BitOasis, crypto broker has received its first license in the GCC and MENA region from Bahrain. The Category 2 license allows BitOasis to offer crypto asset services from the Central Bank of Bahrain. Prior to BitOasis receiving its license in Bahrain, CoinMENA, RAIN, ARP Digital and Binance had already received licenses.

ARP Digital, CoinMENA and Rain all hold a category 3 license, while only Binance holds a category 4 license. As such BitOasis will be the only category 2 license in Bahrain so far.

As per Bahrain licenses, a Category 1 license is issued to market participants providing investment advisory services, Category 2 licenses for trading in accepted crypto assets as an agent, portfolio management & Crypto-asset custody service as well as offering investment advice. Category 3 licenses are obtained, for trading in accepted crypto assets as an agent, trading in accepted crypto assets as a principal, portfolio management, keeping custody of crypto-asset as well as providing investment advice, while crypto exchanges receive a Category 4 license.

In the meantime, BitOasis current regulatory status in the UAE under VARA is active awaiting full license approval.

As per the press release, the regulatory approval in Bahrain will enable BitOasis to launch its new broker-dealer platform through its local company in the Kingdom, BitOasis Bahrain.

Located in Bahrain Fintech Bay, BitOasis Bahrain will be home to a small team of core employees at its inception, with the company gradually growing its presence in the Kingdom as it works to launch its new platform, expected to go live in the second half of 2024.

BitOasis Bahrain will serve retail, corporate, and institutional clients in Bahrain and the broader MENA region, with an initial focus on its broker-dealer product.

Ola Doudin, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of BitOasis, stated, “With regulation at the forefront of a maturing regional crypto market, we are delighted to have secured this new license from the Central Bank of Bahrain. The Central Bank’s commitment and leadership in regulating our industry allows businesses like BitOasis to launch cutting-edge products in an industry characterized by rapidly and dynamically evolving technology. We are excited to welcome our new team in Bahrain to the business and to start serving new customers very soon.”

Launched in 2016, BitOasis offers over 60 tokens with fiat currencies such as AED, SAR, and USD. Since its inception, the company has processed over USD 6 billion in trading volume and raised more than USD 40 million in funding from leading regional and global investors.

According to ZachXBT, an internet sleuth with over 500 hundred thousand followers on Twitter, Bahrain and UAE regulated crypto broker, RAIN, has been likely exploited for $14.8 million. The exploit happened on April 29th and according to ZacHxbt no statement was made by RAIN on the incident.

On the contrary on May 6th RAIN Bahrain tweeted “It was our pleasure to have our General Manager of Bahrain Mohamed Ateeq speak at the Sixth Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum, organized by the University of Bahrain as part of the Manama week events by the Southern Municipality. It is always a pleasure for us to share Rain’s journey that lay the foundations for the crypto sector in the MENA region.”

According to ZachXBT on TME, “It appears the crypto exchange Rain was likely exploited for $14.8M on April 29, 2024 after their BTC, ETH, SOL, and XRP wallets saw suspicious outflows. Funds were quickly transferred to instant exchanges and swapped for BTC and ETH.”

He added, “As of now Rain has yet to make any statement about the incident.”

He noted that the stolen funds currently sit on these addresses

137.9 BTC

bc1q53aawrkpt5lvk2e30z36unvmhqqdru7q4rprp2 (

1881 ETH

0x197bc094f990261fd6841342901c451858756c28 (

RAIN crypto exchange had received a license both from the Central Bank of Bahrain as well as ADGM in Abu Dhabi. In Bahrain Rain Management W.L.L. is licensed by the Central Bank of Bahrain as a Category 3 Crypto-Asset Services Provider. It received its license back in 2019.

In 2022, RAIN Crypto exchange raised $110 in a Series B funding round. The round was co-led by Paradigm and Kleiner Perkins with participation from multiple parties including Coinbase Ventures, Global Founders Capital, MEVP, Cadenza Ventures, and CMT Digital.

As per RAIN’s website it is backed by MEVP (Middle East Venture Partners), Dubai International Financial Centre, Coinbase, Paradigm, and KleinerPerkins.

In July 2023 RAIN received a fully regulated crypto broker license in UAE through ADGM.

Lara on the Block tried to get in touch with executives from RAIN but without avail. UAE ADGM also has no official statement to make at this time. The Central Bank of Bahrain could not be reached at this time.

Touting itself as “The most trusted cryptocurrency platform” if this turns out to be true it will have negative effects on crypto sentiments in the region. Crypto investors lost $2 billion to hacks and exploits last year and $333 million in Q1 of 2024. 

