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  1. ***IF YOU HAVE NOT YET, PLEASE READ MY PREVIOUS THREADS ON THE GATES FOUNDATION AND INDIA*** Unlike in India, there is no singular centralized effort driving Ripple adoption but more of a collected effort done by multiple parties. However, most of these parties are being guided and aided by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) in each of their respective ventures. Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) The MAS is Singapore's central bank and financial regulatory authority. Compared to other central banks, MAS has been proactive when involving trialing and adopting new financial technology. Last year MAS established a fintech regulatory sandbox intended to MAS intentions is to create a space that promotes the exploration of fintech and avoid An outcome that MAS says is "undesirable" as there are promising innovations waiting to be taken advantage of. http://www.mas.gov.sg/Singapore-Financial-Centre/Smart-Financial-Centre/FinTech-Regulatory-Sandbox.aspx http://www.mas.gov.sg/News-and-Publications/Media-Releases/2016/MAS-Issues-Regulatory-Sandbox-Guidelines-for-FinTech-Experiments.aspx On top of hosting the regulatory sandbox, MAS conducted "Project Ubin". The project, which consisted of a group of Singaporean banks, served as a prototype payment system utilizing distributed ledger technology that allowed bank users to exchange currency with one another without long processing fees, intermediaries, or expensive processing fees. Along with the banks and MAS, R3 also participated in the project. http://www.mas.gov.sg/~/media/ProjectUbin/Project Ubin SGD on Distributed Ledger.pdf With the conclusion of phase one, MAS has plans for two spinoff projects. The first project, driven by the Singapore Exchange (SGX), focuses on making the fixed income securities trading and settlement cycle more efficient through DLT. While the second project focuses on new methods to conduct cross border payments using central bank digital currency. Along with that, http://www.mas.gov.sg/News-and-Publications/Media-Releases/2017/MAS-working-with-industry-to-apply-Distributed-Ledger-Technology.aspx (keep this in mind, MAS are in discussions with other central banks on using DLT for cross-border payments) But where is Ripple on all this? During MAS's sandbox initiative, Ripple was sought as a consultant for the project. https://ripple.com/files/ripple_mas_sandbox_consultation_07_2016.pdf https://ripple.com/files/ripple_comments_mas_ppf.pdf Along with that, Ravi Menon (Managing Director of MAS), praised Ripple for having a solution to real-time gross settlement, currency exchange, and remittance thru DLT. https://ripple.com/insights/singapores-continued-investment-in-banking-innovation/ And in Project Ubin's latest report, Ripple was mentioned in their future focus section for Phase 2 of Project Ubin. Deloitte (a contributor to the project and a partner of Ripple) mentions the prototype integrating the Ripple blockchain to allow Person-to-Person (P2P) transactions across geographies. So to summarize MAS's future ventures, 1. They want to connect with other central banks thru DLT for cross border payments 2. The Ripple blockchain has been integrated into the prototype to be used for cross border transactions Onto the Middle East........... Bahrain The nation of Bahrain thru the leadership of Bahrain’s Economic Development Board (EDB), has been tasked to lay the foundation for a national adoption of blockchain technology. Bahrain wants to position itself as a leader in financial technology just as how Singapore has become. Khalid Al Rumaihi, CEO of the EDB, has stated that https://www.cryptocoinsnews.com/kingdom-bahrain-aims-country-level-blockchain-adoption/ Meanwhile the government also wants to establish a ‘regulatory sandbox’ that would serve as a regulator-friendly space that complies with Bahrain laws to enable research and testing of new Fintech products and innovations specific to the region’s requirements. If this is all sounding similar, it's for good reason. The EDB is drawing inspiration from none other than Singapore/MAS's blockchain pilot project, "Project Ubin". https://www.cryptocoinsnews.com/kingdom-bahrain-aims-country-level-blockchain-adoption/ And to take it even further, EDB has held discussions