UAE Emirates NBD Group Chief Operating Officer, stated that it is only a matter of time before Blockchain technology rises to the forefront in the UAE and we begin to acknowledge crypto and digital assets as valid currencies. He made this statement during a panel session at the Global Business Forum Latin America ( GBF LATAM 2022).

This statement comes as the momentum for digital banking in Latin America has seen significant growth with growing collaboration between industry players in the MENA region, UAE and Latin America.

Leading financial and banking institutions from the UAE, Colombia and Mexico, revealed new insights into the development of the financial sector across the Latin America and Middle East regions, including discussions around blockchain, cryptocurrencies and digital assets.

The panel session titled ‘Promoting Digital Finance’ saw participation from Abdulla Qassem, Group Chief Operating Officer of ENBD Group; Eduardo Coello, Regional President of VISA Latin America and Caribbean; and Erez Zaionce, Executive Director of The Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Qassem spoke about the UAE’s position as a global financial hub, leading the way in embracing fintech development to future-proof the country’s financial services and effectively contributing to the growth of the local economy. Referencing the recent Dubai Virtual Asset Regulation Law and the Dubai Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA), he noted that such an advanced legislative environment will yield dividends in further accelerating the country’s rapid digital transformation in the finance, banking, and investments sectors – an outlook that is shared by the Latin America region.

“The UAE is a country blessed with a visionary leadership that encourages private and public sector to advance their digital journeys. Regulatory authorities like the UAE Central Bank, the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) have been active advocates for fintechs. Key global challenges revolve around governance and compliance, but it is only a matter time before blockchain technology rises to the fore in the UAE and we begin acknowledging crypto and digital assets as valid currencies,” he said.

For his part, Zaionce asserted the transformational power of blockchain, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Internet of Things (IoT) on investors and global markets.

“Adopting cryptocurrencies is the biggest technological advancement in the sector, as we see in the case of El Salvador who recently accepted crypto as legal currency. We look to examples like Dubai on how to move forward to overcome challenges in realizing synergies between the government and private sector. Latin America needs the window to go global, and there lies the biggest opportunity for the UAE: tapping into an untapped market that has yet to be explored by large-scale global players,” he said.

Coello recognised that as consumers go digital, they are creating opportunities for innovative financial services providers to disrupt the market.

“Democratizing the credit system in Latin America is where the money lies. We are keen to continue working with new governments – like the UAE – to shape technological, regulatory, and financial innovations,” he said.

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