Amongst it’s plans to move away from oil dependency by 2030, Saudi Arabia is looking towards blockchain technology to aid its future economy. Oil currently makes up around 35 percent of the countries GDP but the nation foresees the possibility of that number radically reducing as a result of dwindling reserves.
While the government doesn’t put its full support behind the adoption of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, it is working to integrate blockchain technology into financial services.
The municipality of capital city Riyadh has recently partnered with IBM to develop blockchain services that will streamline government processes. The computer giant has been tasked with the development of blockchain solutions in collaboration with local tech firm Elm Company.
This project is the continuation of a number of blockchain-related systems that the country have explored this year. In February a partnership with Ripple saw support for international payments using Ripples xCurrent technology and in May this year, Saudi Arabia held a blockchain boot camp to examine use cases for Ethereum DApps and smart contracts.
As part of a program called Saudi Vision 2030, a series of workshops have been planned to assess what improvements blockchain can offer and exactly which services will benefit from it.
Local telecoms company Saudi Telecom has also forged a new partnership in the blockchain industry. They will partner with digital solutions company Ateon to developed fintech systems for Saudi businesses.
Last year, nearby UAE’s Emirates Islamic Bank became the first Islamic bank to adopt blockchain technology as a means to prevent fraud. Following in its footsteps, the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) of Saudi Arabia starting working with crypto firms to automate smart contracts and reduce administration costs.
Blockchain’s ability to adapt and work within the regulations of Sharia law continue to make it a very attractive solution for Islamic countries.
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