Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg
Digital currencies are among the best performing assets globally this year as investors bet on the likes of bitcoin and ethereum eventually rivalling the dollar or euro as the world’s de facto trading units.
Crypto currencies may seem tricky to comprehend, but they’re essentially digital coins that can be sent through the internet. Coins are transferred directly from seller to buyer – or peer-to-peer – with transactions verified and recorded in the currency’s blockchain, a digital public ledger. There is no bank or clearing house; bitcoins are kept in a digital wallet and sending bitcoins is as straightforward as sending an email.
“There are a lot of industries being transformed by blockchain and bitcoin, primarily financial services – the whole premise of a public blockchain is that it replaces the middleman,” said Ola Doudin, co-founder and chief executive of BitOasis, a Dubai-based digital asset trading and exchange platform focusing on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).
Bitcoin is the world’s first decentralised digital currency and was created by the pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamoto in 2009. The identity of the inventor, or inventors, remains a mystery despite numerous claims to have identified them.
Yet what appears certain is the seemingly insatiable demand among investors for the crypto currency – bitcoin has roughly quadrupled in value over the past 12 months, trading around $2,479 as of 25 July.
Ethereum, a newer rival among many, has made even bigger gains, surging from around $10 in early January to a peak of $428 on 12 June 12. It was trading around $196 as of 25 July.
“Ethereum is likely following a similar trajectory that Bitcoin did in its infancy. In the short term, ethereum is very volatile and likely will still be for a long time, partly because it’s low in liquidity,” said Doudin. “On a longer-term trend, bitcoin has consistently increased in value year-on-year despite short-term volatility.
If you’re someone who believes in blockchain technology and bitcoin, whether as an asset class or a means to conduct transactions, you should invest for the long term.”
BitOasis hopes to be a main means for MENA investors to do so. The company launched operations in early 2015, raising two rounds of financing from local and international
Investors. “This year, the popularity of bitcoin, ethereum and other blockchain applications has exploded in Saudi Arabia and the UAE in particular,” said Doudin. “We’re seeing a lot of
interest from the younger crowd, people who want to start using and trading these assets. We’re also getting a lot of interest from funds and high net worth investors in investing in digital currencies.”
Since early 2017, BitOasis has been growing at nearly 100 per cent month-on-month.
“We’re a consumer-facing online platform where people can sign up to get a digital asset wallet to store their tokens,” said Doudin.
“They can send digital assets on the blockchain network for free. We also offer an easy and secure way to exchange dirhams for digital assets and vice versa. We have a third option that allows more professional traders and liquidity providers to trade these digital assets.” She predicts digital currencies will have a major impact on MENA’s industries, not only financial services. “They’re democratising access to finances in various ways,” said Doudin, citing the provision of financial services for the underbanked and unbanked, cross-border payments to freelancer workers, facilitating ecommerce and providing access to capital for entrepreneurs and SMEs through initial coin offerings powered by ethereum. Doudin added: “Blockchains will lower the barriers to entry for new market players.”
Audi R8 V10 RWS arrives in the Middle East
Mercedes-Benz Extends Its AMG Line
Travel Guide: Where to Go in 2018
Trading in Luxury Watches
Five Great European Trips That Combine Culture and Skiing
Copyright: UMS International Fz LLCTheme