The Middle East is a huge market for cryptocurrencies due to vast amounts of liquid wealth and assets in the region that are backed by hundreds of billions of dollars of disposable incomes which are being invested in new investment products, considering the price of oil has more than halved making it a significantly less profitable commodity to invest in, getting behind the Bitcoin has never been a better investment for Middle Eastern Nations and people.
Such growing enthusiasm is fueled by changing attitudes in the region about the Bitcoin as it is seen as a vital asset to transfer money globally in a cost effective and efficient manner. With 85% of individuals in the region owning smart phones, thus having access to Bitcoin’s, making it the largest untapped market for the coin. Additionally there are millions of workers in the region who do labor based work in the Middle East from mainly Asian countries. These workers usually work for a couple of years, save enough money and then go back home. However this poses an issue in terms of sending funds back home which is costly, expensive and time consuming. However with the cryptocurrencies they can transfer 1 cent or a $100,000 within a matter of minutes.
Iran and the Middle East
Iran is quickly progressing to adopt not just any cryptocurrency but the Bitcoin itself after the Bitcoin gained approval by the Nation’s High Council of Cyberspace to be used directly in the financial infrastructure of the Nation. One of the driving factors for Iran to be moving fast in implementing blockchain technology could be due sanctions and trade barriers it has recently faced, use of the Bitcoin could be one way to overcome such trade barriers as the Bitcoin is anonymous, secure and unhackable.
It is not Iran that is dominating the headlines, it is also Middle Eastern countries such as Bahrain which may adopt the Bitcoin and begin issuing bonds in the digital currency. It appears Arab Nations as a whole are playing catch up with Asian Nations and the Western World which are continuing their march to a cashless society, with China ahead of the competition.
Globally connected part of the World
Given the Middle East’s significance as a trade hub not just for oil but due to it being a bridge in a sense that connects the West with the East, ranging from shipping ports to airports that connect the World and manage global trade. Furthermore the Middle East is becoming a more attractive place for foreign investment, especially in places like Dubai where the global elite have billions of dollars of assets. Given the regions significance as a global trading hub, it creates a problem in terms of international transfers ranging from paying salaries to purchasing properties, investment or paying bills as global money transfers can be problematical due to bureaucracy and costly in terms of converting currencies and the entire process can take weeks to complete. However the Bitcoin solves this issue with minimal associated costs and unlimited amounts of funds can be transferred in a matter of minutes.
To conclude the Middle East has significant use for the Bitcoin as a cryptocurrency as opposed to an asset used for investment purposes due to the region being a global hub for trade and its reliance on foreign countries to do business there has driven and created a huge market for companies to operate there in the international cash transfer field. However due to these services usually being costly and having limits placed on how much money can be transferred, it is not so ideal when doing business to use such services. However with the Bitcoin, there is a solution that is cheap, fast, anonymous and secure.