Saudi Arabia’s central bank agrees Ripple blockchain deal

Blockchain-based company Ripple plans to help banks in the Kingdom improve their payments infrastructure. (Reuters)

LONDON: The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) has signed an agreement with blockchain-based company Ripple to help banks in the Kingdom improve their payments infrastructure.
The pilot program is the first of its kind to be launched by a central bank. Participating banks from Saudi Arabia will use Ripple’s ‘xCurrent’ software solution to instantly settle payments sent into and out of the country.
SAMA’s use of xCurrent has the potential to radically shift how banks in Saudi Arabian send money globally.
According to a statement from Ripple, its Saudi Arabian customers will experience “faster, cheaper and more transparent cross-border transactions.”
SAMA’s recent adoption of xCurrent, makes it the second central bank to use blockchain technology to revolutionize payments, following the Bank of England’s successful proof of concept with Ripple in 2017.
Dilip Rao, the global head of infrastructure innovation at Ripple, believes the agreement with SAMA is part of a wave of recognition by financial institutions of the impact blockchain solutions can have on payments.
“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,” said Rao. “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.”