Saudi Central Bank Announces Plans To Test With Ripple

Saudi Arabia’s central bank has become the latest global central bank to reach an agreement with blockchain startup Ripple, in a move that could lead to Saudi banks trialing payments on Ripple infrastructure.

The pilot program will run in conjunction with the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority, and comes in the wake of a similar agreement with the Bank of England struck last year.

The agreement was disclosed this week as part of comments made by Brad Garlinghouse, the CEO of Ripple, at a conference in San Francisco. Addressing delegates at the Blockchain Connect Conference, Garlinghouse set out the structure of the deal.

“This groundbreaking pilot program is the first of its kind to be launched by a central bank. Participating banks from the (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) will use xCurrent to instantly settle payments sent into and out of the country, with greater transparency and lower costs.”

The news comes at a time of increasing interest in Ripple, the company behind the XRP token. In recent weeks, news that Santander is planning a test of a mobile app using Ripple technology for handling payments has come as a significant boost to the company, with their customers in the U.K., Portugal, Spain and Poland set for the trial.

Similarly, just this week, news of a deal between Ripple and UAE Exchange, a significant payments company based in the UAE, will see the firm using the company’s RippleNet technology for handling international payments.

There are also reports emerging that suggest global remittance giant Western Union is on the verge of reaching agreement with Ripple, suggestions that were confirmed at the firm’s most recent earnings call.

They were thought to have been working together for several years, at least since 2015, and Western Union CEO Hikmet Ersek was clear that the firm was already engaging in testing different technologies.

“We are looking especially in the processing settlement and working capital optimization, also in the regulation part, on the compliance part on the blockchain capabilities ... And we do test, we do have some tests with Ripple.”