Saudi Arabia are the first sovereign nation to actively embrace blockchain technology and cryptocurrency: Not content with brokering a deal with the Ripple company earlier this year designed to streamline their banking, the Saudis have now struck up a partnership with the Ethereum-based technology-wizards ConsenSys, to bring their telecom system into the 21st century.
Who’d have thunk it? Who could have foreseen that Saudi Arabia, on the face of it the most ultraconservative, old-fashioned nation in the Middle East, would be the first country in the world to embrace something as controversial and polarizing as cryptocurrency?
Incredible as it may sound, it’s absolutely true. This year the Saudi Arabian central bank has already signed a major deal with the Ripple company, and now their telecom sector the STC has joined forces with the Ethereum-based startup ConsenSys to reboot and improve the nation’s telecommunications.
Hopefully, after Saudi Arabia has shown the way, their Middle Eastern neighbors like the United Arab Emirates and Qatar will soon follow suit and start to absorb blockchain technology into their financial and business worlds.
Saudi Deal With ConsenSys
Earlier this month the Saudi Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) mobile phone division, the Saudi Telecom Company (STC) announced that it had partnered with Brooklyn-based production studio ConsenSys, in a move done to improve the country’s telecom system.
It was the latest example of the Saudi’s signing contracts with a blockchain based startup company, and is unlikely to be the last. ConsenSys are focused on using the Ethereum blockchain to create software. STC hoped their deal with ConsenSys would help bring blockchain technology to the telecom industry in Saudi Arabia.
ConsenSys motto is “Harness the power of Ethereum” and regarding the deal with STC, ConsenSys executive director Lina Hedia said:
“Blockchain technology is vital for future growth as it enables efficient, secure and cost-effective ecosystems and facilitates the automation of business systems creating added value.”
“This partnership not only marks ConsenSys’ official entry into the kingdom, but is evidence of our commitment to helping build next-generation nations using blockchain technologies. We are looking to really immerse ourselves in the kingdom’s transformation agenda making a significant impact on both the economic and social infrastructure.”
Part of the STC-ConsenSys alliance was the organization of a three-day “Blockchain Bootcamp”, designed to introduced participants to the mechanics and science behind blockchain technology, its applications and its features. Applicants will learn how to get the most out of the blockchain, both from a business and strategic perspective.
Participants will also receive in-depth training on how to build decentralized applications (dApps) using the Ethereum blockchain, create smart contracts and integrate the dApps with web applications, and to understand how to build a highly functional, blockchain-based developmental environment.
Who Are ConsenSys?
ConsenSys, also known as Consensus Systems, were founded in 2015 by Canadian blockchain billionaire Joseph Lubin. ConsenSys are a software technology company that operate on the Ethereum blockchain, and whose forté is the development of decentralized software services and applications. At the start of 2018, ConsenSys employed almost 500 employees, and were involved in numerous projects, including dealings with such blue-chip companies as Bitcoin, Microsoft, John Hancock Financial and Deloitte, as well as STC. Forbes estimate ConsenSys boss Joseph Lubin to be worth around $3 billion.
Saudi Ripple Deal
Back in February of this year, Saudi Arabia’s central bank signed a deal with Ripple – the first of its kind ever to be made by a central bank. The deal was brokered to help banks in Saudi Arabia to instantly settle payments sent into and out of the country by using Ripple’s blockchain based-software.
The arrangement came at a time when Gulf regulators were beginning to explore new forms of financial technology. The San Francisco-based Ripple company are the creators and a developers of the Ripple payment protocol and exchange network, and the Ripple cryptocurrency (XRP), the third-largest and most valuable crypto in the world.
The technology devised by Ripple is so ground-breaking and ahead of its time, and will speed up and simplify bank transactions as well as eliminating costs, it is believed that in time, most banks and finance-based businesses will have to utilize Ripple technology or be left behind.