A new digital assets exchange, CoinMena, secured a licence to operate from the Central Bank of Bahrain.
The Category 2 Crypto Asset Services Company Licence means CoinMena will become one of the few fully licensed and operating digital asset exchanges in the world, the company said in a statement.
"Obtaining the licence from the Central Bank of Bahrain allows us to operate under one of the most robust and globally-renowned digital assets regulatory frameworks where governance, security, and customer protection are central to all our operations," Dina Sam’an, co-founder and managing director of CoinMena said.
The exchange is Sharia-compliant, having been certified by the Shariah Review Bureau, the company said.
It will offer the deposit, trade and withdrawal of digital assets in a users' local currency and on launch will offer trading in five major cryptocurrencies Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Ripple (XRP), Litecoin (LTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH). It will be open to users in Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
It will also provide over-the-counter services for clients looking to carry out large transactions, the company said.
"As CoinMENA grows, we will be providing access to additional digital assets and expanding the jurisdictions we operate in, with the view of becoming one of the leading digital assets exchanges on a global scale.”
The Central Bank of Bahrain launched rules governing the provision of crypto asset services in the kingdom in 2019. Abu Dhabi Global Market's Financial Services Regulatory Authority gave in-principal approval to a number of crypto asset exchanges in 2019, including BitOasis, Digital Assets Exchange, Matrix Exchange and MidChains, among others. Earlier this month, the Dubai Financial Services Authority said it is in the process of drawing up a framework for regulating digital assets.
Last week, Rain, another digital assets exchange regulated by the Central Bank of Bahrain, raised $6 million from a group of investors including venture capitalist Middle East Venture Partners and one of the world's biggest crypto exchanges, US-based Coinbase.
Other investors in Rain's funding round included Vision Ventures, CMT Digital Ventures, Jameel Investment Management Company, and the Dubai International Financial Centre's FinTech Fund.