Saudi Arabia appoints Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak as tech ambassador

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Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak (right) accepting his appointment as "Ambassador of the Saudi Tech Hub" from Saud bin Abdullah Al-Qahtani, head of the Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity, Programming and Drones, at the close of the Hajj Hackathon in Jeddah on Aug. 3, 2018. (Twitter photo)
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Saud bin Abdullah Al-Qahtani (left), head of the Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity, Programming and Drones, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and Wozniak's wife Janet Hill Wozniak at the close of the Hajj Hackathon in Jeddah on Aug. 3, 2018. (Twitter photo)
Updated 04 August 2018

Saudi Arabia appoints Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak as tech ambassador

  • Wozniak is considered as one of the most important minds that have changed the history of the world
  • Wozniak said there is a great chance that Saudi Arabia will be an important player in the evolving and changing technology community

JEDDAH:  The Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity, Programming and Drones (SAFCSP) has named Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak as an ambassador for the creation of a “Saudi Tech Hub.” 

Saud Bin Abdulla Al-Qahtani, the head of the federation and an adviser to the Royal Court, presented Wozniak with a special certificate marking the occasion on Friday, during the finale of the three-day Hajj Hackathon in Jeddah.

Al-Qahtani said the appointment of Wozniak reflects the federation’s desire to work with the best minds in the sector to help the Kingdom become the region’s technology hub.

“Perhaps the greatest evidence of the scale of these technical transformations in today’s world is that a company such as Apple has become the first public company in the world with a market value of one trillion dollars,” he added. “We are happy that its co-founder has agreed to be an ambassador to the Saudi Technical Hub.

“The huge interest in the technical and technological sectors is reflected in the general plans of the state, as it is one of the main objectives pursued by the Kingdom in its Vision 2030 under the supervision, follow-up and direct support of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.”

Al-Qahtani thanked Wozniak for accepting the role of ambassador and his enthusiasm for it, describing him as one of the most important modern minds, who has helped to change the history of the world.

Wozniak said he was happy to accept the SAFCSP offer, explaining that he had been persuaded to do so by the remarkable development he has seen in Saudi Arabia’s approach to technology, which strengthens the nation’s vision for the sector. He said the success of this week’s Hajj Hackathon reflected the great interest among Saudis in programming and emerging technologies. There is every chance, he added, that Saudi Arabia will play an important role in the evolving and changing global technology community, and that that the country could soon be the main tech hub in the region.

Vision 2030 is fascinating, Wozniak said, adding that he is a fan and follower of the NEOM “city of the future” project in particular, which he described as an amazing idea.

“This is a remarkable success story in Saudi Arabia that can be written in the near future and will be an example to be followed internationally,” he said, adding that he is happy to support this by becoming a tech ambassador.


Fraud alert over cryptocurrency falsely linked to Saudi Arabia

Updated 21 August 2019

Fraud alert over cryptocurrency falsely linked to Saudi Arabia

  • The website of a cryptocurrency company is promoting what it calls the CryptoRiyal and SmartRiyal
  • The Singapore-based company uses the Saudi emblem of two crossed swords and a palm tree

JEDDAH: Fraudsters are trying to lure victims into investing in a “virtual currency” with false claims that it is linked to the Saudi riyal and will be used to finance key projects, the Saudi Ministry of Finance warned on Tuesday.

The website of a cryptocurrency company in Singapore is promoting what it calls the CryptoRiyal and SmartRiyal, using the Saudi emblem of two crossed swords and a palm tree. Its “ultimate goal” is to finance NEOM, the smart city and tourist destination being built in the north of the Kingdom, the company claims.

“Any use of the KSA name, national currency or national emblem by any entity for virtual or digital currencies marketing will be subject to legal action by the competent authorities in the Kingdom,” the ministry said on Tuesday.

The fraudsters were exploiting ignorance of how virtual currencies work, cryptocurrency expert Dr. Assad Rizq told Arab News.

“A lot of tricks can be played,” he said. “Some of these companies are not regulated, they have no assets, and even their prospectus is sometimes copied from other projects.

“They hype and pump their project so the price goes up. Inexpert investors, afraid of missing out, jump in, which spikes the price even higher. Then the owners sell up and make tons of money.

“Cryptocurrencies are a risky investment for two reasons. First, the sector is not yet fully regulated and a lot of projects use fake names and identities, such as countries’ names or flags, to manipulate investors.

“Second, you have to do your homework, learn about the technology. And if you still want to invest, consider your country’s rules and regulations.”