UNLOCK recently published a piece about the state of crypto regulations in the GCC region in the hopes that many of the preliminary license approvals for crypto asset exchanges and custodians see the light in 2020 and launch their crypto exchanges.
The region also witnessed two new additions to IBM’s TradeLens project that included both Oman and Jordan. This is quite significant given that the only other country that had joined Tradelens in the region was KSA.
There has also been a lot of activity when it comes to crypto asset exchanges, whether in terms of the launching of new crypto asset exchanges in the region or investments being made into these entities. For example Burency Crypto exchange announced that it is seeking a regulatory license in Bahrain while Biki.com also entered in the UAE market. In addition the region witnessed investments into crypto asset exchanges that included MIH Holdings investment in Midchains and Gochain and UAE’s HBK investment in crypto asset exchange Arabian Bourse. Even Abu Dhabi Investment Office has invested in Securrency, a US-based developer of blockchain-based financial and regulatory technology through its ventures fund.
For crypto asset exchanges already in operation such as RAIN Exchange, they announced that they are now accepting local currencies across GCC and the soon to launch CoinMENA crypto exchange in Bahrain has become Shariaa compliant. In addition Huobi and FM properties are now offering cryptocurrency payment options. Regardless of all this positive activity in the crypt asset space, Qatar financial regulatory authority announced the banning of crypto asset services.
When it comes to tokenization the scene is also developing with German based Fundament tokenization platform are in talks with GCC regulatory authorities. In addition global STO Labs also launched its MENA region offices in UAE as they see a rise in STO’s in 2020 within the MENA region.
In Lebanon for example despite the dire political and economic circumstances, Lebanese ESA Business School issued the first University degrees on Blockchain, and Beirut Digital District signed an MOU with Consensys.
As for the UAE, Turkish MenaPay also announced it will be raising funds to expand into the MENA region starting from UAE across GCC while Blockpass has partnered with UAE Buyanylight and UAE Emircom has partnered with SmartChain to offer blockchain solutions in GCC. While Dubai-based BECO Capital and Global Ventures invested in Fintech startup Tribal Credit that uses blockchain and AI.
In Bahrain Rsquare technologies and Singapore Startup Accelerator also signed an MOU.
Finally in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia the UAE KSA Aber digital currency was part of the discussions during the visit of Prince Mohammed Bin Salman Crown Prince of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to Abu Dhabi. In addition SABB KSA and HSBC in Bahrain used blockchain technology in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain to finance international trade.