Network International (Network), the leading enabler of digital commerce across the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region, collaborated with virtual asset service provider CoinMENA FZE, to provide users with a seamless and secure onramp from fiat to crypto via card deposits.

The announcement was made at a signing ceremony led by Pankaj Kundra, Group Head of Products, Partnerships, and Enterprises at Network International, and Talal Tabbaa, CEO of CoinMENA.

CoinMENA is regulated and licensed by Dubai’s Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority, and the Central Bank of Bahrain. CoinMENA enables investors to buy, sell, send, receive, and store digital assets safely and securely.

CoinMENA Co-Founders Talal Tabbaa and Dina Sam’an said in a joint statement, “Partnering with Network International, the leading enabler of digital commerce in the MENA region, marks a significant milestone in our commitment to providing our users in the UAE with seamless and secure onramps to crypto. With the ability to deposit fiat to their CoinMENA wallet instantly via cards, our users can now experience a streamlined and efficient process. This aligns with our mission to continually enhance the accessibility and convenience of crypto services. We look forward to leveraging Network International’s industry leadership in the UAE and providing the best experience possible for our users.”

Pankaj Kundra, Group Head of Products, Partnerships and Enterprises at Network International, said, “Network’s legacy of 30 years of providing cutting-edge payment solutions allows us to capitalise our experience and expertise across next-generation platforms such as crypto and digital asset financial services. Our collaboration with CoinMENA will provide UAE investors with an additional option to use their cards to fund their CoinMENA wallets.”

He added, “Deposits using cards is the most convenient way for users to fund their crypto wallets. We look forward to supporting CoinMENA by strengthening their onramp capabilities, through our best-in-class N-Genius payment gateway. Our partnership further reaffirms our commitment to streamline digital payments in the region in line with the UAE’s bid to become a financially inclusive and cashless economy.”

Recently CoinMENA expanded its family office, investor and institutional offering through a partnership with Onramp Bitcoin. Onramp is an international Bitcoin asset management company built on multi institutional custody.

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!

In 2023 and earlier this year in January, the UAE licensed in total 13 crypto exchanges and crypto brokers. This came at the backdrop of a more robust virtual asset regulatory ecosystem both in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, as well as a heightened awareness and interest in investing in crypto tokens, virtual assets, and digital assets.

The most important question to many who are either already investing and trading in crypto or who are just getting started is which crypto exchange or broker can serve me best. The article will look into each crypto exchange and compare them to offer a more transparent mirror of the licensed and regulated crypto exchanges in the UAE.

OKX:

Starting with OKX is mainly because it is the first global exchange to receive a virtual asset license to operate their crypto exchange in the UAE. OKX received the license in January 2024, yet is still not fully operational as it finalizes certain requirements requested by Dubai’s virtual asset regulatory authority VARA.

However when it does start, it will offer more than 350 crypto tokens. So other than the basic offering of trading tokens or trade pairs on the spot, margin and derivatives markets, it also offers managing of DeFi portfolios, buying and selling NFTs, earn crypto in our mining pools, and take out crypto collateralized loans.

But wait all these products are not available to UAE retail and institutional clients. So far, OKX’s approved suite of duly regulated virtual assets activities includes spot services and spot-pairs, via the OKX App and OKX.com exchange.

The UAE VASP License also allows OKX to offer AED deposits and withdrawals.

OKX also announced that it has developed its Arabic website to meet the needs of users in the MENA region.

Finally OKX is active on all social media platforms so engaging with the community is available through many channels.

The crypto exchange boasts of over 50 million users in more than 100 countries. It is currently seeking a license in Hong Kong.

CoinMENA

Next in line is homegrown Crypto broker CoinMENA, which is not only now licensed in the UAE but was also one of the first to be licensed in Bahrain. CoinMENA offers the major cryptocurrencies on its platform, 52 in total.

It is fully operational and is authorized to serve Institutional Investors, qualified Investors and retail Investors. It offers spot trading of crypto assets.

CoinMENA already is fully operational and has been serving customers in the GCC and MENA region through its Bahrain licensed entity.

In addition customers can deposit money directly via bank transfer or credit/debit card to a customer’s CoinMENA Wallet, as well as withdraw money from CoinMENA Wallet directly to a client’s bank account.

CoinMENA currently serves over 900,000 users supporting seven countries.

