Today the Saudi Arabia Monetary Authority (SAMA) said it used blockchain to transfer money to local banks. The funds were part of SAMA’s efforts to inject liquidity into the banking system – SAR 50 billion ($13.3 billion) was announced last week. The blockchain pilot represented only part of the liquidity injection.
Last week, SAMA was keen to say that its banking sector was performing well with an average capital adequacy ratio of 18.6%.
The statement said: “This action comes as a part of SAMA continues its efforts in exploring and experimenting with emerging technologies and keeping lead pace with the global trends of central banks in assessing the impacts of such technologies on the financial sector.”
While it sounds like a wholesale central bank digital currency (CBDC), no reference was made to a digital currency.
Just over a year ago, SAMA made an announcement about an initiative with the UAE for a pilot joint digital currency. While SAMA was keen to highlight its fintech credentials in today’s announcement, it’s profile is a little lower than its UAE neighbor.
Saudi Customs is a member of the TradeLens container shipping blockchain initiative from IBM and Maersk. Two Saudi banks were involved in a blockchain letter of credit pilot. And Saudi Aramco has been active in energy blockchain projects, including VAKT and Data Gumbo.