Jibrel Network has been very active in the blockchain space with a myriad of initiatives and projects, especially in the MENA region, positioning itself as the region’s leader in blockchain for financial assets. Jibrel Network is the first protocol to allow anyone to put traditional assets such as currencies, bonds, and other financial instruments on the blockchain in a form of Crypto Depository Receipts (CryDRs) to enable quick, transparent, and cost effective transfer of these assets.
UNLOCK took this opportunity to catch up on Jibrel Network’s latest projects and activities and chatted with Talal Tabbaa, Co-Founder & COO of Jibrel Network.
Jibrel and the MENA Region
After the successful completion of its token sale, in 2018, Jibrel Network expanded and is currently operating in four countries 1) Zug, Switzerland, 2) New York, USA, 3) Dubai, UAE and 4) St. Petersburg, Russia with focus on deploying the blockchain solutions developed in the Middle East.
Jibrel is about to roll out jCash, followed by blockchain-powered virtual mobile bank accounts, as well as develop its UAE specific Smart Regulations and financial services blockchain solution that will enable near-zero domestic transfers and payments. This roll-out will include geography-specific consumer protection, awareness and support efforts.
As Tabbaa states, “There is a lot of interest from MENA public and private entities when it comes to blockchain implementations. The reality is that not all problems or businesses require a blockchain to be fixed or improved, so we have been very selective with our client base. As part of our projects, we start with a chain-suitability analysis to determine if the client would benefit from adopting a blockchain solution as part of their business model.” He continues, “The socio-economic landscape in the Middle East makes it prime for blockchain adoption, with less than 20% of adults with bank accounts, huge potential for Islamic finance advancement and growing capital markets. With partners such as the Private Office of Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum, in-house development capabilities and our understanding of the MENA market, we are optimistic.”
Jibrel also commented on its acceptance into DFSA’s Cohort for the Innovation Testing License “We are happy to be selected as part of the DFSA Cohort to kick-start the Innovation Testing License application process. When regulators, large financial institutions and tech start-ups get the chance to work together, great results can be achieved.”
The ITL (Innovation testing License) was introduced by the DFSA in May 2017, as part of its strategy to foster an innovation-friendly ecosystem in the DIFC. The restricted financial services license allows qualifying fintech firms to develop and test innovative concepts from within the DIFC, without being subject to the full regulatory requirements that normally apply to regulated firms.
Jibrel Network is also the first project to be accepted into the Central Bank of Jordan’s fintech regulatory sandbox.
In addition, Jibrel Network is working with licensed entities to issue sharia-compliant commodities on-chain that can be used as part of Islamic debt instruments. As Tabbaa explained, “the change of ownership is critical when it comes to liquidation of Islamic debt. Today, the process is slow, lengthy and inefficient, so we by moving commodities on-chain, we can automate large portions of the process increasing speed, and convenience, while significantly dropping costs.”
jCash – the foundation for financial assets on-chain
jCash provides the infrastructure for a wide variety of financial assets on the Ethereum blockchain. Once a financial asset is tokenized, any payout associated with that asset needs to be programmatic as well to allow for an automated process governed by smart contracts. The initial roll-out of jCash will include jUSD, jEUR, jGBP and jKRW with retail and institutional users using jCash for real-world applications.
Smart contracts will certainly revolutionize the world of business, but businesses don’t want to accept volatile cryptocurrencies. With jCash, businesses are able to incorporate smart contracts to improve the efficiency of their business, without having to take on cryptocurrency volatility, as each jCash token is backed-up by an underlying asset that is stored at a regulated custodian or relevant financial institution.
To support the launch of jCash, Jibrel are launching Jibrel Search which provides users, banks, regulators and any user with detailed analytics for all transfers and balances. It cashes and indexes blockchain data in a highly retrievable and accessible format. As part of Jibrel Search, Jibrel Clear ensure that transfers only happen between KYC/AML compliant participants. It basically conducts advanced AML checks on blockchain addresses.
Tabbaa ended by saying, “jCash is the first launch of Jibrel’s CryptoDepository Receipts (CryDRs), and will play an important role in the subsequent launch of other CryDRs such as commodities, debt instruments, real estate and other types of financial assets. More importantly, the Jibrel Network Token is the backbone of the system, and is used for on-chain fees, and to ensure that proof-of-solvency is maintained for CryDRs”.
Blockchain Challenges in MENA
When asked about the challenges today in the blockchain space, Tabbaa clarifies, “One of the major challenges today is the lack of properly licensed exchanges and the monopoly of big exchanges who demand significant amounts from emerging blockchain startups. The second challenge is the fact that professionals- whether they are lawyers or accountants etc- are still experimenting with the technology and do not have a benchmark to refer to, subjecting them to implementation risks.”