Recently CoinMENA expanded its family office, investor and institutional offering through a partnership with Onramp Bitcoin. Onramp is an international Bitcoin asset management company built on multi institutional custody.

Crypto ExchangeRegulatory StatusPresence in
OKXCrypto ExchangeHongKong UAE
Fassetcrypto brokerUAE
CoinMENAcrypto brokerUAE Bahrain
GCEXInstitutional crypto ExchangeUAE Denmark UK
FUZECrypto brokerUAE
BackPack Exchange crypto exchangeUAE
TokoCrrypto exchange/brokerUAE
Laser DigitalCrypto BrokerUAE
RAINCrypto brokerUAE Bahrain
M2 Crypto exchangeUAE
GlomexInstitutional crypto exchangeUAE
MatrixInstitutional crypto exchangeUAE
MidchainsInstitutional crypto exchangeUAE
VenomexInstitutional crypto ExchangeUAE

M2

M2 is a UAE Abu Dhabi Homegrown crypto exchange. It received its license back in November 2023 from ADGM. It was recognized as a fully regulated Multilateral Trading Facility (MTF) and Custodian and is now able to on-board UAE residents and institutional clients.

M2 offers spot trading and currently has 50 crypto tokens to choose from.

It will also be able to offer AED Fiat On/Off-Ramp: Allow the on/off ramp of AED with ease through its partnership with a local bank in the near future.

One of the strengths of M2 is that it is backed by strong investors, one of which is a Bitcoin mining conglomerate, Phoenix Group that helps M2 to offer its Bitcoin Earn Product. The product was launched in partnership with Phoenix crypto mining group and offers yields that reach up to 10.5%.

M2 has an equity investment of $300 million as well.

RAIN

RAIN crypto broker and exchange was the first crypto broker to receive a license in the MENA region. Its operations started in Bahrain and it is now licensed in the UAE through ADGM in Abu Dhabi.

On the landing page of RAIN the first thing a user sees is the 0% trading fee. RAIN offers 70 crypto tokens to trade with. RAIN also offers crypto swaps.

It also is able to offer AED Fiat On/Off-Ramp: Allow the on/off ramp of AED with ease through its partnership with UAE local banks.

Like most of the major exchanges it has a mobile application, and is present on most social media channels.

Fasset

In November 2023, Fasset received its crypto broker license from Dubai’s regulator VARA. This license follows Fasset’s launch in Indonesia in August, where it partnered with Mastercard Indonesia and telco giant Indosat Ooredoo Hutchison.

Fasset offers five crypto tokens to trade with.

On its website, unlike other crypto exchanges, Fasset states that it offers gold investments using blockchain technology, crypto staking and other products. How much of this they can offer with their license in VARA is not clear. But it would be a surprise if they could offer these with their current license.

Crypto ExchangeMaker FeeTaker FeeCurrenciesMinimum deposit USDTrade Limits
OKX0.08%0.10%32010100,000 USDT
Fasset0.10%1.00%5351000
CoinMENA0.75%0.75%5210No limits
GCEXNoNo5050,000No Limits
FUZENANANANANA
BackPack Exchange0.085%0.095%NANANA
TokoNANANANANA
Laser DigitalNANANANANA
RAIN0.15%0.30%7020No Limits
M20.02%0.04%3050NA
GlomexNANANANANA
Matrix0.10%0.20%750,000No Limits
Midchains0%0.40%17NANo limits
VenomexNANANANANA
NA means not available on their website or other sources of information.

Other crypto exchanges

As for the rest of the crypto exchanges and brokers that serve retail and institutional clients and are licensed in UAE, they are Fuze, BackPack exchange, Toko and Laser Digital. These four were licensed by Dubai’s virtual asset authority, but have yet to populate their websites with clear information on their product offering, fees and other information.

Fuze is preparing to launch and its CEO refrained from sharing information until they do.

As for purely institutional investors they can work with the following crypto exchanges who only deal with institutional customers. These are GCEX where the minimum deposit is $50,000 offering 50 tokens.

According to GCEX Managing Director, Mehtap Onder, the exchange doesn’t charge its clients maker and taker fees but just a trading fee.

Then there is Matrix, who also has a minimum deposit of $50,000 but offers just 7 crypto tokens to trade and invest in.

Interestingly Venomex has no information on its fees and offering, and just states on its website, that it will communicate its fees and charges via a notice.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the UAE definitely now has an array of crypto exchanges and crypto brokers that can offer safe and secure means to trade and invest in crypto tokens. It is left up to customers to choose which one they feel more comfortable with, which one offers competitive fees and which ones offer the crypto assets they want to trade.

