Qatar launches its first regulated crypto exchange

Qatar launches its first regulated crypto exchange
Image Credits: The Jakarta Post

CoinMENA, a Shariyah-compliant exchange certified by the Bahrain-based Shariyah Review Bureau, has become the first regional digital asset exchange to operate in Qatar. 

Qatari citizens and residents will now be able to open accounts with the trading platform and access all its features, including the capacity to link their bank accounts to their personal CoinMENA wallets in order to facilitate streamlined deposits and withdrawals. 

Through the platform, users can buy, sell, store and receive digital assets, such as Bitcoin. Users in Qatar will also be able to utilize the recently added features including withdrawing USDT via the TRON network for lower fees, and earning bonus rewards when they invite their friends through its referral program.

CoinMENA’s co-founders Dina Sam’an and Talal Tabbaa said: “We are delighted to become the first crypto exchange to offer our services in Qatar. Investors have been asking about our plans to enter the country for some time now, so this news represents a major milestone on our long-term geographic market expansion plans.”

The announcement doesn’t come without some controversy. According to the Secretary-General of the International Union of Muslim Scholars Dr. Ali Al Qaradaghi, an investment in crypto or digital currencies such as Bitcoin and its counterparts is forbidden by Sharia law due to several reasons. He argues that the means of money handling could potentially generate ‘riba‘, which refers to the exploitative gains made in trade or business.

Dr. Abdulazeem Abozaid an Associate Professor of Islamic Finance at Hamad Bin Khalifa University and an expert on Islamic finance, adds that cryptocurrencies “do not qualify yet as valid currencies because they do not fulfill the Shariah conditions or requirements for a valid currency […] nor are they valid to be traded or invested in. This is in view of the high risk associated with their trading due to their high volatility, which makes the whole process akin to gambling.”

This has not stopped CoinMENA from getting the license after receiving all operational, technical, and security requirements outlined by the CBB, an effort started last year when the Dubai World Trade Centre Free Zone and CNMENA Holding BVI, the parent company of CoinMENA, agreed to develop a crypto asset and blockchain hub at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC). 

If you see something out of place or would like to contribute to this story, check out our Ethics and Policy section.