The Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) continues to experiment on Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) as it is currently working on a phase of a project that focuses on domestic wholesale CBDC use cases in collaboration with local banks and fintechs.
This project comes in line with several central banks CBDC initiatives across the globe and as part of SAMA's ongoing research and experimentation on CBDC. During this phase of the project, SAMA seeks to explore CBDC economic impact, market readiness, and potential robust and fast applications of a CBDC-based payment solution. In addition, SAMA seeks to review policy, legal and regulatory considerations before moving to the next phases of the CBDC journey to contribute to achieving the objectives of Saudi Vision 2030.
The Governor of SAMA H.E. Fahad Almubarak stated that local banks and payment companies will always be a cornerstone of this project and its implementation, SAMA stated that it has engaged both local banks and fintechs, as well as other market players and third party consulting and technology providers, to gain a better understanding of CBDC's functionality and to test various design options.
SAMA is set to continue with its research on CBDC while consulting with relative international bodies, local government entities and public. Additionally, SAMA will continue to experiment on CBDC solution as an infrastructure enabler of innovation in financial services that has the potential to contribute to a more resilient payment ecosystem and accelerate digital transformation in the local financial sector.
SAMA stresses that although no decision has been made regarding the introduction of CBDC in the Kingdom, it continues to focus on exploring the benefits and potential risks of implementing CBDC. This will contribute to informed decision-making within SAMA and to CBDC explorations within the central banking community.
It is worth noting that SAMA successfully conducted CBDC experiment "Project Aber" in 2019, an initiative in collaboration with the Central Bank of the UAE to examine whether distributed ledger technology could contribute to seamless cross-border payments.