UAE and Bahrain regulated CoinMENA crypto broker has added Telegram’s The Open Network (TON) to its platform, allowing users to send USDT via the TON blockchain. According to the announcement CoinMENA becomes the first regional platform to enable USDT withdrawals via the TON network.

TON joins Ethereum’s ERC-20 and TRON’s TRC-20 as the third blockchain available to CoinMENA users for sending USDT.

CoinMENA Co-Founder and Managing Director Dina Sam’an expressed her excitement in a LinkedIn post saying “Users can seamlessly swap their local currencies to USDT at the most competitive market rates and send them to over 900 million Telegram users. I am extremely excited and proud of the team for mobilizing quickly and becoming the first regional platform to enable USDT withdrawals via TON just 10 days after Tether announced launching USDT on TON.”

CoinMENA Co-Founder and CEO Talal Tabbaa added “Stablecoins, particularly USDT, stand out as crypto’s “killer app,” constituting approximately 70% of on-chain transactions and providing access to U.S. dollars for millions worldwide. The rapid adoption of USDT regionally is unsurprising, given its superior and more convenient experience compared to traditional USD wire transfers. Additionally, with many regional currencies pegged to the dollar, using USDT as a medium of exchange mitigates exposure to FX risk. I’m thrilled about this addition and proud that CoinMENA is leading the charge as the first crypto company to offer this in the region”

The announcement adds that this aligns with CoinMENA’s mission to become the simplest and safest way to onboard people onto crypto by providing a reliable onramp to stablecoins, the most popular use case thus far.

CoinMENA has had a string of partnership announcements with formidable players over the past months. The crypto broker recently partnered with Zodia Markets, enhancing liquidity for its platform. It also partnered with Network international to offer secure onramp from Fiat to crypto, and even partnered with Onramp Bitcoin.

Built on Tezos blockchain, Bahrain based Real World Tokenization entity INABLR Middle East recently graduated from the Central Bank of Bahrain’s regulatory sandbox having piloted the first blockchain enabled fractional Sukuk Investment platform. Once INABLR receives its license in around six months, it will become the first global entity to offer fractionalized Sukuk (Islamic Bonds).

Speaking to Lara on the Block Anver Jalaldeen, Founder & Executive Chairman of INABLR, explained that after three years in the Central Bank of Bahrain’s regulatory sandbox he is proud of the accomplishment.

Jalaldeen who previously held the position of Senior Vice President Head of Investment Banking at Sharjah Islamic Bank, came up with the idea of democratizing Islamic Sukuks to allow not only those who held $1000 to invest but also those who had just a $100.

For INABLR and its team, the fractional tokenization of Sukuk aims to empower retail investors by providing them with opportunities to diversify their portfolios and participate in previously inaccessible markets.

Jalaldeen explains, “Once we get the license, which should be in six months, we will become the first entity in the world to offer fractionalized Sukuk. This means clients with even $100 will be able to participate in a Sukuk offering. We are democratizing this Islamic financial product so that retailers across the globe can be part of this.”

Being part of the regulatory sandbox and working the Central Bank allowed INABLR to prove that tokenization of Sukuk on blockchain was safe.

He says, “We worked on everything, KYC, AML, security, custody and other elements that are involved in the process we built a platform that is dedicated to compliance, transparency, and regulatory excellence.”

Tezos Blockchain provided INABLR with a grant. This does not mean that in the future INABLR cannot be built on other blockchain platforms.

Jalaldeen adds that Bahrain was the best location to carry out a real-world assets tokenization pilot as well as receive a license. He notes, “Bahrain has been at the forefront of digital assets and blockchain regulation, and we are very happy to have started our journey here. Bahrain offers a clear licensing for VASPs in terms of categories.”

He is interested in also setting up in Qatar and other GCC and MENA countries in the future. He explains, “We are looking to expand globally either by offering our solution as a B2B, B2C or white labelled solution.”

It is noteworthy that Qatar has shown strong interest in tokenization and the development of digital assets.

With a Sukuk market size of $10 billion in GCC, the tokenization of real-world assets and sukuks in particular will be a significant feat. Next could be the tokenization of real estate and maybe one day sovereign Sukuks.

For Jalaldeen “The CBB’s commitment to fostering innovation has been instrumental in our success. INABLR is not only focused on fractionalizing Sukuk but also aims to revolutionize access to a wide range of real-world assets that are traditionally available only to institutional investors.”

CoinMENA B.S.C., a leading crypto asset platform licensed by the Central Bank of Bahrain and sister company CoinMENA FZE, licensed by the Dubai Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA), have partnered with Zodia Markets, a UK headquartered digital asset trading business, backed by Standard Chartered enhancing its liquidity on its platform.

