Saudi central bank mulls blockchain use, says no to phasing out cash

"Aber" digital currency project

  
Saudi currency, riyal, is seen at a local currency exchange in Manama, Bahrain October 16, 2018. Image used for illustrtor purpose only

Saudi currency, riyal, is seen at a local currency exchange in Manama, Bahrain October 16, 2018. Image used for illustrtor purpose only

REUTERS/ Hamad I Mohammed
 
CAIRO: The Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) is still examining some emerging technologies, including distributed ledgers and blockchain, before it makes any decision, according to a report from Al Eqtisadiah.

SAMA is one of the first central banks in the G20 countries to experience distributed ledgers and blockchain technologies through the "Aber" digital currency project.

These efforts are part of the central bank’s push to a less cash-dependent society, as outlined under the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.

The government wants to boost e-payments to 70 percent of total transactions by 2030, the central bank said, as it has no intention of completely phasing out banknotes.

SAMA is optimistic it would achieve this goal five years earlier than the 2030 target.

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