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Cryptocurrency exchange Binance is open for business in Bahrain.

The world’s largest crypto exchange by volume said in a Monday, Jan. 16, press release that it has launched binance.bha platform that allows users in Bahrain to access Binance products and make deposits and withdrawals in local currencies.

Binance’s latest expansion has been well received by the Central Bank of Bahrain and the Economic Development Councilaccording to the release, and comes just days after the exchange’s CEO, Changpeng Zhaoannounced its intention to continue to hiredespite billions in cash withdrawals following the liquidation of the FTX crypto contagion.

“The launch of their platform reaffirms Bahrain’s position as a leading hub for crypto assets, blockchain and FinTech innovations, not only in the region but worldwide,” said Khalid HumaidanCEO of the board, in the press release.

PYMNTS wrote last year that Bahrain was a pioneer of the concept of “regulatory sandboxin the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, creating an environment that allows businesses to experiment with new ideas.

Besides Bahrain, other countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region have launched their own FinTech sandboxes. The central banks of Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have all allowed exploratory regulatory environments while the Central Bank of Oman has put the item on its to-do list.

Binance, meanwhile, has spoken of expansion amid a wave of crypto layoffs and heightened industry scrutiny.

Speaking at a crypto conference last week, Zhao said the company plans to increase its workforce by 15% to 30% this year.

“We will continue to build and hope that we will recover before the next bull market,” Zhao said at the Crypto Finance conference in St. Moritz, Switzerland.

His comments came during what turned out to be a brutal week for the crypto industrywith three high-profile exchanges announcing staff cuts.

Crypto.com said on Friday (January 13) that it would cut its global workforce by 20%, following earlier announcements of layoffs from Blockchain.com (which cut 28% of its Personal) and Coinbase (which made a reduction of 20% effective).

As noted by PYMNTS, this has been a “jerky startto 2023 for crypto as “millions of customers run out of money and thousands are out of work as a wave of suspected fraud, market contractions, regulatory scrutiny and downsizing of the business continues to surge.”

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