The partnership will provide CoinMENA users with enhanced liquidity and reduced slippage on high-volume trades for G10 and GCC currencies vs a list of vetted and well-researched stablecoins and crypto assets.

Zodia Markets is renowned for its industry-leading trading and operational infrastructure, ensuring timely and efficient settlement. The business operates as a digital asset brokerage for institutional clients, offering a seamless avenue for fiat versus digital asset transactions across multiple currencies.

CoinMENA is a crypto asset platform where retail and institutional investors can buy, sell, send, receive, and store digital assets safely.
The partnership merges the strengths of two pioneering institutions. CoinMENA’s extensive network of retail and institutional clients across the MENA region, combined with Zodia Markets’ industry-leading capability, establishes a reliable and trusted gateway to digital assets.
In a joint statement, CoinMENA co-founders Talal Tabbaa and Dina Sam’an stated, “This partnership comes at a perfect time because we are seeing a significant increase in interest from retail and institutional investors. With Zodia Markets we substantially enhanced our service offering and can provide investors with more efficient avenues for entering and exiting the digital assets market, with minimal transaction costs and efficient settlement.”

Ayad Butt, Head of Sales and Trading Africa and Middle East, Zodia Markets added “The AME region, particularly UAE and Bahrain, has evolved impressively over the last five years. Regulatory clarity, world-class infrastructure, access to capital, and a growing economy
have attracted the best minds and the most sophisticated capital for trading, investing, and innovating.”

Ayad emphasized, “The growth and increased adoption of digital assets in this ecosystem hinge on bridging traditional finance with digital assets. That’s precisely what the partnership between Zodia Markets and CoinMENA achieves. We’re excited by the efficiencies this partnership will create for trading in the region.”

Over the past months CoinMENA has been partnering with several major players to enhance its crypto offering across the MENA region. It partnered with Network International, Onramp Bitcoin

Saudi Telecom Company Bahrain better known as stc Bahrain has partnered with Aleph Zero to explore DePIN ( Decentralized Physical Infrastructure network) use cases.

Aleph Zero has formed an alliance with stc Bahrain, Telecom operator in Bahrain. The collaboration with Aleph Zero is set to bolster stc Bahrain’s Web3 initiatives that will improve the breadth and depth of the experiences that are offered to stc’s customers.

The first step of the collaboration is for stc Bahrain to deploy validator nodes on Aleph Zero. At the same time, Aleph Zero will join stc’s Pearling Path initiative, a Web3 Launchpad Program designed to accelerate Web3 adoption in the Middle East. Pearling Path focuses on integrating blockchain infrastructure to address regional challenges and enhance economic growth.

As per the press release, the partnership will not only broaden stc Bahrain’s infrastructure portfolio, but will also bolster Aleph Zero’s network and adoption—which stc Bahrain recognized for characteristics such as privacy, scalability, security, and speed. Aleph Zero also stood out to stc Group’s subsidiary thanks to the team’s technological prowess and unique approach to tackling on-chain privacy and enterprise-grade scalability challenges.

Saad Odeh, stc Bahrain Chief Wholesale Officer noted, “Aleph Zero brings privacy-enhancing technology and a scalable, decentralized network that resonates with our vision for a seamless digital future. Privacy-enhancing web3 protocols and Telecoms are a perfect match.”
stc Bahrain also highlighted Aleph Zero’s innovative consensus protocol, AlephBFT, and the fact that it is a public network offering robust privacy technology through a blend of Zero-Knowledge Proofs (ZK-SNARKs) and Secure Multi-Party Computation (sMPC). The company is confident in Aleph Zero’s ability to deliver a secure, scalable solution, and lay the groundwork for private, verifiable transactions–without compromising sensitive data.

Antoni Zolciak, Aleph Zero Co-founder added,” stc Bahrain stands as a pioneer in the Gulf region, leading the charge in introducing Web3 and blockchain solutions to its extensive customer base. Aleph Zero is thrilled to collaborate with such a prominent player in the telecommunications arena, that shares our dedication to secure, scalable, and privacy-focused blockchain infrastructure. We look forward to seeing how our combined efforts will contribute to advancing a more secure, decentralized DePIN digital ecosystem across the Gulf region and beyond.”

In the past weeks stc Bahrain has signed several partnerships with blockchain entities including stc Bahrain operating nodes on Core Chain Bitcoin Layer 1 blockchain as part of its Web3 launchpad initiative. It also partnered with Lionscraft for blockchain and Web3 services.

