Despite the country’s proactive and seemingly positive approach towards blockchain-based technologies, cryptocurrency trading remains heavily outlawed, officials reiterate.
Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrencies Are Illegal
A standing committee, headed by the Capital Market Authority in Saudi Arabia and including representatives of the Ministry of Trade and Investment, the Ministry of Information, and the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency, issued a formal statement, reaffirming the illegality of trading with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
The warning was released amid a range of websites and social media accounts promoting cryptocurrencies. According to the committee “no parties or individuals are licensed for such practices.” Furthermore, dealings with cryptocurrencies are outside of the purview of the government.
The committee also took the chance to outline the risks associated with cryptocurrency trading and to reiterate that they have been used for illicit activity. It’s worth noting, though, that reports from a wide range of governments across the world show otherwise.
According to a report on organized crime issued by the Financial Services and Treasury of Hong Kong, cryptocurrencies do not pose a threat. Quebec’s Government also found that the usage of Bitcoin for illicit activity has actually been declining. The National Crime Agency of the UK also determined that the amount of cryptocurrencies used for illicit activity is “relatively low.”
A Tad Bit Controversial
While the standing committee is issuing official warnings about the illegality of trading with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, the kingdom itself is working on a joint project with the United Arab Emirates on a digital currency for cross-border transactions. Bitcoinist reported that the planned currency will be underpinned by blockchain technology.
Going further, in February 2018, Ripple also landed a deal with the central bank of Saudi Arabia. Reportedly, the bank will take advantage of the enterprise software of Ripple – xCurrent, to easily carry out cross-border payments with end-to-end tracking.
Why is Saudi Arabia outlawing Bitcoin trading while interested in cryptocurrency? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!
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