Users can choose between local, regional and global exchanges to work with. But the future will bring even more. As VARA recently announced, while the regulator awarded 19 regulated VASP licenses in 2023, with 11 already operational, it will be adding 72 more in the coming months.

This could mean that Binance will soon have a license to operate in UAE, as will ByBit, and Crypto.com among others.

As more crypto exchanges enter the UAE as regulated entities, competition will surely increase and this is always a good thing for clients and users, so be prepared.

UAE and Bahrain regulated crypto exchange CoinMENA expands its family office, investor and institutional offering through a partnership with Onramp Bitcoin. Onramp is an international Bitcoin asset management company built on multi institutional custody.

Onramp’s platform provides best-in-class products and solutions for HNWI, Family Offices, and Institutions to onboard Bitcoin.

In addition the partnership aims to empower MENA investors with high-quality Bitcoin educational resources such as proprietary written research, rich video content and analytic tools.

Both companies are poised to explore innovative custody solutions designed specifically for institutional investors. The collaboration comes on the heels of Onramp’s recent announcement of a partnership with BitGo, CoinMENA’s current custody partner.

In a joint statement, CoinMENA’s founders, Talal Tabbaa and Dina Sam’an said, “We are excited because this partnership fills a market gap for premium Bitcoin market research, and aligns with our educational approach to empower regional investors to invest in Bitcoin based on sound logic and a deep understanding of its unique and fundamental properties. As Bitcoin evolves into a mainstream international asset class, providing insightful analysis becomes essential for investors and asset managers, guiding them in making confident, long-term investment decisions.”

Onramp Co-Founder and CEO Michael Tanguma added “Onramp recognizes that Bitcoin is a global asset, necessitating the broad dissemination of valuable Bitcoin-focused educational resources across the world – research, podcasts, webinars, data-driven tools like the Onramp Terminal – access to these types of high-quality materials, combined with a first principles approach to custody, is the recipe for successful long-term Bitcoin ownership. We are excited to partner with the team to provide tools and education to one of the fastest-growing regions in the digital asset space.”

This comes just after the USA regulators allowed the launch of Bitcoin ETFs.

CoinMENA has just become one of the first crypto broker from the MENA region to receive a full VASP (Virtual asset service provider license from VARA). As per the license CoinMENA can offer crypto broker services to institutional investors, qualified investors and retail clients.

With this CoinMENA becomes the 10th VASP to receive a license from Dubai’s regulator. CoinMENA already has a license in Bahrain and serves clients across the MENA region.

In August 2023 MENA CoinMENA came out with a new marketing campaign announcing that as a licensed exchange it is serving more than 250,000 users across 8 countries including Bahrain, UAE, KSA, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Iraq and Egypt, stating its intentions to expand its base.

Still not to receive are Binance, Bybit, and Crypto.com, while BitOasis has been removed totally from VARA’s registered VASP list.

This comes after M2 launched its operations out of Abu Dhabi.

In a recent LinkedInpost, MENA crypto exchange CoinMENA fully regulated in Bahrain came out with a new marketing campaign announcing that as a licensed exchange it is serving more than 250,000 users across 8 countries including Bahrain, UAE, KSA, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Iraq and Egypt.

Basing their marketing campaign on the concept of trading on a licensed exchange, CoinMENA is calling crypto traders to trade with them given they unlike other unlicensed exchanges are licensed by the Central Bank of Bahrain, with a category 3 license.

This campaign comes weeks after UAE’s BitOasis lost its active status for its MVP operational license after VARA, Dubai’s virtual asset regulatory authority, issued a market notificiation stating that it had taken enforcement actions against BitOasis and advised investors and consumers that BitOasis’s MVP operational license is under review for not meeting mandated conditions.

BitOasis had been the first crypto exchange to receive an MVP operational license but was then quick to lose it. Binance now holds this status with Dubai’s VARA authority. BitOasis had applied for a license in Bahrain as well. Additionally CoinMENA is also seeking a license with VARA. 

It would seem that the new marketing campaign by CoinMENA is partly rubbing it in that others have lost their licenses and are unlicensed anywhere, while they have one. Qudos to CoinMENA for making lemonade from the lemons of others!

