Ripple Partners Saudi Arabia’s Central Bank to Plug Banks on a Blockchain

Saudi Arabia Ripple

Fintech giant Ripple has inked a new partnership with the Saudi Arabia’s defacto central bank to pilot instant cross-border payments on a blockchain among domestic banks in the region.

The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA), the central bank for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), has entered an agreement with Ripple to launch a sweeping blockchain pilot that will see regional participating banks use Ripple’s enterprise blockchain for ‘instant’ international payments, an announcement revealed today.

The pilot will enable banks to transact using Ripple’s xCurrent, an enterprise blockchain software that powers end-to-end tracking of payments and instant settlements around the world. The first-of-its-kind pilot involving a central bank will also see the KSA plugged in with access to over 100 financial institutions – banks, payment providers and more – on RippleNet, Ripple’s enterprise blockchain network.

Crucially, the KSA’s central bank will also offer Saudi banks with ‘program management and training’, Ripple confirmed, underlining the bullish endeavor by the central bank to adopt blockchain technology.

Ripple’s global head of infrastructure innovation Dilip Rao said:

“SAMA is leading the charge as the first central bank to provide resources to domestic banks that want to enable instant payments using Ripple’s innovative blockchain solution.”

The Saudi central bank’s efforts also hint at benefitting retail customers of local Saudi banks who, Ripple adds, will experience transparent, cheaper and faster transactions compared to traditional payment methods.

“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,” Rao added.

The announcement comes within days of Ripple roping in UAE Exchange, one of the Middle East’s biggest money transfer and foreign exchange operators, also a part of RippleNet, and Hong Kong-based LianLian to enable cross-border payments to the Chinese market.

Featured image from Shutterstock.