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Bitcoin in Bahrain
Bahrain is keen to adopt digital currencies. According to Khalid Al Rumaihi, the chief executive of the Economic Development Board of Bahrain, the Bahrain’s finance ministry is keen on adopting digital currencies and had even suggested that Bahrain could issue “bonds on a digital currency.” He said last year. “The ability for blockchain to be adopted at country level is a huge opportunity for Bahrain to move into the spotlight as a pioneer in this space.”
Last year, the Bahrain-based Arab Banking Corporation, also known as Bank ABC, joined the R3 distributed ledger consortium, becoming the first bank in the Middle East and North Africa region to join the group.
Now the Central Bank of Bahrain it seems has further warmed to Bitcoin by granting the Malaysian Bitcoin technology provider, Belfrics Global, a license to operate a cryptocurrency exchange in the Arabian Gulf nation. Belfrics is the first exchange to have become the first company to receive an official mandate to open a cryptocurrency exchange in the Middle Eastern/North African region and will possibly be followed by others. This approval granted by the central bank of Bahrain will give Belfrics the opportunity to administer the $50 billion USD digital transaction industry of the nation. Belfrics Global was founded in 2014, and operates in Singapore, India, Kenya, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Dubai and Hong Kong, is keen to expand its operations in Nigeria, Botswana, and Ghana.
The Chairman and CEO of Belfrics Global, Mr. Praveen Kumar Vijayakumar, welcomed the licensing saying, “We are excited to receive this approval from the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) as it provides access to a $50 billion digital transaction market in the MENA region alone. This is a first of many licenses that we are targeting for the year 2018. Bahrain is an ideal region for us to showcase our cryptocurrency-based payment systems, and with the help of CBB and other central banks, we will be able to implement our identity management solutions using the Belrium Blockchain pretty soon.” The Chief Operating Officer, Jabeer KM, Belfrics’ said the approval was, “a perfect start for the year 2018,” adding, “We are also working closely with central banks in Africa, Middle East and Asia to regulate the cryptocurrency space using our innovative KYC-based blockchain, Belrium.”
The Bahrain government has expressed an interest in the nation becoming a fintech hub and this is seen as a positive step in that direction. This has been emphasised by Khalid Al Rumaihi, the chief executive of the Economic Development Board of Bahrain, who has indicated the country’s desire to issue bonds via distributed ledger technology.
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