Stc Bahrain, the Saudi Telecom subsidiary in Bahrain, has once again showcased how the telecom industry can embrace Blockchain,Web3 and now DeFi with stc Bahrain operating nodes on Core Chain Bitcoin Layer 1 blockchain. Stc Bahrain has partnered with Core Chain DAO as part of its Web3 launchpad initiative.

As part of stc Pearling Path Partnership Program, a Web3 launchpad in MENA, stc Bahrain will deploy and operate nodes on the Core Chain network, bolstering its resilience as a key infrastructure provider in the Gulf.

As per the press release, this initiative underscores stc Bahrain’s commitment to digital transformation and Core’s mission to promote global blockchain adoption.

“By incorporating Core Chain into our Pearling Path initiative, we’re not just adopting a blockchain protocol; we’re laying the groundwork for scalable innovation for the future. This is a significant step towards building a cohesive Web3 ecosystem in the Gulf,” said Mr. Saad Odeh , Chief Wholesale Officer at stc Bahrain.

Core Chain’s commitment to privacy, scalability, and its Satoshi Plus consensus mechanism align with stc Bahrain’s vision to foster economic growth in the region. By integrating the strengths of Proof of Work (PoW) and Delegated Proof of Stake (DPoS), Core Chain is able to create a blockchain environment that is not only secure and decentralized but also highly scalable to meet the evolving demands of the digital landscape.

Recently Core Chain launched Core Ignition is a carefully designed six-month incentive program launched on March 11, 2024, aimed at rewarding the Core community for their contributions to the network.

As per their announcement, the world of Decentralized Finance (DeFi) is constantly evolving, and the concept of BTCfi (Bitcoin DeFi) is at the forefront of this innovation.

In March 2024 Stc Bahrain, announced that it will be offering Web3 infrastructure services using blockchain in partnership with LionsCraft for the Bahrain market. Lionscraft provides cutting-edge technology and business consulting in the thriving Web3 space.

In 2022 stc Bahrain also became the first telecom operator in Bahrain to accept cryptocurrencies through its partnership with Eazy Financial Services, a leading Bahraini Payment Services provider specializing in POS and online payment gateway. EazyPay uses BinancePay and wallet to offer this service to more than 5000 POS terminals in Bahrain.

Homegrown Bahrain based ARP Digital has received a Category 3 crypto asset service provider licensed by the Central Bank of Bahrain. A category 3 license allows ARP Digital to offer crypto trading service as an agent and as a principle as well as offering custodial and investment management services.

ARP Digital provides accredited and institutional investors the requisite, tools, products, and services to effectively allocate capital to the digital asset space. ARP Digital combines best-in-class structuring capabilities with sophisticated quantitative research to deliver investment solutions for investors looking to build a strategic allocation to the digital asset space in a fully integrated way.

As per their website, ARP Digital customers include, accredited investors, family offices, institutions, asset managers, crypto exchanges, and crypto miners.

ARP Digital will be the sole provider in Bahrain specialized in over-the-counter services for structured digital asset products.

With the availability of structured digital asset products, a bridge is ​being built between traditional and cryptographic financial services.

At the heart of ARP Digital’s mission is the provision of comprehensive trading, custody, and portfolio management services. As per their website ARP Digital offers investors the ability to buy tokens, options, and structured products using wire transfers or on-chain transfers.

The team behind ARP Digital includes Yusuf Alireza, a former Goldman Sachs titan with a storied two-decade tenure and historical designation as the institution’s⁣ inaugural Arab partner, offers a blend of traditional and innovative investment strategies.

In addition is Abdul Aziz Kanoo, who previously held the position of regional director for Amber Group business in MENA. Prior to Amber Group, Abdulaziz worked in various Venture Capital Funds in New York and Dubai including Fin Capital, Palm Drive Capital, and BECO Capital. His Brother Yusuf Kanoo also a director, served as a fintech executive at the Bank of Bahrain and Kuwait (BBK) and a data analytics professional at MARF Group, where he was responsible for utilizing big data for strategy formulation and process optimization.

Yusuf Alireza’s believes that digital assets are the most consequential financial services innovation in the past two decades.

CoinMENA a licensed crypto broker in Bahrain also holds a Category 3 license. While Binance is the only crypto exchange in Bahrain to hold a category 4 license. Binance with its category 4 license can offer full crypto exchange services.

In a recent LinkedIn post, Talal Tabbaa, Co-Founder and CEO at CoinMENA, a regulated crypto broker in both UAE and Bahrain noted that the crypto exchange witnessed all-time high in crypto trading volume in February 2024.

As he stated, “CoinMENA hit an all-time high in trading volume this February, surpassing January by 80%. January itself set a record with a 64% increase from December.”

