Researchers at King Saud University Saudi Arabia have released a research on the relationship between Bitcoin and e-commerce in Saudi Arabia with results showing rapid growth in ecommerce, some knowledge of Bitcoin, and a positive correlation between Bitcoin and e-commerce in the Kingdom

Researchers Dr. Layla Hajr, Suzan Katamoura, and Abdulrahman Mirza, developed a hypothesis to investigate and test the impact of Bitcoin on Ecommerce use in Saudi Arabia using a survey.

The survey analyzed factors such as Bitcoin awareness, usage among Saudi Arabian consumers. Responses were collected from individuals and employees of various companies working in different occupations in Saudi Arabia. In addition, statistical tools SPSS and SmartPLS were used to test the study’s hypotheses.

As per the survey results, there has been a rapid growth in e-commerce transactions and some knowledge of Bitcoin. Most importantly as per the researchers the survey showed a positive correlation between digital currencies ( Bitcoin) and e-commerce in Saudi Arabia.

The authors noted “The study also opens the way for future investigations into topics including Saudi Arabia’s regulations for Bitcoin, consumer attitudes toward Bitcoin, and the potential of blockchain technology for enhancing the nation’s e-commerce processes.”

Saudi Arabia is among the world’s largest e-commerce markets; the statistics in this sector reported that the volume of e-commerce transactions approached $5.7 billion. Also, Saudi e-commerce contributed to the GDP with a return of $10,482 billion in 2020 (Chamber, 2019). As a result of this swift growth in both technologies’ inventions and e-commerce transactions, new electronic methods were developed, for example, STC Pay, and others.

The King Saud University authors expected that the usage of Bitcoin might increase e-commerce transactions. Using an anonymous online survey to test their hypothesis the survey targeted different  community sectors, including various professionals (governmental, semi-governmental, private companies, private businesses, and students) in Riyadh and Jeddah cities.

124 respondents from the cities of Riyadh and Jeddah answered 14 questions.  Responses were collected from participants who work in different occupations, including governmental entities, Semi-governmental Authorities, Private Sector Companies, Private Business individuals, and students. Of the questionnaires answered, 56.5% were female. Additionally, 42.7% of the respondents were between 31 and 40; the rest were distributed between different age categories. The least (11.3%) of the participants held Diploma, and the remaining had a degree of Bachelor and above.

The survey while just a beggining is interesting especially as KSA is working on its CBDC project.

In a recent survey carried out by Deel, a global HR platform within the GCC and MENA region, the findings found that 51% of employees being paid in crypto prefer Ethereum

Employee cryptocurrency withdrawals within the GCC highlighted a growing level of adoption among individuals, who are now using cryptocurrencies as a viable medium for receiving employer payments. Conducting an extensive survey, Deel engaged with over 1600 employees and over 700 organizations in the UAE to gather valuable insights.

Of the 700 organizations surveyed in the UAE, 87% of employees were using crypto for salary payments. Of the 1600 employees surveyed only 8% were being paid in crypto in KSA while in Qatar it was 4.8%.

Exploring the Deel data beyond the UAE, Egypt places itself in the spotlight by a substantial margin, witnessing over 25,000 employee withdrawals using crypto in the last 12 months. Tracking Egypt’s trajectory, the roster of pioneering nations also includes Morocco, and Lebanon, each carving its path towards cryptocurrency adoption.

Notably, Ethereum (ETH) claims the top spot as the preferred cryptocurrency for withdrawals, commanding 51.2%. The US Dollar backed stablecoin USDC follows suit at 24.5%, while Bitcoin (BTC) controls 20.2% of the landscape. Solana (SOL) and Dash wrap up the top five most used cryptocurrencies with 2.5% and 1.6%, respectively, contributing to the crypto withdrawals landscape.

Tarek Salam, Head of Expansion from Deel, stated, “The Deel research provides an interesting window on the latest trends within the employment sector. It is truly great to witness the rapid surge in cryptocurrency adoption within the UAE and the wider region. The regulators have played a commendable role in encouraging greater participation in the cryptocurrency ecosystem and it’s a trend that we will be watching with interest as adoption continues to grow.”

Deel is a leading global compliance and payroll solution that helps businesses hire anyone, anywhere. Deel’s technology offers unmatched payroll, HR, compliance, perks, benefits, and other capabilities needed to hire and manage a global team.

In a recent survey entitled “MENA Investor Survey 2022-2023 for crypto Blockchain sector” carried out by laraontheblock with 83 MENA venture capitalists, fund managers, and family offices, 50% of those surveyed stated they will be allocating more funds to blockchain and crypto projects and entities in 2023. 19% of those surveyed stated in 2022 they had invested more than 50% of allocated capital and funds into crypto and Blockchain projects.

