This guide to crypto in the Middle East explores the process to buy Bitcoin & crypto in Gulf exchanges.
The creation of Bitcoin in 2008 sparked a massive revolution that has disrupted the traditional monetary system. For the first time in human history, value can be transferred digitally from one place to another in a decentralized manner without any intermediaries such as banks and money processors. Cryptocurrencies were conceived to empower individuals with the ability to store, transact, and manage their digital assets in a secure and immutable way.
Not only that, cryptocurrencies have outperformed the general market, eclipsing gold, stocks, and commodities to become the most profitable asset class in 2020. In Gulf countries such as Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Oman, it may be difficult to buy Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrencies. This is because there is a lack of credible exchanges and a relatively young crypto ecosystem.
Before we move further, it is important to understand the craze and fundamentals behind this new asset class.
Cryptocurrency investments are lucrative due to their relative infancy and volatility. Bitcoin, the first decentralized cryptocurrency, launched with an initial price of just $0.003 in 2009! Bitcoin’s price went up to almost $20,000 at the end of 2017, marking a colossal gain for investors. In other words, Bitcoin is widely seen as an upcoming asset class that has the potential to consistently outperform traditional asset classes.
One of the ground-breaking advantages of cryptocurrencies is the low transaction fees and fast settlement. Sending money globally using your bank or money transmitter can be expensive and takes a few days. With cryptocurrencies, you can send value from one place to another in minutes with extremely low fees!
There is always a risk of loss when you store money in your bank account. If your bank collapses, you – and many others – will lose their hard-earned savings. Conversely, cryptocurrencies allow you to store your coins in your own digital wallets that you fully control. This means that you will have absolute ownership of your digital coins without the need for any intermediary to manage it.
As the pandemic unfolds, the world has witnessed the devastating effects of the global economic downturn. With rising debt levels globally and the direction towards zero (or even negative) interest rates, the state of the global economy is bleak. Bitcoin and cryptocurrency is an uncorrelated market that has the qualities of being a safe haven for investors.
Cryptocurrency is a digital currency that uses cryptography to secure and verify its transactions. All transactions are recorded and stored in a public ledger known as the blockchain. It is decentralized in nature, meaning that no central entity has control over the network. This means that anyone can participate in this peer-to-peer network. Above all, this new technology has the ability to disrupt many industries, namely finance and law.
Since Bitcoin’s creation back in 2009, there are more than 30,000 digital assets that have been created in the market, with a total market capitalization of almost $400 billion. Generally, there are two categories of cryptocurrencies:
Coins: These are coins that have their own blockchain. Coins like Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC) have their own natively developed blockchain.
Tokens: Tokens refer to digital currencies built on top of an existing blockchain. For instance, some blockchains like the Ethereum blockchain facilitate the easy creation of tokens on top of it. Tokens make up close to 96% of the entire cryptocurrency market. Surprisingly, the majority of tokens are built on the Ethereum blockchain.
Buying Bitcoin or crypto in Middle East region can be a daunting task. However, you can invest in cryptocurrencies using a cryptocurrency exchange.
There are two different types of crypto exchanges in the market that you should be aware of.
Let’s take a look at the top cryptocurrency exchanges where you can buy Bitcoin & crypto in Gulf countries that include Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Oman.
In order to choose the right exchange, it is important to look at various factors that make up a good exchange. Let’s analyze the top crypto exchanges in the Gulf according to these factors.
The more local currencies accepted by the exchange, the more convenient it is for users from various countries to trade on. Both Fasset Exchange and Rain accept currencies across the Gulf region, as well as USD.
An important factor in a crypto exchange is the availability of many coins and tokens on the exchange. With more coins listed on an exchange, the greater the choices for users. Fasset Exchange and Emirex both offer more than 20 coins and tokens, allowing users to have greater diversity in choosing what they’re keen to invest in.
It is currently expensive to buy Bitcoin and crypto in Gulf countries due to the infancy of the market in this region. Fasset Exchange stands out since it doesn’t charge any trading fees on its platform. The removal of trading fees enables users to spend more on cryptocurrencies.
A good exchange requires high liquidity levels. A highly liquid exchange means that there is a huge amount of trading activity between sellers and buyers. In this regard, Fasset stands out given that it has more than $1 billion dollars in liquidity. This is far more than any exchanges in the gulf. This can be attributed to Fasset’s partnership with Binance, which is one of the largest exchanges globally.
Security is the most essential element for any crypto exchange. This is because user funds are stored and managed on the platform. Security mechanisms such as maximizing cold storage usage and two-factor authentication are usually hallmarks of a secure exchange. Exchanges such as Rain, Fasset, and Bitoasis scored high in this regard.
Customer service is one of the most underrated factors in the cryptocurrency space. Almost all crypto exchanges do not have phone support. They usually only rely on email correspondence. In order to rapidly solve user issues, quick response time and helpful communication between the exchange and users are vital. Localbitcoins is a renowned platform that excels in customer service and serves many countries including the Gulf region.
Simplicity is key for users in navigating a complex market. Therefore, making it easier to trade on the exchange should be the primary objective of a crypto exchange in attracting users. Similarly, both Fasset and Rain have simple interfaces that allow users to navigate the exchange intuitively and easily.
In summary, Bitcoin and the wider cryptocurrency market is fast becoming a viable asset class to the retail market. With greater adoption and prominent institutions coming on board, it is clear that the path towards mainstream adoption of cryptocurrencies is on the rise. Above all, the infancy of the cryptocurrency market in the Gulf and wider Middle East poses a huge opportunity for new players keen to enter the market and provide much-needed infrastructure. Fasset Exchange seems to be an upcoming exchange that offers a zero-fee trading environment to facilitate user adoption. With an extremely simple interface and a deep liquidity pool, it could provide the much-needed solution for users to buy Bitcoin and crypto in Gulf easily and effectively.