A Saudi fintech company and a Dubai-based regional blockchain payment company have joined hands to deploy a digital wallet, designed specifically for Hajj and Umrah, across over one million point-of-sale terminals throughout Saudi Arabia.
The partnership between Geidea and WadzPay Middle East will see the utilization of the latter’s blockchain-based payment solutions to facilitate Muslim pilgrims set up their own e-money wallets on their mobile devices, allowing them to make payments in Saudi Arabia.
Geidea is licensed by the Saudi Central Bank as a payment service provider while WadzPay Middle East Technology is an affiliate of WadzPay Worldwide, a company founded in Singapore offering an interoperable payments ecosystem powered by distributed ledger technology.
The partnership is forged in the backdrop of the Saudi government targeting to host 30 million Hajj and Umrah pilgrims by 2030 in line with Saudi Vision 2030. The annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca is considered the world’s largest gathering, attracting some 2.5 million pilgrims in 2019 (according to Statista) before global lockdowns were triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. Mecca, the holiest city for Muslims, generated approximately US$20 billion in tourist dollars in 2018, according to Mastercard’s latest Global Destination Cities Index.
“The pilgrim market is an incredibly important part of the Saudi economy, which is why we are thrilled to partner with WadzPay in a move that will unlock vast SME business success for merchants across the Kingdom,” Renier Lemmens, CEO of Geidea, commented.
It is perhaps worth noting that WadzPay has partnered with Shariah compliant blockchain company Algorand with a roadmap to 46,000 transactions per second to deliver stable and near-instant finality to its clients. This is one of several Muslim-focused projects for Algorand – Dublin-based IBF Net is building a metaverse compliant with Islamic teachings on Algorand.