scion industrial engineering

UAE, Saudi Arabia progress with common digital currency for central banks

The central banks of the UAE (CBUAE) and Saudi Arabia (SAMA) have officially launched a project for a common digital currency.

A final report on the Aber project follows ongoing experiments and research into the initiative which is considered one of the first of its kind internationally at the level of central banks.

It aims to provide proof of concept for the feasibility of issuing a digital currency for central banks called the Wholesale CBDC, with a view of developing cross-border payment systems and reducing transfer times and costs between banks, CBUAE and SAMA said in a joint statement.

It will also experiment with the direct use and application of technologies such as distributed ledgers.

During the trial period, the Wholesale CBDC was only used by the central banks and banks participating in the initiative as a settlement unit for domestic as well as cross-border commercial bank transactions between the UAE and Saudi Arabia, the statement added.

Over the course of one year, usage solutions were designed, implemented, and managed… These results showed that the distributed ledger technology would enable central banks to develop payment systems at both local and cross-border levels,” the statement said.

CBUAE and SAMA both expressed satisfaction with the achieved results, which they described as being “beneficial to the central bank community and the financial system in general”.

“The project results are expected to contribute to developing clear perceptions of the potential of this technology and its applications on the financial sector,” they added.

Plans to develop the Aber project were first announced in early 2019 to transact financial settlements between Saudi Arabia and the UAE through Blockchain and distributed ledgers technologies.

It was devised as one of seven initiatives agreed by the Executive Committee of the Saudi-Emirati Coordination Council at its first meeting in Abu Dhabi last year.