. Finextra reports that the United Arab Emirates is ranked as the fourth top remittance-sending country in the world, accounting for more than $19 billion.
“Banks and their customers have been hearing about the promise of blockchain technology to enable real-time cross-border payments,” said Brad Garlinghouse, CEO of Ripple. “Now, some of the most innovative and successful banks like NBAD are making this a reality by offering Ripple-enabled payments to their entire customer base and, in doing so, paving the way to make 2017 the year we see broad commercialization of blockchain take hold globally.”
At the NBAD, Ripple’s technology sits within the bank’s existing infrastructure, giving customers certainty of results and fewer delays with transactions, as well as minimizing the cost of cross-border transactions. According to Ripple, an estimated $1.7 trillion is spent on cross-border transaction fees each year.
“We’re always exploring new ways to enhance our customers’ experience,” said Vineet Varma, managing director and head of global transaction banking at NBAD. “With blockchain, we hope that we could address the needs of our customers and drive forward more efficient and flexible service.”