A recent article in Al Monitor discussed the rise in crypto trading especially Bitcoin in Egypt. It also discussed the increase in Bitcoin mining community and the eventual legalization of cryptocurrencies in Egypt. In the Al Monitor article Mr. Muhammad Abd el-Baseer, Bitcoin mining and trading expert and a leading member of the Bitcoin Egypt Community, confirmed a recent hike in the number of community members, considering it a sign of high demand of Bitcoin mining and trading in Egypt. According to El Baseer, the huge huge business shift to online work from home along with reduced working hours and curfews are encouraging thousands of Egyptians to invest their spare time in unusual online businesses like mining and trading of cryptocurrenices, most notably the bitcoin. Online work from home, reduced working hours and curfews have been imposed since March as precautionary measures against the outbreak of COVID-19 in Egypt.
Economist and financial advisors, Wael Al Nahhas also spoke to Al Monitor and claims that unemployment and recession are main reasons behind youth inclination toward bitcoin trading and mining. Ahmed Shuair, a lecturer of economics at Cairo University, told Al-Monitor that many Egyptians have been encouraged to mine and invest in cryptocurrencies after the brokers of cryptocurrencies had been able to provide guarantees on miners’ balances protection by giving electronic payment cards to all their global customers, through which any amount can be withdrawn from ATMs at any moment.
With regards to bitcoin miners, Al Baseer states that more than 16,000 Egyptians have joined the community. However, Nahhas warned that investing in bitcoins is not safe because brokerage offices do not provide the central bank of any country, including the Central Bank of Egypt, with a cash cover or gold reserve equal to the balances deposited with it. “In this case miners cannot recover their deposits and their balances from brokers if they go bankrupt or abstain from paying,” he said.
Ahmed Shuair, a lecturer of economics at Cairo University also spoke with Al Monitor, stating that the main danger of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies business in Egypt is the absence of a clear law that states the cases of considering mining and trading of them as a legal act and the cases of considering them fraud. As for the future, Shuair pointed out that the Central Bank of Egypt is expected to legalize cryptocurrencies soon. According to him, the Central Bank was preparing to issue a law for it , but the coronavirus outbreak may have changed the priorities of the bank.