CZ the Co-Founder of Binance has taken to twitter after word came out that the U.S. SEC ( Securities and Commodities Authority) has sued Binance US and its founder for providing trading for securities such as BNB, BUSD, SOL, ADA, MATIC, FIL, ATOM, SAND, MANA, ALGO, AXS, and COTI. The U.S. summarizes the case as a blatant disregard of the federal securities law and the investor and market protections these laws provide. The SEC states that Binance has enriched itself by billions of U.S. dollars while placing investors’ assets at significant risk.

The 13 charges come after the CFTC unveiled a similar complaint against Binance and Zhao earlier this year.

CZ on twitter stated, “4. Our team is all standing by; ensuring systems are stable, including withdrawals, and deposits.  We will issue a response once we see the complaint. Haven’t seen it yet. Media gets the info before we do.”

 Charles Hoskinson of IOHK, who had tweeted, “With respect to Binance, I’m reading through the SEC complaint. It’s over 130 pages, but seems like the next in a series of steps to implement chokepoint 2.0 in the United States. The end goal is an agenda based CBDC partnered with a handful of massive banks and end-to-end control.”

To that CZ replies, “a perfect opportunity for the entire industry to set aside it’s fragmented nature and unite for a common sense set of rules and guidelines”

Binance issued a statement expressing its disappointment with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, stating that they have actively cooperated with SEC’s investigations and have worked hard to answer their questions and address their concerns.

The statement reads, “Most recently, we have engaged in extensive good-faith discussions to reach a negotiated settlement to resolve their investigations.  But despite our efforts, with its complaint today the SEC abandoned that process and instead chose to act unilaterally and litigate.  We are disheartened by that choice. “

They add, “We intend to defend our platform vigorously.  Unfortunately, the SEC’s refusal to productively engage with us is just another example of the Commission’s misguided and conscious refusal to provide much-needed clarity and guidance to the digital asset industry.”

According to Binance, an effective regulatory framework demands collaborative, transparent, and thoughtful policy engagement, a path the SEC has abandoned. Because of our size and global name recognition, Binance is an easy target now caught in the middle of a U.S. regulatory tug-of-war.”

It also explains that because Binance is not a U.S. exchange, the SEC’s actions are limited in reach.  Still, we stand with digital asset market participants in the U.S. in opposition to the SEC’s latest overreach, and we are prepared to fight it to the full extent of the law.

Talal Tabaa, Co-Founder of CoinMENA a crypto broker exchange, told LaraontheBlock, “Honestly, I am not surprised. The SEC has had Binance and CZ in their sights for a while now. Binance operations and ownership structure have always been opaque when compared to others. We will have to wait and see the extent of these charges because the SEC has been on a quite aggressive path with crypto and is pushing many onshore exchanges offshore.”

As for the bright side Tabaa adds, “Ethereum wasn’t listed as part of the assets that are centralized in nature which is a huge win.”

Waseem Mamlouk, Founder of NMB Fintech,  believes that the USA is going after crypto and SEC is the working end of that very focused policy. the USA via the SEC sees alternative assets such as Bitcoin as a threat to fiat currencies especially the US dollar which is the most hegemonic currency, and used in trade deals taking place 24 hours a day.

He adds, “Maintaining that portion size of global market is really big deal for the USA. In absolute terms the USA is biggest money printer in the world, making its product highly diluted which makes them go after all alternative assets and shut them down.

He explains, If you look at late 2021 BTC had a I trillion dollar market cap while today the entire crypto market is under a trillion, so things have changed.

The positive thing according to Mamlouk is that companies are looking to set up in crypto friendly jurisdictions. He notes that a company he is acquainted with which has a 100 million dollar hedge fund that includes stablecoins, early venture startups, Web3 and crypto companies are interested in seeking regulation in markets such as Bahrain.

He finally explains that if the US were to diversify large transactions could be settled in alternative assets, this would be good for US economy. For him the world is changing and as such we have to change with it. This is the natural evolution of economic systems and financial markets.

In conclusion he believes that if you put more things on blockchain, you will achieve more transparency, and trace transactions. Gone are the days where banks such as HSBC can launder money for drug cartels in Mexico. Blockchain and crypto bring more accountability traceability and transparency so the banking structure needs to evolve into this world.

So despite the bad news with SEC versus Binance, there is always a bright side. 

Over the past years and despite the continuous banning of crypto in Qatar by the Qatar Central Bank, crypto trading and investing in Qatar is flourishing reflected in various ways. 