with MAS on deploying a pilot blockchain project and has even signed a partnership with the Singapore FinTech Consortium. https://www.cryptocoinsnews.com/bahrain-signs-fintech-pact-singapore-amid-plan-country-level-blockchain-adoption/ http://infocoin.net/en/2017/03/02/singapore-and-bahrain-plan-to-build-a-blockchain-pilot-project/ http://www.arabianbusiness.com/bahrain-in-talks-with-singapore-on-blockchain-pilot-665012.html So the fintech environment is beginning to resemble the Singaporean environment while also being shaped by the Singaporean Consortium and possibly MAS. Along with that development, blockchain has already begun it's penetration into the Bahrain's banking system thru Bank ABC. Bank ABC, formerly known as the Arab Banking Corporation, became the first financial institution in the MENA region to join the R3 blockchain consortium. https://www.cryptocoinsnews.com/bahrain-bank-first-mena-region-join-r3-blockchain-consortium/ There also has been one interesting development in the nation with one of Ripple's partners. Tata Group is an Indian multinational conglomerate holding company headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India. Tata Group has a number of subsidiaries that include Tata Communications and Tata Consultancy Services. Ripple and Tata thru Tata Consultancy Services's TCS BaNCS have cooperated with another in India to provide financial solutions for Indian banks. We also know thru employee profiles, that there have been experiments with Ripple's technology in processing cross border payments. Interesting enough, we know Tata Consultancy Services has also launched an Aadhaar enabled payment platform allows retailers integrate payments across multiple channels through a single interface. http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/tech/ites/tata-consultancy-services-starts-aadhar-enabled-payment-platform/articleshow/58361092.cms Just recently Tata Communications was chosen by Balteco as a cloud partner by utilizing Tata Communications’ IZO™ Cloud Enablement Platform. The significance of this partnership is simple. Batleco, which was established by the government, is the principal telecommunications company in Bahrain. As of today, Batelco remains majority state-owned by the Mumtalakat (Bahrain's sovereign wealth found). And the company itself remains as the majority telecommunications provider for the state. The infrastructure is being laid out..... http://batelco.com/news-media/batelco-and-tata-communications-sign-agreement-to-expand-the-reach-of-their-global-connectivity-data-centre-solutions-for-customers/ And as an update on Bahrain's "sandbox", it has opened this past summer with two tech firms already entering it. NOW Money (who Dilip Rao seems to be a fan of) and Tramonex being those two tech firms, were assisted and advised by the EDB to register into the regulatory "sandbox". http://www.arabianbusiness.com/industries/banking-finance/377682-first-two-tech-firms-enter-new-bahrain-sandbox On NOWMoney, http://www.arabianbusiness.com/industries/banking-finance/377682-first-two-tech-firms-enter-new-bahrain-sandbox On Tramonex, http://www.arabianbusiness.com/industries/banking-finance/377682-first-two-tech-firms-enter-new-bahrain-sandbox https://www.siliconrepublic.com/start-ups/fintech-nowmoney-migrant-workers Tramonex has recently begun to test cross currency payments on blockchain. http://www.financemagnates.com/cryptocurrency/innovation/tramonex-gets-approved-uk-regulator-issue-currency-blockchain/ https://bankinnovation.net/2017/02/tramonex-to-use-smart-contracts-for-cross-currency-money-transfer/ UNITED ARAB EMIRATES Similar to Bahrain, the UAE is striving to become a fintech pioneer. Dubai in particular wants to become the first fully blockchained-powered city in the world. This challenged, backed by the UAE government, is undergone by the Smart Dubai Office (SDO). https://cointelegraph.com/news/suddenly-dubai-aims-to-become-first-blockchain-powered-city-by-2020 In the UAE, the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) was established by the government to be an international financial center for local, regional and international institutions. And for the past year, it has been extremely active in both the cross border payments space and the fintech realm. This past February, the ADGM and the