One Bitcoin ATM in entire GCC

It was surprising to find that KSA ( Kingdom of Saudi Arabia), one of the countries that has banned cryptocurrencies from being exchanged or traded inside the country, actually was alleged to have two bitcoin ATM machines on its sovereign ground. According to CoinATM Radar, one of the Bitcoin ATMs was located in Jeddah and the other  located in Jubail. KSA had banned cryptocurrencies in August of 2018 and has not lifted this officially since then. Since then we have come to known that in both locations mentioned by CoinATMRadar there are no Bitcoin ATM machines present. 

That leaves only one Bitcoin ATM in existence in the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council), Bahrain.  In a Linkedin Post shared by the CEO of Bahrain Fintech bay Khalid Saad states, ” We have the only live Crypto ATM in the MENA region in Bahrain Fintech Bay. The Crypto ATM is run by Basket and backed by Kuwait entrepeneur Jamal Al Mutawa.” He adds, ” Basket is currently testing their solution under the Central Bank of Bahrain’s regulatory sandbox. this is a great addition to Bahrain’s growing crypto ecosystem.”

In the MENA region Turkey has four bitcoin ATMs,  yet no other countries have yet to allow Bitcoin ATMs  operate. In previous months Amhora in the UAE had set up a Bitcoin ATM but were later forced to close it down by Dubai police authorities. Since then there has been no other attempt to operate a bitcoin ATM within the UAE. 

With the current boom in the crypto market and the upcoming proliferation of digital asset exchanges within the region especially in the UAE, it might be an opportune time for crypto ATM machines to increase in the region. According to CoinATMRadar today there are 5000 Bitcoin ATM machines operating globally. The numbers are set to increase as crypto trading prices spike. 

This article has been updated from its original due to new information. 

Lara Abdul Malak

Lara has been a journalist and writer in the technology field since her graduation from AUB majoring in political science. She has had career in corporation communications in the telecom sector and was part of the launch of first 3G network in the GCC and MENA region. Since her return to journalism she has been focused with passion on blockchain, tokenization, crypto focusing on the GCC and MENA region.

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