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On Sept.4, the Bahraini government stressed on the importance of blockchain technology for the country’s oil-dominant economy while highlighting the need for heightened cybersecurity frameworks, reported News of Bahrain.
Bahrain’s Blockchain Push
At Bahrian’s annual SmartSec Cyber Security and Blockchain Conference 2018, the state’s Minister of Electricity and Water Affairs, Abdulhussain Mirza, confirmed the government’s intention to emerge at the forefront of the innovative disruption.
Mirza presented the usual narrative for describing blockchain-based systems, highlighting the “secure way” such technologies can be used for creating faster and more efficient transactions.
The minister noted the capabilities of data security provided by blockchain systems and told audiences that applications extend from financial services to a host of other sectors, including cybersecurity.
The Muslim-state of Bahrain has thus-far remained silent on blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies, with the latter forbidden under laws of Shariah law and Islamic finance. However, Mirza’s words mark a rare moment for the hush sector in the country.
Perhaps the advances of neighboring Dubai – in the fields of blockchain technology, Internet-of-Things, and artificial intelligence – must have cause Bahraini officials to take notice. Bahraini’s main asset is petroleum, and the country’s leaders understand fossil fuels are a fast-depleting resource and has turned to develop various other sectors, such as Tourism and Big Data, to maintain its global relevance.
While Dubai has several cryptocurrency and blockchain businesses operating in its jurisdiction, Bahrain issued its first “sandbox” license recently in June 2018 to a cryptocurrency exchange called Palmex. At the time, officials noted a trial run can be allowed until control laws are defined.
Concluding his speech, Mirza noted Bahraini companies should explore the rising technology to ensure the “greatest minds” propel innovation in the country.
Iran Confirms State-Backed Crypto and Mining Interest
Meanwhile, Iran’s cyberspace council issued its own comments with regard to the burgeoning blockchain and cryptocurrency sector. The country’s Supreme Cyberspace Council stated on Sept.4 that several ministries have passed a preliminary review of cryptocurrency mining as a legal business.
As stated by local outlet IBENA, the Cyberspace Council’s secretary Abolhassan Firoozabadi approved the mining of Bitcoin (BTC) as an industry by major government authorities. But, a legal framework and relevant legislation are yet to be introduced
Ministries with direct involvement in a future mining-based economy have reportedly expressed a positive stance for the sector, including the Ministry of Mining and Trade, Energy, Economic Affairs, Industry, and even the Central Bank of Iran.
Currently, the National Cyberspace Center is developing a legal platform for cryptocurrency mining and optimal regulation.
Interestingly, the minister confirmed Iran’s intention to create a state-backed cryptocurrency for circumventing U.S. sanctions and introduce a quantifiable financial device for propagating trade in the country.