Ripple Partners With Saudi Central Bank To Offer Pilot Program For Banks

Announcements, Blockchain | February 15, 2018 By:

Distributed ledger startup Ripple has partnered with the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA), the central bank of the country, to help local banks improve their payments infrastructure using Ripple’s technology.

Ripple and SAMA have created a pilot program to allow banks to use xCurrent, Ripple’s enterprise software solution that instantly settles cross-border payments with end-to-end tracking and bidirectional messaging. The technology will enable banks to message each other in real-time to confirm payment details prior to initiating the transaction. The central bank will also provide participating banks with program management and training.

“SAMA’s use of xCurrent has the potential to radically shift how banks in the KSA send money globally,” Ripple said in a statement. The KSA now has access to every financial institution (banks and payment providers) on RippleNet, which will not only help modernize their payments systems, but also further their reach into major corridors.”

SAMA is the second central bank to use Ripples xCurrent 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 partnership with the KSA central bank is part of a wave of recognition by financial institutions of the impact blockchain technology 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.”

In addition to SAMA, it was also reported that remittance giant Western Union has been conducting a blockchain payments trial with Ripple.

However, Western Union CFO Raj Agrawal said that its blockchain efforts are still in a “testing phase” and are not a key part of the 167-year-old firm’s business. He added that, despite industry bullishness surrounding the promise of blockchain technology, the trial has yet to bear any fruit that would be a “big unlock” for the company.