Bahrain approves bank-backed exchange: will Middle Eastern crypto flourish?

10 Oct, 2018
by Arthur Sillers
News
Bahrain approves bank-backed exchange: will Middle Eastern crypto flourish?

A new crypto trading platform backed by a central bank is preparing to launch in 2019 in Bahrain, which could help unleash the investment potential of the Middle East into the crypto ecosystem.

The exchange in question, Rain Financial, has been one of several exchanges working with Bahrain in their fintech sandbox for over a year, and CEO Khalid Saad recently spoke to Coindesk to indicate that he believes they will likely be the first to launch officially. This announcement follows news of a number of growing developments in the Middle East, including an exchange launched in Dubai. Rain Financial, once launched, will have the distinction of being licensed by the Central Bank of Bahrain, which is perhaps the country which has proven to be the most friendly towards crypto developments.

It is frequently not clear what the status of crypto in terms of regulatory acceptance is in the various states in the Persian Gulf. For example, in Saudi Arabia who at one point declared crypto trading illegal, but have recently announced a partnership between Ripple and Saudi Arabia’s National Commercial Bank and Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority. Bahrain in particular has distinguished itself by warming up to crypto, describing blockchain technology ‘a true mark of progress,’ and continuing to work with cryptocurrency efforts to develop the region. 

The regional crypto sector is taking steps towards developin in the region, motivated by the number of individuals with of wealth tied to natural resources like oil, and the many legislatures with very liberated capital (especially Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates). Furthermore, there is demonstrable interest in crypto- Turkey recently saw a spike in crypto trading volume following monetary collapse, and representatives of the government of Israel, including Netenyahu, having come out in favor of cryptocurrency and blockchain.

If the Middle East can bridge the ability to trade cryptocurrency with the numerous oil and gold rich investor pool, the region could quickly become a large part of the crypto trading ecosystem. If Rain Financial is approved, it could be the first in a position to do that succesfully.

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