Cryptocurrency-backed Banking System to be Launched in Saudi Arabia and UAE

February 14, 2019

Permissioned blockchain and cryptocurrencies are being aggressively adopted by banking systems across the Middle East, with a focus on eliminating the complexities of cross-border payments and the current banking system.

At the inaugural meeting of the Saudi-Emirati Coordination Council (SECC) held in Abu Dhabi, members discussed economic, social and military agendas, including blockchain and digital currency joint projects between the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. The Council is headed by Minister of Cabinet Affairs and the Future of the United Arab Emirates, Mohammad bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, and Saudi Minister of Economy and Planning, Mohammed bin Mazyad Altwaijri.



The alliance is being reported as the world’s strongest economic partnership. One of the seven initiatives announced at the council’s meeting was the Saudi-Emirati pilot cryptocurrency project.

The Saudi-Emirati pilot cryptocurrency will reportedly be geared towards banks in order to facilitate cross-border transfers. Utilizing the speed and low-cost cross-border advantage of cryptocurrencies, the pilot will target the improvement of banking operations. It will fortify a banking system that protects customer interests using standard technologies that eliminate cybersecurity risks. No technology partner had been discussed for the pilot project, prompting speculation that it is being developed internally.

Like in other projects, the Saudi-Emirati pilot was expected to use Ripple’s xRapid for facilitating instant and cheaper cross-border payments. But to date, there has been no announcement from the council about using Ripple, indicating that the central banks involved will be building a private blockchain internally.  

The Emirates News Agency stated that the virtual currency will rely on the decentralized nature of blockchain technology to protect monetary transactions against cybercrime.



Blockchain adoption has not been restricted to the Middle East. China recently announced the introduction of a Trade and Finance Interbank Trading Blockchain Platform. According to the China Banking Association, the platform will be used to domestically develop a new, more efficient trade and finance ecosystem. The technology partner for the initiative is PeerSafe, a Beijing-based startup, but the project will be executed entirely under state supervision.

Meanwhile, South Korea-based crypto exchange Coinone is using Ripple to develop the first platform for cross-border payments. Elsewhere, Facebook is setting up its own solution in India to increase the efficiency of the existing remittance system.

Most central banks are reluctant to use third-party blockchain solutions for financial services. The collaboration between Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which seems to support this, is building an internal blockchain solution for ramparting an efficient payment system.

About Asia Blockchain Review

Asia Blockchain Review is the largest initiative for media and community building in Asia for blockchain technology. It aims to connect all blockchain enthusiasts on a regional scale and facilitate the technological foundation of blockchain through a range of group discussions, technical workshops, conferences, and consulting programs.

Our goal is to cultivate and encourage a collaborative community for our members to gather, share their experiences and endeavors in the blockchain space, and brainstorm the potential uses of blockchain technology.

Follow Asia Blockchain Review on:

Related Article
Nintendo Switch’s Cooking Mama Employs Blockchain Private Keys
The popular cooking game, Cooking Mama, soon to be rebooted for the Nintendo Switch later this year,...

August 20, 2019

Blockchain Platform VeChain to Ensure Transparency for China’s Wine Industry
Blockchain project VeChainThor is collaborating with a major importer in China to develop an authent...

August 19, 2019

Gaming Platform Enjin Signs a Partnership with HashPort Accelerator to Enter Japan
Leading blockchain-based gaming platform Enjin has announced a strategic partnership with Japanese H...

August 18, 2019

Singapore’s Central Bank Introduces Sandbox Express
The Monetary Authority of Singapore recently revealed the agency has approved the fast track Sandbox...

August 18, 2019

We provide information about Asia Blockchain Review latest activities as well as global blockchain news and research. Subscribe to our Newsletter now or Contact us