The findings of the “MENA Investor Survey 2022-2023 for crypto Blockchain sector” sheds light on the different areas of interest for MENA investors which will give startups and entities a better view on whom and where capital will be heading by investors in the MENA region.

This comes as cryptocurrency adoption has skyrocketed in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. According to a survey by blockchain analytics platform Chainalysis, MENA countries have the fastest-growing cryptocurrency industry in the world, accounting for 9.2% of global digital currency transactions from July 2021 to June 2022.

Vast Majority of MENA VCs invested in crypto and Blockchain in 2022

75% of survey respondents confirmed that they invested in crypto and blockchain entities in 2022, while only 25% stated they hadn’t. The MENA region has become the center for crypto trading, investing and regulation. The UAE led crypto regulation in 2022 and was the first country in the region to launch a blockchain strategy back in 2017.

The stance taken by MENA investors in the survey is in line with global figures. In 2022, despite the slowdown in crypto VC funding, it exceeded the figure for 2021. Cointelegraph Research’s VC Database showed that a total of $36.1 billion was raised in 2022. This is in contrast to the $30.3 billion worth of funding in 2021.

Crypto projects globally attracted $19.9 billion in venture capital (VC) investments in the first nine months of 2022, 41% higher than a year ago, according to Pitchbook data.

Crypto and Blockchain entities are the Future

54% of respondents replied that they invested in crypto and Blockchain entities because it is the future, while 42% stated it was because these technologies solve real business problems. Only 18% believed that it was because while risky the return on investment was high. ( note that more than one response for some respondents

The MENA region witnessed sizable investments in crypto and Blockchain entities in 2022. For example crypto exchange RAIN received $110 million in investments and included investors from MENA such as MEVP. BitOasis also raised $30 million with UAE based Wamda Capital and others.

Significant developments in the UAE such as the launch of Dubai’s Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA), and the announcement of the Dubai metaverse strategy, which aims to attract more than 1,000 blockchain and metaverse companies as well as support more than 40,000 virtual jobs by 2030 has also played a role in enticing investors towards blockchain, crypto and metaverse as did the launch of Crypto Oasis ecosystem and the DMCC crypto center bringing in 1400 crypto and Blockchain entities to the

19% of surveyed spent over 50% of their capital on Blockchain and crypto entities

Interestingly when asked what percentage of capital or funds available in 2022 was invested in crypto and blockchain, a whopping 19 percent stated that they had invested more than 50 percent of funds into crypto and Blockchain entities. While the majority 33% invested between 5-15% of their capital into crypto and blockchain entities. 

27% invested between 1-5 percent of their capital into crypto and Blockchain, while 21% invested less than 1%. 

While the percentages maybe small compared to other areas, Nickel Digital Asset Management noted that UAE institutional investors, family offices, and wealth managers plan to increase their exposure to crypto dramatically by 2023. And while sovereign funds do not yet see digital assets as investable with just 7% of global sovereign investors have any exposure to digital assets through investments in blockchain companies, this is changing.

In May 2022, J.P. Morgan’s global investment strategy outlook elevated digital assets as the preferred alternative asset class alongside hedge funds for 2022. For the first time in history digital assets displaced other alternative strategies. In the report it is noted that digital assets are expected to offer the greatest potential for generating alpha and hedge funds expect as much as 10 percent of their strategy to include crypto.

A PWC Global Crypto Hedge Fund report in August 2022, found that more than a third of traditional hedge funds now invest in digital assets, this was double the figure of 2021

Global crypto leader at PWC left his role to set up a $75 million digital assets fund Nine Blocks Capital in Dubai UAE. Henri Arsalanian, founder noted that it was Dubai’s crypto openness that influenced his decision. 

Majority of MENA Investors invested in Blockchain infrastructure

MENA investors surveyed were asked where they allocated funds in 2022. 64% of respondents stated that capital was invested in Blockchain infrastructure projects. Following Blockchain infrastructure was DeFi. 38% of respondents stated they allocated funds to DeFi projects. Equally 33-36% invested in metaverse and crypto assets.

In addition 22% replied they invested in Non-Fungible tokens or NFT projects, while 17-18% of respondents stated investments went into e-gaming, tokenization projects, crypto mining and blockchain crypto payments.

Only 8% stated they invested in decentralized messaging and social media platforms. 

The findings of the survey fall much in line with Cointelegraph’ s recent blockchain funding VC report which found that blockchain Infrastructure projects took half the pot of investments in November 2022. While the Web3 sector saw the most deals closed. The global blockchain infrastructure sector secured $483.9 million in venture capital in 2022.

According to Galaxy Ventures, Crypto and Blockchain sector saw $5.5 billion of venture capital invested in Q3 2022 through 518 deals. Despite the QoQ (quarter on quarter) decrease, the $5.5 billion invested in Q3 is $2 billion greater than the 7-year average of $3.1 billion and more than $2 billion higher than the 2020 peak.

