It’s one of the world’s smallest crypto markets, but new data places the MENA region as the fastest-growing crypto region in the world.
The 2022 Geography of Cryptocurrency Report by Chainalysis highlights MENA as the world’s fastest-growing crypto market. The exhaustive report includes data from 146 countries and points towards twelve months of remarkable growth across the region. MENA-based users received USD 566 billion in cryptocurrency from July 2021 to June 2022 – 48% more than the previous year. By comparison, Western Europe languished at 14%, East Asia at 4%, and our nearest rivals in Latin America at 40%. In MENA, Egypt and Saudi Arabia led the way, growing 222% and 195% respectively. And here’s why.
First and foremost, GCC countries have some of the world’s most advanced regulatory frameworks. As far back as 2017, the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) led the way with the issuance of a comprehensive regulatory framework to govern and license regulated crypto-asset services in Bahrain. This year, we have seen the establishment of the Dubai Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) and the introduction of a new UAE Federal Law (Law no.4 of 2022) to regulate virtual assets. In Saudi Arabia, former Accenture Managing Director Mohsen Al Zaharani has been appointed by the Saudi Central Bank to lead the country’s virtual assets and central bank digital currency program.
These forward-looking regulations sit alongside a pro-enterprise ecosystem of zero income tax and a young and digitally engaged demographic. Analysis from the global consultancy Oliver Wyman suggests the GCC is moving through a digital paradigm shift, defined by widespread investment in emerging technologies including Web3, cryptocurrencies and the metaverse. It also shows that the GCC was the region with the highest percentage of internet users in 2021, at 98% versus 89% in high-income countries.
In addition to all the factors above, the biggest contributing factor to crypto adoption is that it is simply a better user experience. Transferring money through the traditional banking system is a cumbersome and slow process. Often times it takes days to transfer funds across borders. This doesnt make any sense in the digital economy. With crypto, we are able to transfer value online as easily as by sending an email or WhatsApp message. Throughout history, superior technology always wins out, always.
At CoinMENA we’re working hard to be the segway between traditional finance and the crypto world – and in doing so empower new and seasoned investors across MENA. That is how in my opinion we can forge the future of finance so that our region can stay firmly in the pole position of the crypto fast lane.