September Majlis - An Overview of Cryptocurrencies in the Middle East and North Africa

September Majlis -  An Overview of Cryptocurrencies in the Middle East and North Africa

Abstract 

Since Bitcoin was introduced in 2009, different uses have been created for blockchain technology including the rise of thousands of blockchain enabled cryptocurrencies. Cryptocurrency market capitalisation reached $2.9 trillion in 2021 before plummeting to $1 trillion in September 2022. The enormous growth and volatility in cryptocurrencies have caused governments to consider the possibilities and need to regulate this technology and its application. At the same time, central banks around the world are researching and piloting their own versions of digital currencies. In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, crypto assets have risen in popularity with some governments introducing regulatory frameworks to regulate and drive innovations in this space. The MENA region is one of the fastest growing cryptocurrency markets in the world, making up 7% of global trading volumes. This Majlis explores the cryptocurrency landscape in the MENA region. It will provide an introductory discussion of blockchain enabled technology, digital currency rollouts, and the rise of crypto assets. It will then explore blockchain adoption in the MENA region, focusing on the financial systems, public services, and innovation ecosystems. In doing so, it will answer the following questions: what are the primary drivers for cryptocurrency adoption in MENA? Are there variations in governmental attitudes towards cryptocurrencies in MENA? What is the environmental impact of crypto adoption in the region? Are cryptocurrencies funding illicit activity in the region?

 

Bio

Dr Anas Iqtait is a Lecturer in Economics and Political Economy of the Middle East at the ANU Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies. Anas is the author of the forthcoming book Funding and the Quest for Sovereignty in Palestine (Palgrave 2022). Prior to joining the ANU, Anas worked in the financial services and economic development sectors in the Middle East. He holds an MA in International Development Policy from Seoul National University (South Korea), and a BS in Financial Economics from Methodist University (United States). Anas also holds an IBM professional certificate in Data Science.

 

Date & time

Fri 23 Sep 2022, 11am–1pm

Location

Online via Zoom

Speakers

Dr Anas Iqtait

Event series

Contacts

Mr Khalid Al Bostanji

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