Commercial Bank, a private Qatari bank has revealed the successful completion of an initial blockchain pilot enabling international funds transfers with a number of banks in the region and beyond. The offering could have a significant impact on outward remittances in a country that houses a large population of working immigrants from a number of regional nations.
Doha-based Commercial Bank, which lays claim to being Qatar’s first private bank, has announced the completion of a blockchain pilot in partnership from its regional alliance. Hosted on a cloud-based blockchain, the platform sees participants in a number of banks including ABank in Turkey, Oman’s National Bank and the United Arab Bank in the UAE, alongside other unnamed banks in Egypt and India.
Commercial bank operating chief Samir El-Sheikh stated:
Blockchain allows us to enhance our client experience through creating efficiencies and reducing costs for international remittances and trade finance.
Enhanced automation, increased transactional security, accuracy and speed are all underlined as benefits of the blockchain-based money transfer platform by Commercial Bank. Further, the bank promises to offer users real-time bank-to-bank international transfers at significantly lower costs due to the lack of intermediaries or clearing authorities in a common ledger.
Having seen success in the pilot phase, the bank confirms it will look toward gaining the required regulatory approval from Qatar’s central bank. Further, the bank says it will engage stakeholders to extend its closed (private) blockchain network with banking partners in other countries. High-remittance corridors are targeted in particular, including the likes of the Philippines, Nepal, Egypt, Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates.
“Blockchain has huge potential to change the financial services sector and we are proud to be the pioneers in leading this charge in Qatar by introducing yet another new technology to provide the best client experience for all our customers,” added Commercial Bank chief executive Joseph Abraham, underlining the bank’s objective to deploy blockchain-based remittance commercially for its customers.
Regionally, the National Bank of Abu Dhabi, launched Ripple-powered blockchain cross-border payments in February this year.
Notably, the second phase of the blockchain project will shift its focus on trade finance transactions. The objective is to transform a traditionally exhaustive, paper-intensive, inefficient manual process into a paperless, transparent, automated flow.
Beyond remittance, the trade finance sector is seeing rapid development and deployment of blockchain-based solutions as tech giants, banks, and even governments see the innovative technology ushering in a transformative change in a significant industry that enables global trade.
Other notable blockchain efforts toward trade finance are shaping up in Dubai and Hong Kong, spurred on by their respective governments. Swiss commodities trading giant Mercuria has already completed a trade transaction involving a crude oil shipment from Africa, sold to a Chinese petrochemical giant earlier this year.
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