What is the concept behind Coinmena?
Within the Middle East and North Africa, there is a growing appetite from both retail and institutional investors to invest in crypto assets. The avenues from which to do so within the region are limited, and also they do not encompass investing via local currencies. CoinMENA was founded on the vision of addressing this key need of unlocking access for crypto assets in the MENA region in a regulated, reliable, safe and convenient way.
When was the first time you got involved with cryptocurrency?
From a young age, I have always been entrepreneurial. I started my career building and growing the family’s real estate business where I gained firsthand experience in scaling a venture. In 2015, I worked closely with the founding team of the first regional crypto assets exchange. Based on this experience, it was evident to me that the region needed a fully-regulated and well-governed exchange with stable banking relationships that allowed customers to transact in their local currency. It is on this premise that I established CoinMENA.
Can you give us an overview of your operations?
CoinMENA is headquartered in Bahrain, with a secondary office in Jordan. It is a fully-regulated, onshore, and Sharia-compliant crypto assets exchange. We are licensed by the Central Bank of Bahrain as a Crypto Asset Services – Category 2 company making us one of few fully-regulated exchanges globally.
Catering to both beginners and experienced crypto traders, CoinMENA is currently available to investors in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, and Oman. Investors will be able to deposit, trade, and withdraw in their respective local currencies. At present, CoinMENA offers five leading crypto assets: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin, and Bitcoin Cash.
What is the market size of cryptocurrency trading within the GCC region?
Globally, the crypto assets market currently stands at around $1.8 trillion and this is anticipated to cross the $2.5 trillion mark by the end of 2021. The MENA region currently contributes around 2 per cent of the global total, equating to $36bn. Of this, the GCC represents around 60 per cent, equating to around $25bn. Based on current market dynamics for the MENA region, we anticipate it to contribute around 2.5 per cent of the global total by the end of the year.
Apart from Bahrain, have other GCC governments encouraged cryptocurrency trading?
Besides Bahrain, the UAE, through its different financial regulatory bodies, has also been looking closely at crypto assets. This would enable retail and institutional investors in both countries to invest in this industry. As more countries and regulators in the MENA region start embracing crypto assets, as Bahrain and UAE have, it will result in further acceptance and increased investments in the industry.
What are the expansion plans you have in mind for the business?
We will be growing our geographic market coverage by targeting new markets within the MENA region at an initial stage to ensure that the region can access crypto assets. Subsequently, we will expand outside of the region. Additionally, we will be widening our product offering through additional crypto assets that are globally proven and stable.