Saudi crypto journey gets timely boost from unlikely sources

May 11, 2018 6:13 pm


Saudi is behind the UAE in the crypto race to launch blockchain-based businesses, stimulate the growth of digital currency exchanges, release retail investment tokens and secure the right regulatory environment.

But of late, Saudi has been active in the crypto world, and the timing couldn’t be better.

After falling below $8800, Bitcoin could top $10,000 after a Blockchain Week in New York.

Related: The crypto hype hasn’t yet hit Saudi: Is the kingdom being overly cautious? 

What’s that got to do with anything?

Forbes reported that Blockchain Week New York begins today and runs to 17 May in partnership with Coindesk and the hype surrounding the event could be enough to send the Bitcoin price back above the psychological $10,000 mark for the first time since early March.

“The Bitcoin price has been hovering just under the $10,000 line for the past few weeks and came close to crossing it last weekend ($9,990) before falling back,” said Forbes.

“Last year Consensus, one of Blockchain Week’s largest events, kicked off the Bitcoin price boom that saw it climb over the summer and through to December, hitting $19,000 before falling sharply back at beginning of 2018.”

Read: A blockchain of events putting the UAE at the core of Crypto tech in 2018 

Some 8,000 people are expected to attend events as part of Blockchain Week New York this year, which includes talks from the likes of Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey on Monday, St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank president James Bullard and European Parliament member Eva Kaili.

Last week the New York Times reported that Goldman Sachs is looking to trade cryptocurrency tokens and planning to post bids and offers for Bitcoin futures.

Forbes said owner of the New York Stock Exchange, Intercontinental Exchange, is considering a type of Bitcoin swap for institutional investors.

Market strategy company Fundstrat yesterday predicted that the Bitcoin price could eventually soar to as high as $64,000 in the long term and $36,000 by the end of 2019 as a result of Bitcoin mining.

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Saudi’s growing interests in Crypto

According to CNN, Saudi’s Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) has teamed up with ConsenSys, a cryptocurrency development studio, to host a “blockchain bootcamp”.

“The recent three-day bootcamp introduced participants to the workings of blockchain technology from both a business and strategy perspective, its applications and features,” said CNN.

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia’s capital city, is harnessing blockchain development for a number of initiatives.

Ripple recently partnered with the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA), the central bank for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), to launch a blockchain pilot that will see regional participating banks use Ripple’s enterprise blockchain for ‘instant’ international payments, using Ripple’s xCurrent.

“The first-of-its-kind pilot involving a central bank will also see the KSA plugged in with access to over 100 financial institutions – banks, payment providers and more – on RippleNet, Ripple’s enterprise blockchain network,” said CNN.

Saudi and the UAE are also jointly working on a cryptocurrency to enable cross-border transactions between the two countries.

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Short-term weakness

Bitcoin hit a three-week low of $8,713. Coindesk said the cryptocurrency failed to cut through the descending (bearish) 5-day moving average (MA) located at $9,382 yesterday and is changing hands below the 100-day moving average (MA) of $8,849.

The ddrop is partly blamed on Upbit, South Korea’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, which is being investigated today by local police and ten investigators for alleged fraud, Cointelegraph reported.

Upbit is currently the 4th biggest crypto exchange globally by 24-hour trade volume.

“Multiple crypto commentators on social media have suggested that the news is already impacting crypto markets, with many of the top 100 coins down today by over 15 percent,” the Cointelegraph said.

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Hadi Khatib
By Hadi Khatib
Hadi Khatib is a business editor with more than 15 years' experience delivering news and copy of relevance to a wide range of audiences. If newsworthy and actionable, you will find this editor interested in hearing about your sector developments and writing about it.



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