central bank of Bahrain (CCB) signed legislature intended https://www.adgm.com/mediacentre/press-releases/abu-dhabi-global-market-and-central-bank-of-bahrain-form-partnership-to-enhance-cross-border-cooperation/ Along with forming a partnership with CBB, ADGM has also signed an agreement with none other than MAS. The collaboration between both parties is focused on fintech innovation and cross-border activity. http://fintech.adgm.com/adgm-and-the-mas-collaborate-to-foster-fintech-innovation-and-cross-border-activities/ And ADGM themselves also has it's own regulatory sandbox which consists of five participants. With the most notable participant being.....NOW Money. https://www.cnbc.com/2017/05/17/abu-dhabi-global-market-admits-first-five-fintech-start-ups-into-its-reglab-sandbox.html Along with all of this, ADGM has also joined the R3 blockchain consortium. https://www.cryptocoinsnews.com/abu-dhabi-regulator-joins-r3-blockchain-consortium/ http://www.econotimes.com/ADGM-becomes-first-regulatory-body-in-MENA-region-to-join-R3-blockchain-consortium-712252 We are also aware that Ripple themselves have made partnerships with multiple financial institutions in the nation, with one being with UAE Exchange. UAE Exchange is a major UAE Forex and remittance house. The CEO of UAE Exchange, Promoth Manghat, commenting on the collaboration https://www.cryptocoinsnews.com/uae-remittance-giant-taps-ripple-instant-blockchain-international-payments/ The UAE Exchange themselves are part of some notable collaborations. Just this past summer the UAE Exchange and the ADGM signed an agreement to support, develop and promote the FinTech ecosystem in Abu Dhabi and the United Arab Emirates. http://timesofoman.com/article/114869/Business/UAE-Exchange-signs-pact-with-Abu-Dhabi-Global-Market But the most interesting collaboration (in my opinion) that the UAE Exchange is a part of is it's membership in the Indian "Bankchain" consortium. The very same blockchain consortium in India that I had previously mentioned in my prior post on India. https://www.coindesk.com/indias-bankchain-consortium-launches-blockchain-kyc-system/ Even more interesting, the UAE Exchange has already developed a digital payment platform called XPay Wallet that is already integrated to the UPI Service (Aadhaar). http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/money-and-banking/uae-exchange-launches-xpay-wallet/article7480861.ece http://www.financialexpress.com/economy/uae-exchange-backs-govt-on-demonetisation-through-xpay-cash-wallet/443279/ http://www.tmcnet.com/usubmit/2017/04/18/8528945.htm There is also has been activity with some UAE banks with the most publicized Ripple partnership in the nation being the one with the National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD). https://www.nbad.com/en-ae/about-nbad/overview/newsroom/2017/01-02-2017.html But there is one other bank in the country conducting blockchain trials that has ties to Ripple, Emirates NBD. Back in 2015, Emirates NBD and Ripple collaborated with one another shown by this Emirates NBD presentation. https://www.infosys.com/confluence/PublishingImages/17/v2/presentation/Blockchain_Emirates NBD.pdf Emirates NBD has also recently been trialing cross-border transactions on blockchain technology with ICICI Bank under theguidance of the central bank of the UAE. https://www.coindesk.com/emirates-icici-complete-cross-border-blockchain-transaction/ https://www.coindesk.com/emirates-nbd-enlists-uae-central-bank-blockchain-check-trial/ Also Infosys who is cooperating with both Emirates NBD and ICICI Bank for their blockchain trial, is very positive on Ripple technology as well. https://www.infosys.com/industries/cards-and-payments/resources/Documents/digital-bank-blue-ocean-opportunity.pdf On one final note, Tata Communications also seems be laying the foundation in the nation as well by providing the infrastructure thru the IZO Cloud Service. http://www.itp.net/613631-tata-communications-expands-izo-private-cloud-footprint-in-the-uae There you have it, central banks, regulatory authorities, banks, exchanges, and fintech firms all working together from three different countries. The best part is, there is at least one more nation in the Arabian peninsula worth mentioning in a later post........
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