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Saudi Arabia Blockchain Technology

Saudi banks will be using blockchain technology for money transfers. 

The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA), the Kingdom’s central bank, announced in June 2020 that it deployed blockchain technology to deposit a part of the SR50 billion ($13.3 bn) liquidity package into the banking sector as part of the central bank’s active role in providing credit facilities.  SAMA’s continues to explore and adopt emerging technologies to keep in step with the global trends of other central banks. The move also gives SAMA the opportunity to assess the impacts of such technologies on the financial sector.

Saudi central bank has become one of the pioneer central banks in the region to experiment with blockchain technology for money transfers. Other intiatives launched by SAMA to develop Fintech in the Kingdom include: The Fintech Saudi Initiative in cooperation with the Capital Market Authority (CMA), the introduction of the SAMA Regulatory Sandbox, and an array of digital banking services and payments.

While this is the first time that the Kingdom’s central bank implemented the blockchain technology,  this technology was already used in the Kingdom 2019 by the Saudi British Bank (SABB) and HSBC to execute a trade transaction involving a shipment of homogenized aluminum billets from Bahrain to Saudi Arabia. The Saudi Customs Authority had also experimented with the technology in early 2019 to facilitate cross-border trade. These developments are driven by the Kingdom’s long-term strategy “Vision 2030” which aims to accelerate economic diversification and modernisation through the adoption of new digital technologies, presenting an opportunity for U.S. companies to compete in this field.

For more information, contact Tareq Ghazal at tareq.ghazal@trade.gov in Dharan, Saudi Arabia.  

06/15/2020