The first reflection of the attractiveness of crypto trading in Qatar is the statement made by Qatar’s Ahli bank, at the end of May 2023. The bank warned customers against, trading, buying and selling virtual assets and currencies through accounts and banking services, citing the reasons as being associated with high risks.

Secondly Triple A report in January 2023 put Qatar’s crypto ownership at 0.9 percent of the population, around 24,000 people. Since then it could be the numbers have increased. Just over a year ago CoinMENA had announced that it was serving clients in Qatar. Even Bahrain’s RAIN crypto broker supports Qatar, as does UAE based BitOasis.

But the third and most significant reflection of the growth of crypto in Qatar is the recent MENA FATF report, where they mention that Qatar needs to work more on improving its risk understanding, implementation of TFS ( Targeted Financial Transactions) and NPO (Nonprofit organizations) preventive measures for virtual assets, and virtual asset service providers.

As mentioned in their report, “ Qatar has a very strong level of compliance with the FATF Standards, with only minor improvements needed in relation to risk understanding, implementation of TFS and NPO preventive measures, VAs and VASPs, wire transfers, transparency for legal persons and arrangements and cross-border movements of cash and BNIs.

So while Qatar has embraced blockchaindigital assets, and is studying the possibility of implementing CBDC, while shunning crypto, the population in Qatar seems to be moving forward with the crypto times.

CoinMENA announced on LinkedIn that residents and citizens of Iraq can now use CoinMENA to trade crypto safely and easily. This will be the 8th country in the region supported by CoinMENA.

CoinMENA is a crypto broker licensed from Bahrain.

As per Dina Sam’an, Founder and Managing Director of CoinMENA, “We are committed to being the simplest and safest way for investors in MENA to trade in digital assets. Adding Iraq to our list of supported countries brings us closer to our goal of providing premium financial services, built on crypto rails, to the entire MENA region. We are excited to welcome the people of Iraq to our community and look forward to providing them with the best crypto trading user experience in the region.”

CoinMENA currently serves clients in Bahrain, UAE, KSA, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Egypt and now Iraq.

Prior to this CoinMENA launched the CoinMENA University, a free educational platform offering over 100 articles and numerous videos to educate those interested in the world of cryptocurrency.

Sam’an stated at the time, “We strongly believe that education is a crucial component of driving the long-term adoption of cryptocurrencies, and we’re committed to making it accessible to everyone.”

In January 2023 Binance celebrated its official entrance into Bahrain. Bahrain’s crypto ecosystem has flourished with the entrance of Binance. Bahrain has witnessed a growth on all fronts, crypto exchange users, crypto payments, crypto jobs and competitive crypto offerings. Binance received its official license in October 2022.

Growth of crypto exchange users

The official license and launch of Binance in Bahrain has added to Binance’s crypto exchange users.

Binance announced that it witnessed a 34% growth in institutional business clients in MENA in Q4 2022, the highest growth for a region where Binance operates, Nadeem Ladki, Executive Director Head of BD & Partnerships, Europe & MENA at Binance told LaraontheBlock, “While I cannot go into the specific growth in Bahrain, I can confirm that we have seen a growth in users since we officially launched in October 2022.”

Even Bahrain based CoinMENA; crypto broker also saw an increase in its user base in 2022 including the period since Binance made its foray into the country. Talal Tabaa CEO and Founder of CoinMENA explained to LaraontheBlock, “Year on Year from December 2021 until December 2022, the verified users of CoinMENA from Bahrain grew by 143 percent. In specific since the entrance of Binance in October 2022, CoinMENA witnessed 5.6 percent growth up until January 2023.”

Growth Crypto vis vie Banking services

In addition to the increase in the number of newly on boarded crypto exchange clients, the country has seen more robust competitive marketing campaigns, with lower fees aimed at attracting a bigger user base as well as enhanced banking crypto relationships.

Binance holds a Category 4 license as a crypto asset service provider (CASP) and was the first exchange in the country to be granted a category four license.  This meant that users could access Binance’s full range of crypto asset exchange services, including direct deposits and withdrawals in local currencies.

Yet this did not faze CoinMENA which despite being a crypto broker still espouses good relationships with liquidity partners and banks. Talal Tabbaa, CEO of CoinMENA told LaraontheBlock, “Compared to other regions, the MENA market is one of the smallest. CoinMENA, Rain & BitOasis are technically all brokerage firms. We all have to work with global liquidity partners to place trades on behalf of our users. CoinMENA can list tokens at its own discretion following the Board of Directors’ approval, but they must comply with CBB guidelines.”

