Around the end of the last July, one of the leading crypto exchanges in the Arab region, CoinMENA, revealed that its services will be available legally in Egypt from now on, becoming the first licensed exchange in the country (as far as we know). CoinMENA will allow Egyptian users to link their bank accounts to their wallets, and exchange crypto and fiat currencies, what might be the first legal interlink between the two currency worlds in Egypt.
CoinMENA’s announcement came as a bit of surprise, against Egypt’s anti-crypto regulatory stance that we have seen during the past decade. In 2018, Egypt’s main religious institution, Dar Al Efta’a, declared crypto currency trading forbidden, or Haram, considering the high price fluctuation.
One year later, in 2019, the Central Bank of Egypt revealed that it was working on a law draft banning the creation or trading of crypto currencies without a license. And without a clear framework for licensing, this move was understood as an open-ended ban on crypto currencies. Formal warnings for crypto trading were issued at many points during the last crypto bull market in 2022, where many traders feared being jailed if caught.
Despite the unfavorable regulations, the website CoinDesk covered a sharp and dramatic rise in the rates of cryptocurrencies use and trade in Egypt across multiple platforms.
CoinMENA is one of the first licensed centralized crypto exchanges in the Arab region, it is registered in the Central Bank of Bahrain, and has been operating in Bahrain, UAE, KSA, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar before expanding to Egypt. It is expected that similar licensed exchanges, like Rain and BitOasis, which are registered in Bahrain and UAE, will soon apply for licensing in Egypt as well.