Trading volumes in Bahrain's cryptocurrency platform Rain cross $1bn mark

Volumes grew 20-fold during the first half of this year, the company says

FILE PHOTO: Representation of the virtual currency Bitcoin is seen on a motherboard in this picture illustration taken April 24, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic /Illustration/File Photo

Rain Management, a cryptocurrency platform licensed by the Central Bank of Bahrain, said trading volumes grew 20-fold during the first half of 2021 to more than $1 billion for the first time.

The increase comes as retail investors pile into digital assets, encouraged by a rebound in the price of Bitcoin, the world's largest cryptocurrency.

“Expedited digital adoption in the region [in 2020] ... surely had a positive effect on our growth,” said Rain Management director Joseph Dallago on Monday.

Cryptocurrencies are not licensed by the UAE Central Bank although a number of cryptocurrency exchanges have been given permission to operate within the Abu Dhabi Global Market, the emirate's financial free zone.

The UAE dirham is the only legal tender in the country that is recognised by the Central Bank.

The Manama-based platform allows customers to buy, sell, and store cryptocurrency assets in a regulated, secure and compliant way.

It is part of Rain Financial, which is based in Delaware.

The platform was founded in 2017 by Mr Dallago and fellow Bitcoin enthusiasts Abdullah Almoaiqel, A J Nelson and Yehia Badawy.

“Crossing $1bn in trading volume is indeed a key moment for us. It reflects the incredibly positive reception our platform has had in the region,” said Mr Dallago.

Rain's user base also grew nine-fold in the first half of 2020 compared with the same period in 2019 and 19-fold in 2021, with more than 100,000 active users currently, according to the company.

Rain Management also increased its employee headcount to 105 as demand rose for its services. The FinTech had between 100-120 employees in February.

Cryptocurrencies have become more popular over the past year as the coronavirus pandemic spurs digital adoption.

Bitcoin has increased in value by more than 276 per cent over the past year and on Monday was trading at $34,822.23 at 1.27pm UAE time.

Despite the popularity of digital assets, central banks across the world have been reluctant to endorse them because of their speculative nature.

Cryptocurrencies are speculative assets that in many instances enable criminal activity and "work against the public good", the Bank for International Settlements, the global body for central banks, said in a report last week.

"It is clear that cryptocurrencies are speculative assets rather than money and, in many cases, are used to facilitate money laundering, ransomware attacks and other financial crimes," the BIS said.

Bitcoin has “few redeeming public interest attributes when also considering its wasteful energy footprint”, it said.