Qatar Development Bank (QDB), in its endeavour to accelerate the digital transformation of the financial services sector in the country, recently participated in the Asia Blockchain Summit 2020 (ABS2020), where CEO Abdulaziz bin Nasser al-Khalifa delivered a keynote presentation on Fintech innovation in Qatar.

The third annual summit, held virtually for the first time this year, witnessed the participation of more than 200 speakers, 800 investors, and professionals from leading industry startups, financial service providers, academic institutions, and policy groups, who gathered over five days to discuss the future of blockchain technology and its real-world applications.

Commenting on QDB’s participation in the event, al-Khalifa said: “From Fintech’s early emergence as a challenger to a conventional financial services sector to its role today as a change catalyst and enabler, it is safe to say that our industry has come a long way.

“Blockchain is following suit, with 10% of global GDP expected to be stored on blockchain by 2027. In Qatar, blockchain and other emerging technologies can play a major role in Qatar’s overall economic transformation, especially in the digitisation of various sectors, where they can be applied in four key areas: government to citizen, business to consumer, government to business, and business to business.”

He added: “At QDB, we are making remarkable headway in creating a world-class Fintech hub in Qatar, in collaboration with the Qatar Central Bank and the Qatar Financial Centre, as well as laying the foundation for transforming ourselves into a digital development bank of the future and serve as a model to be followed in the region.

“In this regard, ABS2020 is a great platform to engage with key stakeholders and witness the emergence of future-proof business models and technologies that can transform the financial services sector.”

In his keynote, al-Khalifa talked about the steady rise of an ecosystem model in the financial sector and the potential partnerships between banks and cross-sector players to discover new relationships and build innovative platforms that enable participants from within and outside the region to access trade finance, asset exchange, payments, and value-added services.

Al-Khalifa also shared updates on the Qatar Fintech Hub (QFTH), which has started receiving applications for the first wave of its incubator and accelerator programmes. QFTH is set to help institutions accelerate their digital transformation by integrating Fintech and digital technologies in their product and service offerings.

Qatar’s nationwide smart transformation initiatives, its national vision for the year 2030, and the 2022 FIFA World Cup, will harness and leverage technology in unprecedented ways as the country builds and scales a knowledge-based economy, al-Khalifa pointed out.

According to al-Khalifa, blockchain will be at the heart of this transformation, from a smart government infrastructure to Islamic Fintech and a cashless World Cup experience, which, he said, presents limitless opportunities for the world’s innovators, be it large conglomerates or disruptive startups, to play an active role in Qatar’s business ecosystem.

The QDB CEO’s presentation took place on the third day of the summit, which focused on blockchain’s role in entrepreneurship.

Other speakers in this year’s edition include the first Canadian commander of the International Space Station, Chris Hadfield; US Securities and Exchange commissioner Hester M Peirce; co-chair of the European Commission Fintech Task Force, P?teris Zilgalvis; head of Blockchain and Data Policy at the World Economic Forum, Sheila Warren; and the creator of ‘Ethereum’ cryptocurrency, Vitalik Buterin; among other industry experts and stakeholders.