January 7, 2021
Although it is difficult to quantify the demand for Bitcoin in the entire Middle East market, small traders from Lebanon to Yemen indicated that their interest in Bitcoin as a safe-haven asset rather than a speculative asset is greater than ever.
Rami Mohammad Ali, a Bitcoin miner and trader located in the Palestinian area of East Jerusalem, said that the local buyer broke out in March.
So far, he has sold 30 bitcoins to 90 customers. This is a significant increase from September 2019, when he said that he sells about 20 bitcoins to 50 customers every month.
He said that the value of holding Bitcoin is attractive because people can get money whenever they need it.
This seems to be the case throughout the region. An anonymous Syrian businessman who lives with his family in Lebanon said that Lebanese small business owners are trying to pay invoices abroad. As a result, among the few Lebanese who have family members going abroad and need computer skills, some now "buy [Bitcoin] locally with cash and settle the invoice abroad through friends and family."
In fact, some Middle Eastern Bitcoin traders claim that as global prices fall, relatively newbies are learning quickly and hope to buy Bitcoin this week.
At the same time, in Tehran, Iran, an anonymous Iranian Bitcoin maker stated that people now “tend to keep their assets in gold, dollars and housing, plus a little bit of Bitcoin.” The economic situation is due to the coronavirus in Iran. Gradually deteriorated. This means fewer public Bitcoin gatherings and quieter transactions between people who have less trust in state institutions. Locals say that despite the challenges facing industrial operations, small-scale Bitcoin mining is now commonplace.
"Bitcoin is a revolutionary product, but it needs to be more innovative," "In the past, people thought Bitcoin was a new type of scam. Now, Bitcoin has become more trustworthy."
Analyst company Gate Trade estimates that there are currently more than 30 Iranian companies that use Bitcoin instead of legal tender for cross-border transactions. However, a spokesperson for the Gates Trading Company declined to disclose which companies, because the biggest obstacle to Bitcoin adoption in the Middle East appears to be international sanctions. The challenge is not limited to Iran.
"If I have the capabilities of a developed country, I will make great progress in this area." Albhibhi said when talking about the sale of Bitcoin in countries that have suffered from war. "Most companies that trade globally do not include Yemen."
He said that he hopes that the people of Yemen will gain trading opportunities in the cryptocurrency market. But he added that due to sanctions, the war is the biggest obstacle to the adoption of Bitcoin in the country. For example, due to compliance issues, he said that people in Yemen cannot download wallets through Google Play.
Due to the collateral damage of sanctions, civilians who are curious about cryptocurrency are barred from entering the system.
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