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Bahrain open to Bitcoins, says EDB Chief Executive Khalid

K.R.Srivats Manama | Updated on January 10, 2018 Published on September 27, 2017

Will allow experimentation with digital currencies in controlled environment

Bahrain will look at digital currencies and regulatory sandbox is the way this island country will allow experimentation in a controlled environment, Khalid Al Rumaihi, Chief Executive, Economic Development Board of Bahrain, has said.

"We are open to Bitcoins", Rumaihi said in response to a query at the MIT 'Innovation Forum' here on Wednesday.

Rumaihi said the Bahrain Central Bank had recently put in place Regulatory Sandbox regulations and as many as four companies had so far applied in this regard. Two of the four had already received approval from the central bank.

"This (Regulatory Sandbox) is much like Singapore and what UK is looking at. This is not just talk. We have launched it. You can go to the website and application process is clear. We are open for business," Rumaihi said.

He also said a Bitcoin exchange company out of Saudi Arabia wants to establish a Bitcoin exchange in Bahrain. "We are working with Central Bank of Bahrain on this," Rumaihi said.

"I hate to be a regulator today. Because we are obliged to protect the consumers and customers. There is fear about funding and anti-money laundering. We are going to be looking through the Regulatory Sandbox allowing small-scale experimentation," he said.

Rumaihi indicated that Bahrain's Finance Ministry was also keen on adopting digital currencies and had even suggested to EDB that Bahrain could issue bonds on a digital currency.

Srivats.kr@thehindu.co.in

Published on September 27, 2017
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