Bahrain will have its first ever Central Bank-backed cryptocurrency exchange platform dubbed Rain which will be launched soon according to the founders of the exchange. Besides launching in Bahrain, the platform will serve the entire Persian Gulf upon being licensed by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in 2019.
There is no cryptocurrency exchange platform serving this region despite its evident economic might. After spending an entire year in the kingdom’s Federal Reserve sandbox, Rain’s waiting list is currently open on its website ahead of the platform’s launch.
Rain was founded by Jimmy Song, Bitcoin’s core developer, the founder of Cumberland Mining, and Mike Komaransky together with two other partners. The leaders are optimistic that they will break through the obviously reluctant Persian Gulf market.
After Rain’s launch multiple other exchanges are slated to open shop in the region as evidenced by 5 other waiting lists queuing at the Central Bank of Bahrain’s sandbox.
Gulf’s potential as an ideal market for cryptos
The Persian Gulf has the potential to be a great cryptocurrency market as suggested by the region’s mammoth economy. Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates, the member states of GCC collectively contribute about 8% of the global GDP. Cryptos acceptance in this region will be a huge deal.
Challenges facing crypto acceptability in the Gulf
However, firms starting operations in the region will have to bypass a number of challenges in order to achieve acceptability. The good news for Rain is that cryptos are not illegal in the region, but on the other hand, the region has issued warnings against digital assets which is a bad sign to start with. Marketers will have to do a lot of convincing to change consumers’ minds and have them embrace the virtual assets.
The gulf region has been slow on cryptocurrencies because of Sharia law, or Muslim religious law, which recommends business with physical goods. The industry’s lack of regulations, hackings and cryptos’ high price volatility further contribute to its uphill battle in the region.