After Binance entered Bahrain and in early 2023, CoinMENA announced that users could now easily deposit and withdraw crypto through bank transfers or cards in just 24 hours. CoinMENA CEO explains, “We maintain good banking relationships which is crucial to ensure the on-ramp and off-ramp services are as frictionless as possible for our users.”

RAIN crypto broker which similar to CoinMENA has a category three license in Bahrain has on some occasions compared its offering with Binance. In a tweet by one of its founders AJ Nelson in late October in reply to a comment from a client stated, “Yes we are well aware of the problems with bank transfers. We are working directly with regulators to solve. In good time we will have a solution regarding fees, have you used Rain Pro? It has 0 maker fees and tight spreads. Lower fees and pricing than Binance.”

More Competitive Marketing Campaigns lower fees

In terms of marketing campaigns to introduce better services at lower cost, Binance for its launch campaign offered 25% discount on all trading fees for Bahrain users through a link ‘ BHLive’. 

In addition Binance offered the Binance Bahrain Card allowing Bahrain clients to spend cryptocurrencies in over 60 million online and physical stores. 

Furthermore in December as part of its Christmas offering, Binance offered its Arabic speaking clients’ rewards reaching $1.5 million in addition to promotions. As it noted on its twitter page Binance offers 350+ crypto assets with fees of less than 0.10 percent per transaction. 

CoinMENA quickly countered these marketing campaigns with those of its own. For example in January 2023, CoinMENA offered discounted card deposit fees for 48 hours again after doing so in late 2022.

 As per the advert, users would pay only 2% fee on card deposits instead of 3.5%. For Bahrain’s National Day celebrations, CoinMENA offered zero trading fees for a limited time of 48 hours. The crypto exchange had also promoted prior to that a 23% off on trading fees for a specified time period.

 CoinMENA offers around 30 crypto assets for trading with fees of 0.75%.

 Tabaa confirms that the entrance of Binance helped to grow the crypto ecosystem in Bahrain. He stated, “Binance spends a lot on crypto marketing and this actually benefits the entire ecosystem of players.”

 Growth of Crypto Payments

Crypto as a method of payment has also seen significant growth since the entrance of Binance in Bahrain. Binance partnered with EazyPay, a financial payment service provider which has a network of thousands of merchants and over 6000 terminals, to offer crypto as a method of payment while settling transactions with merchants in fiat currency.

According to Nayef Tawfiq Al Alawi, Managing Director and CEO of EazyPay, “As a regulated entity we can only work with regulated entities such as Binance. Since our partnership merchants have been more confident to get into the crypto payment scene and in terms of transactions, while people are still testing the service on average we transact $5000 worth of crypto transaction per day over 6000 terminals in Bahrain. This is really good.”

It hasn’t stopped there, In November 2022 just after Binance entered Bahrain, CoinMENA partnered with Carlton Real Estate, a Bahrain-based real estate agency that allows investors in the Kingdom to purchase real estate property using crypto assets. Under the partnership, the real estate broker would accept stablecoins like USDT and USDC.

 This only exemplifies the increase in crypto as a method of payment in the country.

Growth in crypto Job market

Binance has viewed Bahrain as a key business hub which will provide areas for growth and employment within the wider industry. Currently Binance has employed 200 people in Bahrain and is continuing to hire. It has job posts for Customer Support Specialist, Senior Treasury Manager and others in Bahrain.

Even RAIN which decreased its employee base by 50% still has around 200 employees while CoinMENA has around16 employees and is also currently hiring with job openings for software engineer in January 2023 as well others.

Conclusion

Changpeng Zhao CZ in a recent tweet  stated, “Bahrain is a hidden gem, super safe, very clean, well developed, good food, superb service, nice people and crypto friendly!”

While CoinMENA affirms that it has known that international players would be entering the region given the poor financial services, high fees and large unbanked population coupled with young demographic population and high smartphone penetration. To him this only shows the market is maturing and accelerating growth.

Binance in 2022, processed a whopping $65 billion in trading volume on average every day, at a speed of approximately 0.7 million transactions per second. The entrance of Binance into markets such as Bahrain has for sure added to the growth of the crypto market and ecosystem.