Saudi Arabia is here to stay. Shortly after the Kingdom’s Capital Markets Authority launched its Fintech Lab, the Islamic finance leader is now adopting blockchain technology, underscoring its steely determination to pip its GCC neighbors to the post as a regional center for fintech.
In a regional first, the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA), the Kingdom’s central bank, has initiated a pilot program with Ripple to facilitate banks in the country to improve their payments infrastructure using xCurrent. SAMA is only the second central bank in the world, after Bank of England’s successful proof of concept with Ripple last year, to implement blockchain technology to revolutionize payments.
“Central banks around the world are leaning into blockchain technology in recognition of how it can transform cross-border payments, resulting in lower barriers to trade and commerce for both corporates and consumers,” said Dilip Rao, the global head of infrastructure innovation at Ripple.
Under this program, banks in Saudi Arabia will have access to the 100 plus financial institutions on RippleNet, enabling cheaper, faster and more transparent cross-border transactions.