In a news piece on Oman News agency, the Board of governors of the Central Bank of Oman, held their third meeting for 2023 where the followed up on developments as well as reviewed the international stance on cryptocurrencies as well as related studies conducted by the executive management team at the central bank on cryptocurrencies.

This comes as Oman works on its virtual asset regulations, having  at the end of July 2023 announced a public consultation paper on virtual assets regulatory framework by the Oman Capital Market Auhtority.The Capital Market Authority, Sultanate of Oman (CMA), which regulates and develops Oman’s financial markets for the capital market and insurance sectors, had earlier announced its plans to establish the new regulatory framework for Virtual Assets (VA) and Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASP).The proposed new regulatory framework is envisaged to cover activities such as crypto assets, tokens, crypto exchanges, and initial coin offerings, among others. CMA had invited relevant stakeholders to provide their views and comments no later than mid August 2023.Oman has also been at the forefront of crypto mining in the region and in August 2023 announced the first phase of Asyad Group crypto mining center was launched in the Free zone in Salalah. Built and managed by Exahertz, a subsidiary of Afaq Advance Technologies firm, the first phase was inaguarated during a ceremony attended by top Omani governmental officials. Later on in the same month Oman-headquartered Green Data City and Abu Dhabi’s Phoenix Group have signed an agreement to develop a 150MW crypto-mining farm in Oman. The new farm will be set up in Green Data City and should be fully operational by Q2 2024, becoming one of the largest crypto-mining data centres in the region.Even in June 2023 the Oma Capital Markets Authority published a decision with regards Instructions for registering virtual asset service providers and applying AML/CFT requirements.So it would seem that while the Central Bank of Oman is reviewing cryptocurrencies both from a local and international perspective, the country is moving forward with its crypto and virtual assets plans.

During a discussion panel at the Youth Center in Muscat Oman, the Oman Central Bank governor Tahir Bin Salim Al Amri stated that the Central Bank of Oman along with many other central banks globally do not recognize crypto as currencies. He stated, “It is not a means of payment it is a commodity or an asset of some sort that is being traded mainly for capital gains.”

He also noted that while the Central Bank of Oman is keeping an open mind while maintaining caution because of the risky nature of crypto assets.

This month the Oman Capital Authority announced that it would be launching its virtual asset framework. Commenting on this the governor Al Amri stated that they were part of the creation of the framework.  He also noted that the Central Bank of Oman was in the process of developing its CBDC ( Central Bank Digital Currency), with a final decision expected to be announced at the end of 2023.

The proposed new regulatory framework is envisaged to cover activities such as crypto assets, tokens, crypto exchanges, and initial coin offerings, among others. The regulation for virtual assets in Oman is important, as it will provide a clear and secure framework for the growth of the virtual assets industry. The move towards digitalization and the adoption of virtual assets aligns with the Sultanate’s Vision 2040 of a digitally transformed economy and financial sector, while attracting foreign investments into Oman.