Middle Eastern cryptocurrency exchange Rain waives trading fees

The platform is aiming to attract new customers in the region with zero per cent trading costs

Yehia Badawy co- founded Rain Management with three others. Courtesy: Rain Management
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Rain, a cryptocurrency exchange that is licensed by the Central Bank of Bahrain, has introduced zero per cent trading fees as digital currencies gain more acceptance among mainstream investors globally.

The zero per cent trading fees will allow users to see the price of the cryptocurrency they want to trade and know there are no further costs, the company said in a statement on Thursday.

“We believe introducing zero per cent commission trading is the fastest way to on-board millions of new customers in the Middle East that are newly interested in the crypto industry,” AJ Nelson, co-founder of Rain, said. “Rain wants to set the tone for the market.”

Cryptocurrencies have become a popular mode of investment over the past two years, partly spurred by increased digital adoption during the pandemic. It has also been driven by bored investors with time on their hands during pandemic movement restrictions and extra money to invest after a series of government stimulus packages.

About 33 per cent of UAE residents have invested in cryptocurrencies, a survey by online market research company Toluna found last week. Residents in the Emirates plan to allocate 26 per cent of their investable assets to cryptocurrency, compared with 20 per cent globally, it said.

Last month, Dubai adopted a law to regulate virtual assets, which is aimed at creating an advanced legal framework to protect investors and provide international standards for virtual asset industry governance that will promote responsible business growth in the emirate

The Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority serves as the single custodial entity mandated to licence and govern the burgeoning cryptocurrency sector in Dubai, including all mainland and free zones, but excluding the Dubai International Financial Centre.

Rain was founded in 2017 by Abdullah Almoaiqel, Mr Nelson, Joseph Dallago and Yehia Badawy. Rain Financial’s subsidiary, Bahrain-based Rain Management, became the first licensed crypto-asset service provider in the Middle East in 2019 by the Central Bank of Bahrain.

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The cryptocurrency exchange is not currently licensed by a financial services regulator in the UAE, although it received in-principle approval for financial services permission from the Abu Dhabi Global Market’s Financial Services Regulatory Authority in January.

Once Rain satisfies all approval conditions and receives its permit, the company will be able to list a greater number of virtual asset pairs provided it meets the accepted virtual assets criteria set out by the ADGM’s regulatory authority.

Earlier this year, the exchange secured $110 million in Series B funding. The round was co-led by San Francisco-based cryptocurrency-focused investment company Paradigm and Silicon Valley venture capital company Kleiner Perkins. US-based Coinbase Ventures, Global Founders Capital, Middle East Venture Partners, Cadenza Ventures, Jimco and CMT Digital also participated in the round.

The company offers its customers a platform to buy and sell cryptocurrencies, as well as custodian services to hold their assets. It also provides educational opportunities for those interested in learning more about the digital tokens.

“The simplified fee structure aims to bring a new generation of investors into the Middle East and customers can feel more comfortable placing their first trade, while they build their confidence in the crypto world,” Rain said in the statement.

In 2019, the start-up raised $2.5m from BitMex Ventures and Bahraini cryptocurrency fund Blockwater.

The FinTech also raised $6m in January 2021 in a series A round of funding, led by MEVP, with participation from Coinbase Ventures.

Rain has performed more than $1.9bn worth of transactions to date and hosts more than 185,000 active users.

Updated: April 14, 2022, 1:31 PM