From our regional Headquarter in Dubai, we are taking projects all over the GCC, making us one of the largest blockchain development studios and consultancies in the region. The Kingdom of Bahrain is one of the strategic points for blockchain in the GCC. In this article, I’ll highlight some of the growing number of Blockchain Middle East initiatives happening in the country.
Bahrain is part of the Gulf Cooperation Countries, and is an island country strategically located between Qatar and Saudi Arabia. It’s our ‘opener’ for our Blockchain Middle East series. Government initiatives, especially those of the FinTech blockchain variety, are particularly important here.
First of all, like its GCC neighbor the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain is targeting “country level” blockchain adoption, especially in the financial services sector. FinTech blockchain projects are gaining popularity. For instance, the Bahrain Economic Development Board has signed a partnership with the Singapore FinTech Consortium. Their plan is expand the commercial, technical and legal infrastructures and regulations to develop the Kingdom’s FinTech ecosystem. There are plans for it to heavily rely on blockchain technology. “The ability for blockchain to be adopted at the country level is a huge opportunity for Bahrain to move into the spotlight as a pioneer in this space” said the CEO of Bahrain Economic Development Board, Khalid Al Rumaihi.
The Singapore partnership is something very interesting at a regional level. The Singaporean central bank and Abu Dhabi, the UAE’s capital Emirate, also signed a FinTech partnership a little earlier.
Bahrain also joined the UAE in a regional effort for blockchain development. As you might know, Dubai is aiming to involve all its governmental agencies in blockchain adoption by the year 2020 as part of its “Dubai Blockchain Strategy” effort.
Bahrain is announcing new blockchain initiatives left and right, involving all aspects of the government. In general, I think that the government in Bahrain is overwhelmingly supportive of blockchain. I can definitely see it at the conference I’m at right now in Manama. Just to show you an example (non FinTech blockchain this time), in May 2018, the governmental agency in charge of traffic announced a new plan to develop a blockchain-based vehicle registration system. It’s going to be designed and implemented in the very near future.
Concerning the usage and trading of cryptocurrencies, Bahrain sees itself to be an innovator and early adopter in the space. Blockchain regulation is set to help and encourage rather than ban anything. The chief executive of Bahrain’s Economic Development Board announced the country’s plans to establish a regulatory sandbox for digital currencies. Also, he allowed exchanges to operate in partnership with the Central Bank of Bahrain. As a matter of fact, the Central Bank of Bahrain has already granted a license to Palmex, a Dubai-based cryptocurrency exchange just a few weeks ago.
He went on to suggest that Bahrain could even issue bonds based on digital currencies. This could establish Bahrain as one of the most innovative countries in the blockchain space.
Conferences – Blockchain Middle East
More and more blockchain conferences are also organized in Bahrain. I myself am currently in the Kingdom. I’ve been representing Espeo Blockchain at the World Blockchain Congress happening on July 29th and 30th but I’m still around. You can drop me a message if you’d like to learn more about our capabilities when it comes to helping you with your blockchain projects.