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2020 Has Not Slowed Down Blockchain & Crypto Growth In MENA

We can all say it is great to see we are half way through the year 2020, with all that is has brought, yet UNLOCK has been diligently covering the Blockchain scene in the MENA region, and the news is good.

As you will read below there has been a lot going on both in the crypto assets scene as well as blockchain scene in the region. We have divided this newsletter into different parts depending on your interest.

Blockchain and Covid-19

Let us first start with Blockchain and Covid-19, there were various blockchain entities as well as governmental initiatives. The examples are many, here are a few, such as Justchain and its fight against Covid-19, the Dubai Future Foundation and the Ministry of Community Development in the UAE with its blockchain platform to reduce the spread of Covid-19. While Avantas launched MedsLock, and Accubits also launched its solution and finally Liberhealth and their blockchain solution for the healthcare sector.

Crypto in MENA

As for the crypto assets scene in the MENA region, it is moving forward swiftly and steadfastly. One of the most important announcements is that Securities and Commodities Authority UAE will announce final crypto asset draft law at the end of the month.  RAIN crypto exchange announced that crypto trading increased on its website by 200 percent. In addition Burency exchange launched its crypto exchange, and DEX digital asset exchange received its final license as did Matrix exchange. ADGM also granted Koine  crypto asset custodian license. Additionally Sustain Exchange launched its Islamic compliant exchange. UNLOCK interviewed as well Saeed Al Darmaki who gave his insights on crypto and blockchain in the region. In the meantime, UAE DFSA and Deloitte published a report on digital assets and Black Manta Capital and UAE Deca4 signed MOU for tokenization. While Kuwait saw the launch a new cryptocurrency

Banking and Blockchain

The banking and financial sector in the GCC and MENA, have been at the forefront of Blockchain implementations and solutions. UAE National bank of Fujairah partnered with Ripple for payments while Kuwait finance house extended its Ripple Services to Turkey. Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank executed trade finance transaction on Trade assets. Even the Central Bank of Lebanon reiterated its intent to launch a CBDC. While Qatar Central bank is looking into blockchain. In KSA, SAMA, the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority used blockchain to inject liquidity to banks while Islamic Development bank is working with Blockchain entity Blocko. Even the KSA Capital Markets is utilizing Blockchain while Musharaka Capital is working on digital securities. Finally Qatar Development bank CEO stated that Blockchain is at the heart of their digitization projects.


Governments and Blockchain

As for governments and governmental entities in the GCC and MENA, many of them are utilizing or working on blockchain projects. Both Abu Dhabi Digital Authority and Saudi Aramco piloted the WEF blockchain toolkit. UAE DEWA joined Dubai economy platform and Abu Dhabi Digital Authority launched Blockchain based Abu Dhabi Pay and signed an MOU with Intel on Blockchain. UAE DP World joined IBM Tradelens, Dubai Health Authority launched digital licenses on Blockchain, while DIFC CEO discussed UAE Blockchain strategy and signed MOU with Blockchain FinTech entity Jiaozi. Overall the UAE government will be focusing on Blockchain in phase two of their economic reopening, and Oman government is utilizing Oracle for blockchain and its digitization strategy.

In October Dubai Government will be launching four new blockchain use cases.

Blockchain Company launches

In addition new companies are setting up in the UAE and MENA region. One of them is DTLLedgers which announced its launch, as did Vesuvio Labs in Qatar, MAKSAB Blockchain SME deal making platform in the UAE and Yottachain for Blockchain Storage in the UAE and Tradetech for tradefinance and  OmanChains.

Investments in Blockchain startups

The GCC and MENA region has witnessed an upsurge in investments in Blockchain related entities. These are some of the major ones, Zon decentralized ecommerce platform, Rise Fintech, Cwallet in Qatar, Mas exchange, Jio platform, ClearHedgeCapital, two investments for Verofax , Evenflow, DeepDive, W3BCloud


Private Sector implementations

Finally we should not forget all the companies across the region that are utilizing blockchain such as National Takaful Company , Cox Logisitics, KFC MENA, YFC for recycling, UAE Higher Colleges for technology

As a conclusion it is safe to say that Blockchain and Crypto is growing in the region. 


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. Lara worked with Unlock Blockchain until 2022.

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