The hype around cryptocurrency continues to grow across the emerging markets as a new Egypt-based exchange opens later this month, promising to give investors better trading access in the Middle East’s most populous country.
Bitcoin Egypt is the cryptocurrency startup that will launch the country’s first exchange in Cairo on August 31. It is understood that the exchange will go into a beta testing phase before the full operational lauch.
In its early stages, Bitcoin Egypt will only support trading between the local currency and Bitcoin but it plans to support more altcoins in the future, as well as additional fiat currencies. The new exchange will charge fees equal to 0.25% of each transaction.
Bitcoin Egypt was founded by Rami Khalil and Omar Abdelrasoul. Khalil said that they are still waiting on the Egyptian government to set some kind of regulations: “Without any laws, bitcoin is not legal money in Egypt,” he said.
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Last month, the Central Bank of Egypt shot down rumours that it would allow banks to handle cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. Also last week, the head of the Egyptian financial regulator reiterated that authorities have no plans to authorize the virtual currency’s use.
But in a country with rampant inflation, reaching more than 30 percent in 2017, surely cryptocurrency can provide some of the answers rather than be looked at as unregulated investment vehicle. As the digital currency doesn’t suffer from inflation in the same way as the local currency, which has halved in value since November after flotation, it makes perfect sense for Egyptians looking for a way to store their money without the risk of it just evaporating away.
In addition, allowing start-ups such as Bitcoin Egypt to publicize their plans could mean that attitudes change, and more entrepreneurs will find new ways of tapping into the demand for Bitcoin and the opportunities attached.
“Cryptoassets are happening whether (the Egyptian government) joins in or not. And by not joining they’re missing out on a very big market. Currently bitcoin is about a $70 billion market,” said Khalil.
“We’re trying to get people used to the idea of bitcoin, to ready the market so that in a couple of years we will reach a greater number of users. But for now we are trying to let people know what cryptocurrency is,” concluded Abdelrasoul.