The Middle East is largely a tough region in regards to the adoption of digital currencies. Most countries in the said block have banned the trading of cryptocurrencies. However, some countries are slowly accepting the use of blockchain technology.
The Middle East emerging as a blockchain powerhouse
The Middle East is thus, slowly emerging as a blockchain based powerhouse. Several cities such as Dubai and Tel Aviv are seriously and thoroughly researching the utilization of blockchain. The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) disclosed recently that it is creating a groundbreaking securities lending network. This lending platform will be driven by the blockchain technology.
Meanwhile, the UAE also recently unveiled a project known as Dubai 2020. The project focuses on most of the government’s transactions database to be based on blockchain. By 2021 more than 50% of all government’s transactions will be through the said technology.
Bahrain adopting blockchain
Bahrain is seemingly embracing the blockchain technology as well as the cryptocurrency. The Bahrain Central Bank issued Palmex exchange with an administrative sandbox permit in the month of June. Thus, making it the only crypto exchange to hold such a license in the Middle East.
Furthermore, the country’s Minister of Electricity, Abdulhussain Mirza affirmed Bahrain’s commitment to embracing blockchain. He stated, “Technologies such as blockchain take us a huge step forward in finding a secure way to facilitate transactions”
Although Turkey’s regulations on digital currency are still unclear, the nation is warming up to blockchain. Bahcesehir University (BAU) unveiled the Istanbul Blockchain and Innovation Center last month. The center will be responsible for bridging the gap in the technologies expertise and enhancing its deployment.
Even though Qatar Central Bank (QCB) has banned the trading of cryptos, a few blockchain startups operate in the country. QPAY which is a local firm unveiled an e-commerce project pegged on the Ethereum blockchain network.
Saudi Arabia declared digital currencies as illegal. However, an exchange operating in the Middle East, Bitoasis revealed it was working with regulators to create regulations. Meanwhile, Riyadh Municipality partnered with IBM to integrate its transactions and services to blockchain.
Iran, on the other hand, is planning on digitizing the nation’s archives through the use of blockchain. Moreover, the country is considering introducing a state-backed digital currency.