Emirates NBD launches Digital Asset Lab, announces founding council members

  • Founding council members include PwC and Fireblocks
  • The Lab aims to establish a robust platform with industry experts enabling co-creation and experimentation to drive innovation in financial services 
  • In line with the bank’s overall strategy of driving digital innovation, customer-centricity and adapting with evolving market dynamics 

Dubai, UAE: Emirates NBD, a leading banking group in the MENAT (Middle East, North Africa and Türkiye) region, has announced the launch of the Emirates NBD Digital Asset Lab, a platform that will enable and accelerate digital asset and financial services innovation in the UAE.

Through the Digital Asset Lab, the bank is establishing a robust platform with industry experts, enabling co-creation and experimentation for the development of innovative ideas in financial services using digital assets and its underlying technologies. The Lab focuses purely on digital assets and how underlying technologies can be leveraged to enable customers to effectively manage their financial services requirements in the evolving and dynamic environment of digital assets. The platform will enable global accessibility of subject matter experts and foster education and awareness for the Group and its customers while enhancing efficiency and ensuring security and transparency. 

Recently, at the Dubai FinTech Summit, the bank signed innovation focussed agreements with professional services firm, PwC, and digital asset transfer and direct custody technology platform, Fireblocks, as founding council members. 

The collaboration between parties is envisioned to focus on four key pillars including: 

  1. Strategy and Policy: Compliance, risk and security framework(s) for Web 3.0 technologies
  2. Architecture:  Business, technology and security reference architecture for Web 3.0 solutions
  3. Partners: Collection of Partners (technology, business and governance) who can support with the required systems and processes for Web 3.0 technologies
  4. Capabilities: Design, build and experiment new capabilities and value propositions related to Web 3.0 ecosystem

Abdulla Qassem, Group Chief Operating Officer, Emirates NBD, said: “As a front-runner of digital innovation, we are always looking to differentiate ourselves and stay ahead of the curve, especially when it comes to keeping pace with the dynamic digital landscape. The launch of our new Digital Asset Lab further consolidates our position as a digital leader and an innovator in the region’s financial sector. We are excited to collaborate with the best and most inventive names in the industry, to enhance our customers’ banking experiences.” 

He added, “Our new Digital Asset Lab serves as a hub for innovation, experimentation and collaboration in the digital asset space, supported by industry partners. We see this as another stride towards accelerating our transformation journey and developing the latest solutions that optimise customer experience.” 

Michael Shaulov, CEO and Co-founder of Fireblocks, said: “Fireblocks is thrilled to be a founding council member of Emirates NBD Group’s Digital Assets Lab alongside an illustrious group of leading digital innovators. The announcement marks another significant milestone in the region, creating a springboard for digital asset and financial services innovation and placing Dubai at the precipice of the new digital frontier.”

Stephen Anderson, PwC Middle East’s Strategy and Markets Leader, said: “PwC is proud to partner with Emirates NBD on the Digital Assets Lab to accelerate digital transformation in the region’s financial sector. As a leading advisor in this space, we bring deep expertise, innovative solutions, and strong connections into the fin-tech start/scale up ecosystem. Together, we will co-create cutting-edge solutions that enhance the customer experience and drive inclusion and innovation, while maintaining our commitment to trust and responsibility.”

About Emirates NBD:

Emirates NBD (DFM: Emirates NBD) is a leading banking group in the MENAT (Middle East, North Africa and Türkiye) region with a presence in 13 countries, serving over 17 million customers. As at 31st March 2023, total assets were AED 782 billion, (equivalent to approx. USD 213 billion). The Group has operations in the UAE, Egypt, India, Türkiye, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Singapore, the United Kingdom, Austria, Germany, Russia and Bahrain and representative offices in China and Indonesia with a total of 874 branches and 4,144 ATMs / SDMs. Emirates NBD is the leading financial services brand in the UAE with a Brand value of USD 3.89 billion.  

Emirates NBD Group serves its customers (individuals, businesses, governments, and institutions) and helps them realise their financial objectives through a range of banking products and services including retail banking, corporate and institutional banking, Islamic banking, investment banking, private banking, asset management, global markets and treasury, and brokerage operations. The Group is a key participant in the global digital banking industry with 97% of all financial transactions and requests conducted outside of its branches. The Group also operates Liv., the lifestyle digital bank by Emirates NBD, with close to half a million users, it continues to be the fastest-growing bank in the region.

Emirates NBD contributes to the construction of a sustainable future as an active participant and supporter of the UAE’s main development and sustainability initiatives, including financial wellness and the inclusion of people of determination. Emirates NBD is committed to supporting the UAE’s Year of Sustainability and is an early supporter to the Dubai Can sustainability initiative, a city-wide initiative aimed to reduce use of single-use plastic bottled water.