Saudi Arabia & United Arab Emirates: Beginning Blockchain Research

Despite a down-trending market throughout most of 2018, governments, banks, and financial institutions have not moved away from cryptocurrency related developments. I have explored the concept of “adoption” some throughout a couple of articles, and recently addressed this concept in an article I wrote about Bitcoin ATMs, which can be found here:


While adoption will be a slow event, it is important to understand that large scale adoption would be a global event, capturing people from all nations across the world. Recently, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) announced they were launching a project called “ABER” which deals with a common digital currency between the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) and the United Arab Emirates Central Bank (UAECB).


Last Tuesday, January 29th, the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) and the United Arab Emirates Central Bank (UAECB) announced in a joint statement that one of the main objectives in launching “ABER” the digital currency project, is for financial settlements between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and UAE through blockchain technology by using distributed ledgers. While this is the beginning of these countries using blockchain technology, this exploration is going to be important for years to come. While this exploration is important for the countries exposure to blockchain technology, this project will also establish a meaningful way for the two countries banks to deal directly with each other, reaping the rewards of low fees, and close to instant transactions all existing on a ledger.


In the joint statement, it is clear that some central banks across other countries have already begun exploring using blockchain technology as a means of financial transfer. SAMA and the Central Bank of UAE both have a focus in launching the “ABER” project just to learn more about how the technologies work, and how they may be beneficial to them. Both entities feel that the project will be beneficial both internationally, and locally, as they hope to both plays a role in the global adoption of blockchain and distributed ledger technology.


The main takeaway from the statement would be that for the most part, both countries are focused primarily on the technical aspects of the blockchain technology. The statement notes how there will be some limit of the amount of the number of banks using this technology in each state, and both countries are relatively optimistic about a future using distributed ledger technologies. The statement details how future legal requirements are being considered in order for use across the countries.


International news involving cryptocurrency and blockchain technology is exciting for mass adoption. The concept of “adoption” looks different to many people, but large financial institutions and governments beginning to get involved with the exploration of the technology overall is a very positive thing for the ecosystem as a whole. Both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates seemed to have a pretty open mind in exploring the new technology and exploring any potential benefits it may have for them.


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