EIBFS hosts conference on blockchain applications in financial services

United Arab Emirates, June 9, 2018

Emirates Institute of Banking and Financial Studies, EIBFS, recently hosted a conference on blockchain and its application in financial services that drew the participation of more than 170 senior professionals from the banking and insurance industry.

The event aimed to raise awareness about the Dubai government’s strategy on blockchain, its analysis of case studies of its implementation in banking, Islamic finance and insurance, and its outline of the future role of the technology in financial services in the UAE.

In his keynote speech at the conference, Dr. Sohail Munir, Advisor - Emerging Technologies and Digital Transformation at Smart Dubai, offered an overview of the practical implementation of blockchain in various sectors of the economy and presented a future outlook for the technology.

In the first session of the day, Simone Vernacchia, Senior Digital and Technology Consulting Director at PwC, highlighted the benefits of integrating blockchain in areas such as Know Your Customer (KYC), mortgages, settlements and smart contracts in banking.

Mohamed Roushdy, Head of Technology, Dubai Asset Management and founder of Fintech Bazaar, explored the opportunities for blockchain application in Islamic finance, illustrating how banks and other financial institutions can use the technology to foster financial inclusion.

Meanwhile, Anshul Srivastav, Chief Information Officer and Digital Officer at Union Insurance, in his keynote pointed out use cases implemented and examined the advantages and challenges of blockchain in insurance and other financial services such as digital identity, smart contracts, KYC and AML.

The conference concluded with a panel discussion, moderated by Utpal Nath, President of the Dubai Chapter of Government Blockchain Association. In addition to the above speakers, the panelists also included Amol Bahuguna, Head of Payments and Cash Management at Commercial Bank of Dubai who provided an alternative perspective on blockchain, stating that blockchain may not be able to change the payments landscape drastically in a short timeframe, as it currently lacks scalability compared to the existing solution provided by SWIFT, which is a tried and tested model implemented by banks globally.

Exploring the question: ‘Is blockchain disruptive for the financial services industry?’, the expert panelists concluded that while blockchain can be disruptive for the sector in the long term, the way forward for banks and insurance companies in the UAE is to follow the example of other countries and form a consortium that would enable them to collectively adopt this technology.

wam