Thursday 13th September 2018 was when Ripple announced on their website that NCB (National Commercial Bank) of the Kingdom Saudi Arabia (KSA) has become the latest enterprise customer and joined up with RippleNet and Ripple’s fast growing network of payment providers, virtual asset exchanges, banks etc.
For Ripple, this is huge as KSA is massive player in the remittance space, with the World Banks remittances data “showing that 308 million dollars were sent into the KSA, and 37 billion dollars in remittances were sent from the country in 2016.”
The reason for this huge amount of money flowing out of the country is that it is one of the biggest labor markets around the globe with an estimated amount of 11 million foreign workers form all over the world. Ripple says that “both large corporates and small to medium enterprises (SMEs) are responsible for significant payment volume”, with both groups mainly served by domestic financial institutions.
Founded in 1953, NCB says that it manages 512 branches across the KSA and has over 3 million customers. This makes it the biggest financial asset manager across the Middle East.
The decision to join RippleNet and to become a customer of Ripples xCurrent product follows the conclusion of a pilot programme which involves KSAs central bank, the SAMA (Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority) which signed an agreement with Ripple back in February this year in order to “help banks in the KSA improve their payments infrastructure using xCurrent.” The pilot programme was for participating banks from the KSA to “use xCurrent to instantly settle payments sent into and out of the country, with greater transparency and lower costs.”
The Global Head of Infrastructure Innovation at Ripple, Dilip Rao said:
“Central banks around the world are leaning into blockchain technology in recognition of how it can transform cross-border payments, resulting in lower barriers to trade and commerce for both corporates and consumers. SAMA is leading the charge as the first central bank to provide resources to domestic banks that want to enable instant payments using Ripple’s innovative blockchain solution.”