The blockchain firm Ripple announced on February 14 that it has signed an agreement with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's central bank, the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA), to bring the company's xCurrent software to Saudi banks in order to help them "instantly settle" cross-border payments.
The agreement sets the stage for a pilot project during which the SAMA will establish a regulatory sandbox that will allow participating banks to test the technology. The central bank will also provide "program management and training" to the banks involved in the program.
Once the project is underway, Ripple said, the country will have "access to every financial institution (banks and payment providers) on RippleNet." The connections, mediated by xCurrent, will use a series of permissioned ledgers that are ultimately controlled by Ripple to set up and execute the transfer of funds.
The day before the announcement, it was revealed that the Capital Market Authority, the Saudi financial regulator, had warned the public against buying into ICOs, citing the possibility that people could lose their investments as a result of fraud, among other potential problems.
In 2017, the Bank of England revealed that it had used technology developed by Ripple to explore a proof of concept for a real-time gross settlement system.
On February 13, it emerged that the international money transfer giant Western Union has also been conducting tests using Ripple technology.