Bahrain Bank First in MENA Region to Join R3 Blockchain Consortium

Bank ABC, an international banking group headquartered in Bahrain is the latest financial institution to join the global banking-centric blockchain consortium led by New York-based startup R3.

Bank ABC, formerly known as the Arab Banking Corporation, has become the first financial institution in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region to join the R3 blockchain consortium. The Bahrain-based bank joins over 80 global financial institutions among the member ranks at R3 to research and develop blockchain-based solutions in financial services.

“We are privileged to be part of this prestigious consortium of international banks and financial institutions, which is spearheading a pivotal change in the industry,” stated Sal Al Waary, deputy group CEO of Bank ABC in an announcement.

The executive added:

DLT and blockchain technology has added a new dimension to the evolving FinTech landscape and we are confident that this alliance will propel us further to achieve our strategic goals.


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A Hotbed

For R3, the addition of Bank ABC marks its presence in the region with its first member in the Middle East. Any introduction of blockchain-based financial services by Bank ABC could ultimately see the innovative decentralized technology put to use by a retail bank with services in a number of countries including Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria and Bahrain.

Earlier this year, Qatar-based Commercial Bank completed an international money transfer pilot over a blockchain, with the aim to enable cross-border remittances between a number of regional nations. Elsewhere in the Middle East region, the National Bank of Abu Dhabi – the Emirate’s largest bank – launched cross-border payments powered by Ripple earlier in February this year.

Nationwide Blockchain Adoption

Meanwhile, Bahrain could become one of the earliest nations in the world to incorporate blockchain technology on a national scale. Earlier this year, the country’s Economic Development Board, a government agency tasked with formulating the nation’s economic development strategy, hinted at plans toward a “country level” adoption of blockchain technology.

Revealing talks with representatives from the central bank of Singapore, Bahrain EDB CEO Khalid Al Rumaihi stated:

The ability for blockchain to be adopted at [a] country level is a huge opportunity for Bahrain to move into the spotlight as a pioneer in this space.