Middle East Bitcoin Status

What is Middle East Lacking?

Lack of innovation, knowledge and skepticism are the main hindrances for the Bitcoin growth in the region.
Although with lot of potential for growth of Bitcoins available in ME (Middle East) it is one of the toughest regions to operate and acquire Bitcoins.

Some of the reasons that may be pulling down the potential are:

  • Absence of incentives to use bitcoin;
  • Lack of innovation as the environment is still more reactive than proactive;
  • Lack of confidence in the security and trustworthiness of the currency;
  • Broader community in Middle East is still in the early learning phase about bitcoin; and
  • It was difficult to find options to exchange other forms of local digital money with Bitcoins.
  • Central Banks

    The central banks in the region have issued warnings against the usage of the Bitcoins making it tougher for the people to trust this digital currency.
  • According to the Central bank of Jordan, the virtual currencies are not legal tender and there is no obligation on any central bank in the world or any government to exchange its value for real money issued by them; and
  • According to the Lebanese Central Bank, due to its relatively small user base, the value of Bitcoins is subject to intense volatility and as the money is not backed by any central bank, the value of Bitcoin is not stable, and the price can drop to zero.

  • However, people in favor of Bitcoin argue that the technology is desirable as there is no issuing authority making it a border less currency on Internet. Anyone having access to the Internet or a phone can access Bitcoin and leverage the financial services around it.

    What is needed?

    Combined efforts by governments and businesses is needed to drive the growth in the region.
    There is a lack of trust in online payments in the region leading to low credit card usage and growing but comparatively small e-commerce sector. It has to be tackled by educating people about bitcoin and related terms like wallets and exchanges and addressing issues with the conventional online payments. Bitcoin entrepreneurs in the region are focusing on education and outreach which will include:

  • Showcasing at events like Arab-digital;
  • Building contacts at other tech start-ups; and
  • Reaching out to the region’s merchants and consumers.

    Another challenge is incentive's the use of the digital currency. However, it is a catch 22 situation because there is a need for more users to incentive businesses to use it, and more businesses to incentive users to use it. The region needs more innovators and risk takers, more ideas and solutions as the market is more reactive than proactive.

    Bitcoin appears to be destined to grow big in the Middle East (ME), however, it remains to be seen how long the cultural barriers and lack of technological integration stopping it from penetrating deeper in the region.
  • ME Country Comparison

    Country Status Note
    Egypt Legal
    Iran Legal
    Turkey Legal No formal regulations on the bitcoin exist in Turkey.
    Bitcoin is not regulated as it is not considered to be electronic money according to the law.
    Iraq Legal
    Saudi Arabia Ilegal On August 13, 2018 - SAUDI Arabia has banned the trading of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin in the kingdom as the government launched a major crackdown, warning against the “illusion and get-rich” schemes by high risk traders.
    Yemen Legal
    Syria Legal
    United Arab Emirates Legal BitOasis plans to be the first bitcoin company in MENA to be registered in a major technology center in the region.
    Jordan Legal The Central Bank of Jordan has issued a warning of digital currencies' unregulated status in February 2014 and has prohibited banks, financial companies, payment processors and currency exchangers from dealing with them, particularly bitcoin.
    Lebanon Legal The country’s central bank, the Bank of Lebanon, issued a warning statement on 2nd January 2014 saying that bitcoin did not offer consumer protections, had a volatile price and was often used in criminal transactions. It advised people not to use digital currencies.
    Oman Legal
    Kuwait Legal
    Qatar Legal
    Armenia Legal
    Bahrain Legal
    Palestine Legal
    Cyprus Legal The Central Bank of Cyprus issued a statement on 7th February 2014 warning about bitcoin's volatility and reminding citizens it is not recognized as legal tender.


    We are not the owners of the above mentioned information, the information in this table is based on research.

    Important Note:

    Bitcoin's status might alter anytime, If you have any source/evidence please share it by contacting us.