The National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) has introduced real-time payments leveraging blockchain technology from Ripple, providing a new approach for the bank’s UAE-based customers to send and receive payments across borders.

NBAD has adopted Ripple’s Distributed Financial Technology, which fits within the bank’s existing infrastructure, to enable faster cross-border payments with greater visibility and lower costs, the bank said in a Feb. 1 press release.

NBAD, the first bank in the region to partner with San Francisco-based Ripple, hopes the move will enhance customers’ experiences sending payments across borders, said Vineet Varma, NBAD’s managing director and head of global transaction banking, in the release.

“Banks and their customers have been hearing about the promise of blockchain technology to enable real-time cross-border payments,” noted Brad Garlinghouse, Ripple’s CEO, in the release, adding: “Now, some of the most innovative and successful banks like NBAD are making this a reality by offering Ripple-enabled payments to their entire customer base, and in doing so, paving the way to make 2017 the year we see broad commercialization of blockchain take hold globally.”

The UAE ranks sixth among remittance-sending countries worldwide, according to the World Bank.

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