Saudi Arabia‘s Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) has teamed up with ConsenSys, a cryptocurrency development studio, to host a “blockchain bootcamp” as part of the kingdom’s efforts to support technological development.
The bootcamp is part of the ministry’s efforts to develop national cadres in future technologies, according to the ministry.
The recent three-day bootcamp introduced participants to the workings of blockchain technology from both a business and strategy perspective, its applications and features. Technologists from several entities received in-depth training on how to create a development environment, build decentralized applications (dApp) with Ethereum smart contracts and integrate the dApps with web applications.
Dr. Ahmed Al-Thenayyan, deputy minister for the technology industry and digital capacities, said the bootcamp met the MCIT’s 2020 action plan objectives to build a digital environment that attracts, incubates and develops skills in ICTs to boost development in the kingdom. He cited the investment in national capacities and cadres as enablers to ensure continued development and entrepreneurship.
Modern technologies such as artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, blockchain, etc., are pillars of progress that contribute to the Industry 4.0 and the development of GDP, he said.
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Riyadh, Saudi Arabia’s capital city, is harnessing blockchain development for a number of initiatives.
He further noted a different business model and a new execution mechanism will be needed under the new rules of global competitiveness and the transition from focusing on assets and expertise to relying on the “new oil” (big data) and modern technologies like artificial intelligence.
“From guided exercises to coded examples, this bootcamp comes in response to the Ministry’s desire to enable the Saudi technical youth to learn about the key advantages of blockchain technology and its mechanism, as well as to adopt it in a responsible manner to make businesses more profitable,” said Lina Hediah, executive director, ConsenSys MENA. “The aim of this workshop is to leverage Saudi Arabia’s untapped human resource potential, equip them with knowledge and insight, so they understand the power of blockchain and the current and future potential of its application.”
The blockchain bootcamp is the latest in a string of partnerships Saudi Arabia’s government has struck in a bid to bolster its blockchain prowess.
Ripple recently inked a partnership with Saudi Arabia’s defacto central bank to pilot instant cross-border payments on a blockchain among domestic banks in the region.
The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA), the central bank for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), has entered an agreement with Ripple to launch a sweeping blockchain pilot that will see regional participating banks use Ripple’s enterprise blockchain for ‘instant’ international payments.
The pilot will enable banks to transact using Ripple’s xCurrent, an enterprise blockchain software that powers end-to-end tracking of payments and instant settlements around the world. The first-of-its-kind pilot involving a central bank will also see the KSA plugged in with access to over 100 financial institutions – banks, payment providers and more – on RippleNet, Ripple’s enterprise blockchain network.
The central banks of Saudia Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are also jointly working on a cryptocurrency to enable cross-border transactions between the two countries. The central banks’ cryptocurrency will not be available for retail consumers. Instead, the digital tokens will be issued and exchanged between the two central monetary authorities as well as a number of commercial banks in both countries – all of whom will be participants in the cryptocurrency’s blockchain.