MENA investors will invest more in 2023

51% of those surveyed stated they would allocate more funds to blockchain and crypto entities in 2023. Only 15% replied they would not. In addition 33% were unsure. This means that potentially 84% of those surveyed could be investing more in blockchain and crypto in 2023. 

Already investment companies such as TradeDog Group, the parent company of TD VC, have launched new funds. TradeDg Group launched their $100 Million Web3 blockchain special situation fund. The fund will re-structure and invest in projects with good products and businesses but struggling token markets.

Even UAE Cypher Capital VC announced in December 2022 the launch of a new $200 million fund which will focus on infrastructure and middleware investments in Web3. At the time they had invested in Rekt Studios and Fenix Games, while UAE Shorooq Partners also announced in March 2022 that they would be investing $150 million in Web3 startups. Many other investors across the MENA region have been following suite including Mubadala and G42 both based out of UAE.

Global players such as Goldman Sachs plans to spend tens of millions of dollars to buy or invest in crypto companies after the collapse of the FTX exchange hit valuations and dampened investor interest. Goldman has invested in 11 digital asset companies that provide services such as compliance, cryptocurrency data and blockchain management.

MENA investors view Blockchain infrastructure as biggest growth sector in 2023

According to 29% of survey respondents, Blockchain infrastructure projects will witness the biggest growth in 2023. Data gathered by, found that the global spending on blockchain solutions is expected to surge by 235% and reach $14.4bn by 2023.

Following, 21% view metaverse projects as high growth sector technology. This is in line with findings from Grand View Research, which states the global metaverse market is forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 39.4% from 2022 to 2030. 

Meanwhile 18%  of those surveyed think DeFi will witness strong growth. DeFi has been the largest market cap activity within Web3, with a peak total value locked (TVL) of over $175 billion in 2021 shrinking to $39 billion in 2022. Yet Digital asset research firm Reflexivity Research in its recently published 2022 Annual Year in Review / Forward Outlook 2023 believes that given the blow to trust in CEXs, investors will be drawn to decentralized alternatives. The report believes DeFi TVL could make its way back to $75 billion or $100 billion.

12% of those surveyed view blockchain and crypto payments as one of the growth sectors for 2023. Cross-border payments and settlements are considered the most prominent blockchain use case. According to the IDC Worldwide Blockchain Spending Guide, Blockchain enabled cross border payments accounted for 15.9% of the $4.67-billion blockchain market in 2021. Juniper Research estimates that B2B cross-border payments on blockchain will account for 11% of the total B2B international payments by 2024.

When it comes to investment in tokenization projects 8% of those surveyed believe that tokenization sector will be a growth sector in 2023. 5% of those surveyed believe NFT sector will grow in 2023, only 3% of those surveyed believe crypto mining will be a growth sector.


In conclusion from the responses of 83 VCs, investment funds, across the MENA region that included names such as Oman Investment Authority, Equinox, Synaptech Capital, CypherCapital, Helion Ventures, Carter Capital, AlIImtiaz Investment Group, True Global Ventures, Roshan Investments, Crypto Oasis, Ghaf Capital Investments, Vault Investments, and many more, the reflection is a positive outlook when it comes to crypto and Blockchain and a growing interest in investing in projects. So while 2022 might have been one of the toughest years on crypto and Blockchain, it has not killed the appetite of investors in MENA!

Kucoin cryptocurrency exchange has revealed in a report “ Crypto Verse Report on adoption of digital currencies in Saudi Arabia” that 3 million Saudi Arabians are crypto investors who currently own cryptocurrencies or have traded in past six months. This means 3 million out of an adult population of 21 million  or 14 percent currently own cryptocurrencies.

The survey also found that another 17 percent of adult population surveyed, was crypto curious and are likely to invest in crypto in the next six months. This would be mean that by the end of 2022, 31 percent of Saudi adult population or 6.6 million will be trading or owners of cryptocurrencies. 

The report’s findings highlight sustainable interest among potential crypto investors in the Arab country. In the first quarter of 2022, 49% of crypto investors intended to increase investment in cryptocurrencies over the coming six months. The onset of the bearish market in the second quarter of 2022 saw a reversal of investor sentiment toward more conservative strategies related to the holding of cryptocurrencies. 

In the second quarter of 2022, 31% of crypto owners in Saudi Arabia said that they would keep their crypto balance as is rather than increase their investment. Investors with lower income tended to sell off a part of their portfolios during the same period.

The high proportion of new market entrants is unique to Saudi Arabia, as 76% of crypto investors have less than one year of experience in crypto investment, including 49% of those who first started trading cryptocurrencies in the past six months, suggesting strong demand for crypto education in the market. 51% of crypto investors invest because they believe it is the future of finance, while 44% believe that cryptocurrencies can bring them higher returns in the long run compared to other types of financial investment.

