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A government committee of Saudi regulators has issued a statement clarifying that the trade in crypto currencies is illegal in the Kingdom.

Saudi Arabia bans crypto currencies

According to a statement by the Saudi Arabian Financial Supervisory Authority on Sunday, the Standing Committee warned against trading in crypto currencies because of “negative consequences and high risks for traders as they are outside state supervision”.

The Committee affirms that virtual currencies, including but not limited to Bitcoin, are illegal in the Kingdom and that no parties or individuals are permitted to engage in such practices. The consequences of trading in crypto currencies are not apparent from the statement.

Saudi Arabia warns of high risks

The Committee warns of “high regulatory, security and market risks, not to mention the signing of fictitious contracts and the transfer of funds to unknown beneficiaries/units/parties.”

The Standing Committee on Awareness of Trading in Unauthorised Foreign Exchange Securities (FOREX) was established by five tax authorities, including the Capital Market Authority (CMA) and the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA), the country’s central bank.

In addition to its mandate for unauthorised securities, the Committee also has the task of informing the competent authorities of all activities relating to virtual currencies in order to “reduce the risk to the public”.

Prince Al-Waleed criticises Bitcoin

The warning follows a critical remark by Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal in December 2017 on US television channel CNBC. There he said in an interview that Bitcoin “will one day implode”. The video can be seen on CNBC.com.

The Prince also compared the world’s largest crypto currencies to Enron. The US energy company went bankrupt in the early 2000s after revelations of massive accounting fraud.

Saudi Arabia cooperates with IBM and Ripple

While the trade in crypto currencies is declared illegal, the country is working on the implementation of blockchain technology in the public sector and the financial industry. As Base58 reports, Saudi Arabia chose IBM as its strategic partner for its economic programme Saudi Vision 2030, working together to improve municipal services.

The Saudi Arabian Central Bank (SAMA), which is a member of the committee, teamed up with Ripple in February this year to accelerate international payments, cointelegraph.com reported. The pilot program will enable participating banks to use Ripple’s xCurrent business software solution for cross-border payments.

About Saudi Arabia

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy in the Near East. Saudi Arabia is located on the Arabian Peninsula and borders on its neighbouring states, the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf. The two holiest Islamic sites, the Kaaba in Mecca and the resting place of the Islamic prophet Mohammed in Medina, are located in Saudi Arabia. Islam plays an important role in Saudi Arabia, the country is regarded as particularly strict and Islamic-conservative. The weekend is on Thursday and Friday, so Thursday is partly a day of rest and Friday a complete day of rest. In Saudi Arabia the Islamic time calculation applies.

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