Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority Includes Blockchain in Governmental Fintech Initiative

Unlock interviewed Mr. Ziad AlYousef General Manager of Payment Systems at Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority- SAMA (Saudi Arabian Monetary Fund) to talk about their innovative Saudi Fintech initiative. The initiative is aimed to regulate the current Fintech revolution occurring today globally and in the region, as well as develop the Fintech ecosystem in KSA to make it one the leading financial hubs where the banking, investment, corporate community can benefit from these new technologies and have more innovative, efficient and quality offerings.

When asked about the expected outcomes of this initiative Mr. Al Yousef stated, “ SAMA developed the Fintech initiative to place KSA at the center of Fintech innovation and bring together all concerned parties in the ecosystem such as banks, governmental entities, technology companies, investors, and universities to work together to build the ecosystem.

As for the services that will be offered, AlYousef comments, “The increased digitization efforts especially in the already existing Fintech field has made the role of technology even more prominent in the financial and payment sector as well as in other areas such as transportation, health etc.. The main purpose behind SAMA’s initiative is to place the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at the center of Fintech development not only in terms of implementation of these new technologies but also in terms of providing the highest form of security when using these technologies.”

According to AlYousef the segments that will most benefit from this initiative will be any financial institution interested in improving their services through the use of technologies such as artificial intelligence, Blockchain, and others. He adds, “Our first step is to increase the awareness and understanding of these technologies among the banking, governmental and financial sector as well as educational sector in addition to creating awareness on the user side. We want to help them understand how they will have more efficient cost effective services as well as the dangers in terms of security that comes with these new technologies.” AlYousef believes that the youth will be more engaged in these technologies and already we are seeing global banks bringing on chatbots and robo-advisory etc..

For AlYousef the most important takeaway is “this initiative came under SAMA and this clearly shows that Fintech is now a given and society has to come to terms with this especially with the growth we are witnessing in Fintech.” He adds, “This needs regulations and legislations and this is exactly the role SAMA will and does play today. We expect positive engagement from all concerned parties in this initiative because everyone is looking for more efficient financial solutions.”

Finally AlYousef believes that the benefits of using Fintech outweigh the dangers as it will provide simplicity, cost savings, and quick processing of financial transactions and as such bring forth a better future while focusing on the security aspect and protection of customers.

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