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Mon 13 Aug 2018 09:16 AM

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Trading in Bitcoin illegal in Saudi Arabia, officials warn

Saudi financial officials reissue warnings against cryptocurrencies after internet

Trading in Bitcoin illegal in Saudi Arabia, officials warn
A mobile phone displaying virtual currencies exchange rates. Saudi standing committee that not only are these activities all outside the scope of government supervision, but that cryptocurrencies have also been used for a variety of illicit activity. Photo: GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT/AFP/Getty Images.

A special standing committee in Saudi Arabia has issued a statement reaffirming the illegality of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in the kingdom, in light of a number of websites and social media accounts promoting them.

The standing committee, which is headed by the Capital Market Authority and includes representatives of the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Information, the Ministry of Trade and Investment, and the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA), issued a statement saying that the claims of these websites that they are "authorised" by official authorities in the kingdom are incorrect and that “no parties or individuals are licensed for such practices”.

The committee went on to warn citizens about the risks associated with investing in cryptocurrencies, not just from the volatility of the market but also from potential scams, the transfer of money to unknown recipients and the presence of unenforceable or fictitious contracts.

They also noted that not only are these activities all outside the scope of government supervision, but that cryptocurrencies have also been used for a variety of illicit activity.

The standing committee is also currently working with relevant bodies to reduce such marketing activities, not just for cryptocurrency trading but also forex trading on sites that aren’t regulated by SAMA. 

Investors who are in any doubt about what is permissible should refer to the relevant government entity’s website, which will provides details of the licensed entities.