25 April 2018
| Alan Burkitt-Gray
Saudi Arabia’s STC is to develop blockchain technology for use in the country’s public and private sectors.
STC has signed an agreement with a US company, ConsenSys, to
work together on the project using Ethereum technology.
Riyadh Muawad, vice president of STC Business, said the
agreement was part of a concerted effort by the company to lead
blockchain work in the country.
"STC is working on developing innovative solutions for the
government sector using blockchain technologies thus defining
the future of digital transformation in Saudi Arabia," he said.
"STC aims to lead in offering blockchain applications in the
STC will use blockchain in applications developed for a range
of government and private sectors, the company said, including
real estate, banking and healthcare.
The Saudi government has put STC in a key position to rebuild the
country’s infrastructure – a project
called Vision 2030. As part of this, it plans to be a world
leader in blockchain technology.
The agreement with ConsenSys identifies STC as the lead agency
for the digital transformation of the country, with ConsenSys
as an enabler of this transformation.
Muawad told Bitcoin Magazine in an interview: "STC is always
looking to bring in the best-of-breed technology to leverage
the global alliances and experiences to enrich innovation.
Blockchain platforms are in a rapid evolution phase, whereas
Ethereum blockchain technology is based on open standards and
has an industry wide adoption."
He added that STC aims to tailor the blockchain business applications it builds
for various industries, helping them to accelerate adoption in
a seamless manner. "Our focus is on use cases which are more
relevant for blockchain applications, employing the core
principle of a trusted distributed ledger."
In February, Saudi Arabia’s central bank launched
a programme for banks in the country to use blockchain to
settle payments. A pilot project will use software to settle
payments into and out of the country. In this case, Saudi
Arabia is using technology from another US company,
The Reuters news agency said last December that the Saudi
central bank was working with its opposite number from the
United Arab Emirates to develop a digital currency for
cross-border transactions. ConsenSys is also blockchain advisor
to the city of Dubai in the UAE.
Lina Hediah, ConsenSys’s executive director for
the Middle East and North Africa, told Bitcoin Magazine that
the partnership with STC was "evidence of our commitment to
helping build next-generation nations using blockchain
She added: "Our experience in building bespoke applications
showcases qualitative capabilities, and by leveraging
STC’s reach we are looking to really immerse
ourselves in the kingdom’s transformation agenda
making a significant impact on both the economic and social