Saudi Arabia to Tap Fintech Firms for its CBDC Experiment

The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) is still mulling the idea of rolling out the first phase of its Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), although details of its operationalization are yet to be disclosed.

As per a published release, the phase of the project will focus on domestic wholesale CBDC use cases with joint efforts from local banks and financial institutions.

Fintech firms and IT experts will also assist with security measures like identity verification to avert future risk. Additionally, the project seeks to explore CBDC in conformity with the stated objectives of monetary policy, financial stability, and efficient operations of currency and payment systems.

Similarly, the bank is doing everything best possible to ensure smooth sailing of the digital currency. As such, SAMA intends to review legal policy before embarking on the next phase of the digital currency’s journey to actualize the vision and plans of Saudi Vision 2030.

However, this will make SAMA one of the few central banks that has been able to begin research and experimentation on digital currency.

Moreso, the bank in collaboration with the Central Bank of UAE successfully conducted a CBDC experiment dubbed “Project Aber” in 2019. This was done majorly to check whether distributed ledger technology (DLT) could contribute to seamless cross-border payments.

Nations Embrace the CBDC Phenomenon

At the end of 2022, the Reserve bank of India (RBI) announced its plans to start its first pilot program for its CBDC dubbed “the Digital rupee or e-rupee”. The Indian apex bank also mentioned nine banks that will participate in the e-rupee testing, making it one of the few banks that has been able to make their CBDC project up to the pilot testing phase.

Meanwhile, early this year, the Central Bank of Georgia also known as the National Bank of Georgia (NBG) announced its idea to roll out the pilot phase for its digital currency called Digital Lari.  Although the final decision for the proposal has not been made, the Digital Lari whitepaper will serve as a boost for participating partners in order for them to adjust to their bids for the next phase of the CBDC.