IRTI partners with Ateon, SettleMint to develop blockchain-based product

From left, Kashif Younus, technical sales manager at Ateon; Matthew Van Niekerk, founder andCEO of SettleMint; Abdulaziz Alhamrani, CEO of Alhamrani Group Holding; Syed Aqa, actingpresident and IDB vice president; Mohamed Jouini, IDB vice president; Husam Yaghi, presidentof Ateon; Sami Al-Suwailem, head of Financial Product Development Center, IDB and IRTI; andHilal Houssain, senior financial product development specialist — fintech, IRTI and IDB.
Updated 21 October 2017

IRTI partners with Ateon, SettleMint to develop blockchain-based product

The Islamic Research and Training Institute (IRTI), the research arm of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group, signed an agreement with Ateon to build a blockchain-based financial product that can potentially be used to support development and financial inclusion in IDB member countries.
Ateon, a member of Alhamrani Group of Companies in Saudi Arabia, is a specialized consultancy in financial technology (fintech) development. Ateon will be working on the project in partnership with SettleMint, a Belgium-based software company with experience in developing blockchain applications for financial institutions.
The three parties will be working on the first of its kind use case using blockchain’s smart contracts to create Shariah-compliant financial products to support development in IDB member countries.
From an Islamic perspective, money should be transparent, stable, and trustworthy. Blockchain technologies are able, in principle, to serve these objectives in a robust and cost-effective manner.
An additional attribute of blockchain-based transactional systems is the near-instantaneous clearing and settlement of transactions and asset changes. This naturally mitigates considerable risks arising from clearing settlement and, in many cases, entirely eliminates counterparty risk. This means that capital tied up on the balance sheet of financial services can be released and deployed to more productive ends. Smart contracts and blockchain-based clearing and settlement of transactions will, on one hand, greatly streamline the operation of Islamic financial institutions and, on the other, potentially automate the entire contractual process.
Blockchain smart contracts are essentially self-executing digital contracts. The terms of the contract between the parties in a transaction are electronically coded in smart contracts and will execute when pre-defined conditions are met. The use of smart contracts therefore enables the automation of the entire contractual process for Islamic institutions, alleviating the additional administrative and legal complexities and redundancies associated with Shariah-compliant financial products. Not only that, smart contracts are easy to verify, immutable and secure. The International Fiqh Academy has approved contracting through electronic means since 1990.

MCIT, Huawei launch Kingdom’s first IoT Lab

Updated 10 December 2018

MCIT, Huawei launch Kingdom’s first IoT Lab

The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) and Huawei have announced the launch of the Kingdom’s first Internet of Things (IoT) lab and a fund of $1 million to support Saudi entrepreneurs. The announcement was made during the Huawei Day 2018 event held at The Ritz-Carlton, Riyadh.

The event was attended by Dr. Sulaiman Mirdad, minister adviser for IT industry development; Dennis Zhang, CEO of Huawei Saudi Arabia; and other representatives, including senior government officials, IT leaders and professionals.

The new lab will be located at Huawei’s innovation center in Riyadh and aims to provide entrepreneurs with a platform to innovate IoT applications, which will directly target the most important vertical sectors to the Kingdom.

This joint initiative between MCIT and Huawei is expected to boost the development of products and applications and promote an open and participatory IoT ecosystem. The new IoT lab is the first such innovation and development joint lab in Saudi Arabia. 

Under this cooperation, Huawei has also made available $1 million of funding to developers to accelerate the adoption of IoT in the Kingdom.

IoT development and innovation have transformed traditional industries and daily life. As hundreds of millions of IoT devices will be used for innovative services, the technology has a key role to play in digitalization across industries. Yet currently there is not much IoT adoption in Saudi Arabia, and there is a shortage in local skills and funding necessary to drive the sector forward. The lab is intended to bridge this gap, and ultimately to drive forward the Kingdom’s digital transformation forward and assist the leadership in achieving their vision of building a knowledge economy, in line with Saudi Vision 2030 and the National Transformation Plan 2020.

Dr. Ahmed Altheneyan, deputy minister for technology and digital capacities at MCIT, said: “We are proud to launch the Kingdom’s first IoT lab and fund with our partner Huawei, believing as we do that this initiative will help to promote ICT innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem, accelerate the adoption of emerging technology within the Kingdom, and support in developing the skillset and technology necessary to enable our vision and national transformation plan.”

Huawei Saudi Arabia CEO Zhang said: “Saudi Vision 2030 calls for the development of the Kingdom into an innovative and globally competitive economy through digital transformation, and our aim at Huawei is to support the success of this vision. 

We are committed to open innovation and collaboration to promote the IoT sector here in Saudi Arabia and we see the launch of this lab as another milestone in our strategic partnership with MCIT.”