The Arab Banking Corporation has been unveiled as the latest member of the R3 Consortium, one of the leading groups of companies developing distributed ledger technology.

The Bahrain-based bank, known locally as Bank ABC, has become the first bank from the MENA region of the Middle East and North Africa to join forces with other developers, in striving to create blockchain infrastructure and standards for future development.

Bank ABC operates across the Middle East and North Africa, including in Jordan, Tunisia, Egypt, and Algeria. Majority owned by the central bank of Libya, the group has operations spanning the region, and is seen as a crucial partner in developing blockchain technology to reflect the needs of regional businesses.

According to representatives from the bank, allocating resources in support of blockchain development will prove key to pushing forward their strategic objectives for the technology, which is widely expected to give rise to significant cost savings for businesses and governments worldwide.

Sael Al Waary, deputy CEO of the group, said joining the R3 consortium will help ABC provide their customers with access to better services in future.

“We are committed to continue to provide our customers with exceptional customer service and innovative financial products. DLT will help us fulfill our promise to clients.”

The R3 consortium is one of the largest groups of companies voluntarily joining together to cooperatively develop the underlying blockchain technology – tech that is expected to provide the fundamentals for countless spin-off applications.

The group announced it has raised an impressive $100 million back in May, a month ahead of the official launch of its flagship Corda protocol.

While ABC’s commitment to the R3 project marks the first member of its kind from the region, it is far from the only major company in the Middle East to push forward with blockchain solutions.

Indeed, Emirates NDB, one of the largest banks in the region and a regional competitor for ABC, has already signalled its support for the technology by exploring several trials, including a partnership with the UAE central bank to develop banking fraud prevention measures through the blockchain.

With Bank ABC now a recognized member of the consortium, the group will be looking at ways of developing specific applications on R3 protocols for their customers, as well as helping push forward the consortium’s broader development agenda.