On the demographic side, 63% of crypto investors are men. The gender ratio has remained stable over the past months. In terms of age distribution, young crypto investors below 30 account for at least a third of the total and have increased to 37% in the second quarter of 2022. A slight difference is observed in the mindsets of men versus women, as 44% of male crypto investors say they do not want to miss the trend. On the other hand, women tend to hold a more practical mindset, focusing on realistic benefits. 48% of female crypto investors are motivated by its profitability in the long run, and 42% of females invest in crypto to gain passive income.

42% of Saudi crypto investors say they plan to use the profits to improve their families’ living conditions. Other goals include buying a new house, saving for retirement or emergency fund, and spending on other enjoyments such as traveling and shopping. In addition, 15% of crypto investors hope to live on the income from a crypto investment to be spared from work. Many are using the gains from crypto investment to grow their portfolio and reinvest, especially male crypto investors. 29% of crypto investors plan to start their businesses with gains, and 28% intend to reinvest the money into the financial market.

 Social media is the most popular source of crypto-related information, which 84% of crypto investors turn to when doing their research, particularly YouTube and Twitter. Online communities are also important influences for investors. 35% of crypto investors rely on the communities or Telegram for crypto-related information. 32% of investors prefer to consult their families and friends, while others research on their own, seeking information from various sources.

Almost half of crypto investors buy digital currencies using fiat and engage in spot trading every month, which involves trading, buying, and selling on the current market value as the only form of crypto trading that is considered halal by some scholars in the Arab world. Types of investment that involve interests and gambling, such as staking, futures trading, and margin trading, are less popular in the country. As the market goes bearish in the second quarter of 2022, 42% of crypto investors have adopted auto-trading solutions such as trading bots, 7% up from the previous quarter.

Investors search for excellent security and customer service when deciding which crypto exchange to use. The ability to be supported by secure and stable technology is a must-have for 40% of crypto investors, and 36% prefer the promise of repayment in the event of a security breach. In addition, the platforms’ efficient customer service is considered critical by 37% of respondents.

In 2021 Kucoin announced that users were able to buy USDT using United Arab Emirates Dirham through P2P fiat trading with the same for KSA as well. 

The recent YouGov Survey in the UAE on the opinions of UAE residents about 16 emerging technologies had some very interesting findings. The survey highlighted the responses of those surveyed on their opinions about the future and impact of these technologies on society. Interestingly awareness about a technology did not necessarily correlate with acceptance or feeling this technology was important or should be invested in.

So while crypto took top spot in terms of awareness, it didn’t continue to take the lead when it came to which technologies would become widespread or which technologies are good or which technologies should governments invest in.

Cryptocurrency as a term topped the list of technologies that UAE residents have heard about. 50 percent of the 1005 residents surveyed have heard a lot about crypto, 36 percent have heard about it a little and only 14 percent have not heard about it at all. This of course is not surprising given all the recent endeavors the UAE government has taken when it comes towards crypto, virtual assets and blockchain. The most recent of which is the inauguration of VARA (Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority) out of Dubai World trade center.

Following cryptocurrency came virtual reality, self-driving cars, 3D Printing, and AI ( Artificial Intelligence),  between 43-47 percent having heard a lot about them.

Interestingly Blockchain came up just after AI with a total of 70 percent having heard of it a lot and a little.

The terms metaverse and even NFTs, came in after with only 29 percent and 27 percent having heard about them a lot. This shows that while UAE was positioned as a leader in terms of NFT purchases in 2021, it seems only a small portion of the population were aware and experimenting with NFTs.

The least technology that UAE respondents are aware of is Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAO) with only 15 percent of respondents hearing a lot about them.

When residents were asked which technologies they believe would eventually become widespread, the list changed. Cryptocurrency dropped to 4th place. The top technology respondents felt would become widespread was 3D Printing, Self Driving cars and Artificial Intelligence. Blockchain and metaverse came in 6th and 7th place respectively. While NFTs and DAOs came in 9th and 10th place.

In terms of which technologies would be good for society once again the list changed. 83 percent noted that 3D printing would bring the most good to society, followed by 66 percent who thought AI would be good. Once again cryptocurrency at 5th place and blockchain at 7th, and metaverse and NFTs came in 11th and 12th place. This could illustrate the need for more education and information on the metaverse and NFTs. Most discussion on NFTs has been about art, videos, while not much has been discussed on NFTs in real estate, healthcare, and financial sector.

Finally when asked where should government invest in, once again 3D Printing took first place with over 52 percent believing it was very important, followed by AI at 52% , self-driving cars, at 46%, virtual reality at 40%, artificial organs and cryptocurrency both at 38% followed closely by Blockchain at 37%