The Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates (CBUAE) is taking significant steps towards the full launch of its central bank digital currency (CBDC) known as the digital dirham. As announced on March 23, the CBUAE has signed an agreement with Abu Dhabi-based G42 Cloud and digital finance services provider R3 to be the infrastructure and technology providers for the CBDC implementation. This is a crucial milestone in the development of the digital dirham and is expected to address the challenges of domestic and cross-border payments, while also promoting financial inclusion and supporting the country’s goal of becoming a cashless society.
The first phase of the CBDC strategy involves the soft launch of “mBridge,” a platform that facilitates CBDC transactions for international trade. The CBUAE is also working on proof-of-concept projects for bilateral CBDC bridges with India, as well as domestic CBDC issuance for both wholesale and retail use. These initiatives are expected to be completed within the next 12 to 15 months, according to the CBUAE’s announcement.
The digital dirham has been in development since 2019, with the CBUAE conducting extensive research and analysis to ensure the successful implementation of the CBDC. The CBUAE has also engaged with various stakeholders, including financial institutions, merchants, and other entities, to gather insights on the requirements and potential benefits of a CBDC.
The digital dirham is expected to bring numerous benefits to the UAE’s economy and financial system. One key advantage is the increased efficiency and speed of domestic and cross-border payments, which will enhance the country’s competitiveness in the global marketplace. The digital dirham is also expected to boost financial inclusion by providing greater access to financial services for underserved populations, such as low-income individuals and small businesses.
Moreover, the digital dirham is expected to reduce the cost and complexity of financial transactions, thereby promoting innovation and entrepreneurship in the UAE. The digital dirham’s transparency and security features will also help combat financial crime and money laundering, which are key priorities for the UAE’s government and financial regulators.
The CBUAE’s partnership with G42 Cloud and R3 is a significant step forward in the development of the digital dirham. G42 Cloud is a leading provider of cloud and artificial intelligence (AI) services in the UAE, while R3 is a global blockchain software firm. The collaboration between the three entities is expected to leverage their respective expertise and technologies to ensure the successful implementation of the digital dirham.
In conclusion, the UAE’s central bank is making significant progress towards the launch of its digital dirham CBDC. The implementation of the digital dirham is expected to bring numerous benefits to the UAE’s economy and financial system, including increased efficiency, financial inclusion, and innovation. The CBUAE’s partnership with G42 Cloud and R3 is expected to be a key driver of the digital dirham’s success, and the future looks promising for the UAE’s digital currency.