Fintech Market Overview

This article does not constitute legal advice.

Cryptocurrencies in Saudi Arabia


Although SAMA has warned against transacting with cryptocurrencies in existence today, the United Arab Emirates' (UAE) Central Bank has introduced a new cryptocurrency called Aber with its partner SAMA. In its efforts to explore, experiment, and gain a deeper understanding of cryptocurrencies and distributed ledger technology, Aber will allow cross-border blockchain transfers and payments between Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Saudi will also be able to benchmark SAMA-issued cryptocurrencies against those of central banks so that they can overcome any issues that other cryptocurrencies may face. Moreover, the Saudi Central Bank has contracted with US-based Ripple to introduce pilot programmes for Saudi banks. This programme attempts to radically shift the banking system in Saudi Arabia by allowing transactions in digital currencies. It was announced in April 2019 at the Financial Sector Conference that SABB would launch its Ripple-based cross-border payments via blockchain. As a result, Saudi Arabia has partnered with Ripple and the UAE Central Bank to introduce its own digital currency.1

To date, there are no legal standards governing blockchains and cryptocurrencies. This makes it unclear whether tokens qualify as securities under the law. In a similar fashion to conventional financial transactions, money laundering rules and tax laws will be applied to new technology.2

Smart contracts in Saudi Arabia

Fintech in Saudi Arabia

Fintech in other countries

  1. http://www.sabb.com/en/about-sabb/news-room/News-Year-2019/SABB-Launches-New-Ripple-Based-Cross-Border-Instant-Payments/
  2. https://thelawreviews.co.uk/title/the-financial-technology-law-review/saudi-arabia