STC in blockchain move for enterprise and government applications

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 Saudi market.”

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, Ripple.

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 technologies”

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 infrastructure.”