The material on this site is for financial institutions, professional investors and their professional advisers. It is for information only. Please read our Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy and Cookies before using this site. Please see our Subscription Terms and Conditions.


All material subject to strictly enforced copyright laws. © 2021 Euromoney, a part of the Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC.
Fintech

UAE hits its digital stride in KYC and blockchain

The UAE was already a fintech pioneer but Covid turned it into a leader. Banks and government agencies are furiously rolling out blockchain-backed services that do everything from seamless KYC checks to detecting fraud in supply chain financing.

Shoppers walk in front of Etisalat Telecommunication in Dubai Mall
Source: Hamad I Mohammed/Reuters.

When Norbloc was founded in 2016, it took a few years to find its feet. Headquartered in Sweden, the data expert, specializing in know-your-customer (KYC) technology, set out to sell its digital wares across western Europe.

“In our early days, we worked with banks in Sweden, Norway, Belgium and Greece, and found that not an awful lot of financial digitization was going on,” says the firm’s chief executive and co-founder, Astyanax Kanakakis. “Banks were very sceptical about working with each other, even though they are symbiotic in many ways.”

So, the following year, it switched track and headed to the United Arab Emirates, opening an office in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the region’s main financial hub.

Astyanax Kanakakism, Norbloc CEO_400.jpg
Astyanax Kanakakis, Norbloc

At first, things moved slowly. The firm worked on a digital pilot scheme with a dozen or so local and regional banks – but again it developed slowly, bearing little fruit.

Then came its big break. In early 2019, Norbloc was approached by DIFC and Dubai-based Mashreq Bank.


You have reached premium content. Please log in to continue reading.

Read beyond the headlines with Euromoney

For over 50 years, our readers have looked to Euromoney to stay informed about the issues that matter in the international banking and financial markets. Find out more about our different levels of access below.

SUBSCRIBE ONLINE TODAY

Unlimited access to Euromoney.com and Asiamoney.com

Expert comment, long reads and in-depth analysis interviews with senior finance professionals

Access the results of our market-leading annual surveys across core financial services

Access the results of our annual awards, including the world-renowned Awards for Excellence

Your print copy of Euromoney magazine delivered monthly

£73.75 per month

Billed Annually

FREE 7 DAY TRIAL

Unlimited access to Euromoney.com and Asiamoney.com, including our top stories, long reads, expert analysis, and the results of our annual surveys and awards

Sign up to any of our newsletters, curated by our editors

LOGIN NOW

Already a user?

We use cookies to provide a personalized site experience.
By continuing to use & browse the site you agree to our Privacy Policy.
I agree