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In Qatar, the central bank prohibits the country’s financial institutions from trading in crypto currencies. It wants to make violations punishable.

The Central Bank of Qatar has banned the country’s banks from trading Bitcoin and other crypto currencies. This was reported by insiders of the news agency Reuters. In a circular Reuters had read, the central bank asked the financial institutions not to trade in cyber-currencies, nor to exchange them for other currencies, nor to open accounts for trading in crypto-currencies. Violations are to be punished according to existing legal possibilities.

According to insiders, Qatar’s banks have been very cautious about crypto currencies in the past. Internet entries had shown, however, that some citizens of the very wealthy Arab state had acquired or were planning to acquire Bitcoin via online trading centres.

The announcement of the Central Bank of Qatar is particularly rigid. Other Arab states in the region, such as the United Arab Emirates and Oman, have also warned against crypto currencies. However, they have not issued a ban or promised sanctions. In December, the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates announced its intention to issue its own digital currency based on blockchain technology together with Saudi Arabia. It is to be used as a means of payment in bilateral trade between the two countries.

In the meantime, official authorities in many large economies have also warned against trading in crypto currencies, including the USA, China, Russia, South Korea and several European countries.

About Qatar

Qatar is a state in the Persian Gulf. For centuries, the pearl trade formed the basis for economic success. In 1938, oil was discovered and there was a real oil boom. The arrival of a large number of migrant workers led to an increase in the population and the number of foreigners in the country exceeded that of the local population. With the nationalization of the oil companies in 1972, Qatar became the first oil-producing country in the Gulf to possess one hundred percent of its own resources. After Russia and Iran, Qatar has 1/12 of the world’s gas reserves, the world’s third largest natural gas deposit.

Since 1998 Qatar has been the headquarters of the US troops’ headquarters in the Middle East and was also the command centre in the US war against Iraq in March 2003.

Qatar has become the news center of the Arab world. The controversial Arab news channel Al Jazeera, founded in April 1996, is based in Qatar. With Arabsat – a network of communication satellites of the Arab League – a modern transmission medium is available at the same time, which spreads the news and information of the transmitter in the entire Arab world.

Although Emir Al Thani introduced freedom of the press in 1995, there is massive censorship, especially of system-critical publications.

In 2008, Qatar launched a medium-term development programme for an efficient infrastructure under the motto “Qatar National Vision 2030”. With an estimated expenditure of 50 billion US dollars, the desert state is to be developed into one of the most modern in the world. Qatar will host the FIFA World Cup in 2022.

Tourism in Qatar is still in its infancy. However, there is a sufficient number of international hotels of different standards and price ranges in the capital Doha. Outside of Qatar the offer is minimal. Travel within Qatar is not subject to special restrictions. However, the Federal Foreign Office of Germany recommends that travellers, in view of the continuing tensions and events in some countries of the Near and Middle East, remain cautious in public and behave in a manner that respects Qatar’s religious, cultural and social traditions and refrain from demonstrations or protest events.