Interestingly he added that the majority of this volume came from institutions, family offices, and high net worth individuals. He adds, “The majority of this volume came from institutions, family offices, and high-net worth individuals. Retail is picking up, but nowhere near 2021 levels. Google Trends and Coinbase App Store ranking confirm similar trends. 2024 could be the biggest year in bitcoin yet because this is unprecedented in the history of finance.”

His comments on increased institutional interest is backed up by Philippe Bekhazi, CEO of XBTO global who recently told Fastcompany ME media platform that there’s a clear uptake in institutional investments in the international and UAE cryptocurrency markets, with 64% of institutions planning to increase their digital asset allocations in the next three years.

“This maturing market environment influences institutional investors by offering a diversified and technologically advanced investment landscape, enabled by the entry of specialized and regulated digital asset players in the UAE ecosystem,” says Philippe Bekhazi, CEO at XBTO Global.

Tabbaa believes that for the first time, increasing demand is meeting fixed supply. He gives example of ETFs which are alone purchasing over 11,000 BTC, while the daily issuance of Bitcoin is 900 BTC. So there is an obvious shortage.  

This is not just happening in the MENA region, rising bitcoin (BTC) prices have revived a crypto trading frenzy in South Korea, with volumes on local exchanges crossing those in the local stock market. Local media reported that trading volumes on South Korea-based crypto exchanges totalled a record 11.8 trillion won (KRW) on Sunday, or $9 billion at the going USD-KRW exchange rate. These topped Friday’s South Korean stock trading volume of 11.47 trillion won, or $8.7 billion.

CC Data noted that In February, the combined spot and derivatives trading volume on centralized exchanges rose 2.28% to $4.73tn as trading activity remains at a heightened level with Bitcoin nearing new all-time highs.

Tabbaa explains, “ETFs are buying up 12x the daily supply of bitcoin. The halving coming up in April will cut the daily issuance to 450 BTC. Bitcoin price is 9% away from an all-time high. Eventually, everyone will want access to the best-performing asset class in the world.”

He believes that given that Bitcoin price is at an all-time high, and the halving is 36 days away, increasing demand will meet decreasing supply.

With Bitcoin at $73,000 it seems he just might be right!

Stc Bahrain, the Saudi telecom subsidiary in Bahrain, announced that it will be offering Web3 infrastructure services using blockchain in partnership with LionsCraft for the Bahrain market. Lionscraft provides cutting-edge technology and business consulting in the thriving Web3 space.

This collaboration marks a significant step in integrating stc Bahrain’s telco capabilities into the blockchain industry facilitating the introduction of the most innovative products and services, and setting new benchmarks in regional digital evolution.

As per the release, the expansion is aimed at nurturing the advancement of the digital economy and improving the experience of internet users.

The signing ceremony was held in the metaverse in stc Bahrain tower while the agreement itself was deployed as an NFT ( Non Fungible token) on the Avalanche Blockchain.

. Additionally, the partnership agreement itself is deployed as an NFT (non-fungible token) on the Avalanche network. Within its metadata, there is hash linking to the signed contract, enabling users to authenticate the NFT’s origin and validity.

stc Bahrain chief wholesale officer Mr. Saad Odeh commented on the partnership, saying, “Web3 is progressively solidifying its form. While it may be perceived as another iteration of the internet, it represents a generational shift. stc BH will offer several Web3 infrastructure services, serving as a cornerstone to enable dynamic user experiences while ensuring greater data sovereignty and privacy to internet users. We are thrilled to contribute to establishing the groundwork for the future and spearheading the transformation of the digital experiences in MENA region.  We are committed to executing our mandate of empowering the next phase of digital transformation in alignment with the Bahrain Economic Vision 2030.”

Lionscraft CEO Dr. Adilah Hussien added, “Lionscraft is delighted to partner with stc Bahrain, harnessing our collective expertise to forge the path for Web3 innovations. This collaboration represents a shared vision for a decentralized future, where empowerment and user-centric design lead the digital narrative. Together, we are laying the foundational stones for an ecosystem that prioritizes trust, autonomy, and the seamless integration of blockchain technologies into everyday digital interactions.”

In December 2022, stc Bahrain became the first telecom operator in Bahrain to accept cryptocurrencies through its partnership with Eazy Financial Services, a leading Bahraini Payment Services provider specializing in POS and online payment gateway. In addition stc Bahrain collaborated with AlephZero, a layer 1 blockchain that allows the deployment of Web3 applications quickly, securely and at low cost for its Hackathon called CTRL+Hack+ZK.