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Saudi Arabia, UAE to finalize pilot operations for joint cryptocurrency project by year-end

Wed, 11 Sep 2019, 10:30 am UTC

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are going to finalize the pilot operations of their digital currency project for facilitating cross-border bank transactions by the end of this year, Argaam reported citing Arabic language daily Aleqtisadia.

While the joint cryptocurrency project has reportedly been in the works for past several months, the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) issued an official statement on the project, dubbed “Aber,” in January this year.

The project focuses on using common digital currency in financial settlements between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the UAE through blockchains and distributed ledger technologies.

The proof-of-concept involved the study of these innovative technologies and determining if they can help reduce remittance costs.

Hisham Al Hogail, Deputy Governor for Banking Operations at Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA), has reportedly now said that the project is moving from the POC phase to the pilot phase. The pilot operations are expected to focus on the technical aspects, while legal and economic aspects will be examined at a later stage.

“SAMA will expand the cryptocurrency usage to other countries following UAE,” added Al Hogail.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Finance (MOF) recently issued a warning against dealing or investing in cryptocurrencies as they are not recognized by legal entities in the kingdom.

" Virtual currencies have appeared claiming their relationship to financing of projects, activities or investment in KSA and using the name of the national currency of KSA (Saudi Riyal), or KSA’s emblem (two crossed swords with a palm tree) for misleading marketing of its activities such as (Crypto Riyal) or other virtual currencies. MOF warns that any use of the KSA name, national currency, or emblem by any entity for virtual or digital currencies marketing will be subject to legal actions by the competent authorities in the Kingdom,” MOF said.

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