Opinion

GCC countries are leading the way of cryptocurrencies regulation

GCC countries are leading the way of cryptocurrencies regulation

Author
Short Url

The Russian central bank sent shivers down the spines of virtual asset investors after coming out with a proposal for a ban on digital assets in January. But a few days later the nation’s Ministry of Finance instead said that further regulation would be enough to protect citizens from fraud and other misuses, setting the stage for more internal debate. More regulation seems to be where the debate is currently pitched in the nation, with authorities setting their sights on boosting tax revenue.

The apparent split over virtual assets among Russia’s financial top brass is reminiscent of a larger global pattern that has emerged in recent years. Nations openly fret about whether to ban, or not to ban, cryptocurrencies.

Some countries, such as China and Algeria, imposed strict bans on digital currencies. Others, like the US, many European nations, and it seems, Russia, are slowly but surely moving toward comprehensive regulatory regimes.

In the Middle East, crypto has generated traction, often in different ways. Saudi Arabia has been quite welcoming to crypto companies and has experimented with blockchain for banks. The Kingdom has pledged to invest billions into blockchain and the metaverse. NEOM, its futuristic city in the making, will get a metaverse twin city, which will incorporate crypto and non-fungible tokens. This makes for a daring experiment, not just in crypto, but for urban development, as the end result could be nothing short of a city within a city, a place where the physical and digital worlds come together.

Bahrain is another leading nation in crypto adoption. In January, Bahrain’s national bank tested a blockchain platform built by US bank JPMorgan in another likely hint of where the lending industry may be moving its operations next. It previously rolled out a set of comprehensive rules in 2019, covering security, due diligence, and other digital asset operations. The Gulf nation allowed banking access to crypto companies, easing a major pain point these firms have traditionally faced due to a reluctance by banks to deal with digital assets.

But it is the UAE that stands out as a global and regional regulatory trailblazer in this area, seizing momentum early on and putting together a comprehensive regulatory framework to support digital asset firms. The country has emerged as a bustling hub for crypto innovation and bets on blockchain as a crucial part of its plan to double its gross domestic product by 2030.

Keeping up with innovation

The UAE has built up a network of around 40 free zones over decades, which are special economic areas with looser regulatory control. Their benefits include tax and customs exemptions, support for 100 percent foreign-owned businesses, and easy market access. These conditions are obviously very effective in attracting foreign talent and new firms to the country. But the benefits don’t end there— this arrangement is good for the nation’s administration.

Free zones are usually focused on a specific market niche and have their own regulators, who are well placed to keep the finger on the pulse of the relevant industries they oversee. The arrangement allows free zones to advance the government’s regulatory framework as innovation occurs.

This flexible model helped the nation move quickly to embrace virtual assets, even though the process is not evenly spread across the country. On the mainland, beyond the boundaries of the free zones, the virtual and digital asset sector is playing catch up. This is also true when it comes to banks, which are yet to make significant moves into the blockchain space. But in free zones, things could hardly be more progressive, with the digital asset business steaming ahead at full speed.

In June 2018, the Financial Services Regulatory Authority, the regulator of the Abu Dhabi Global Market, a financial free zone, published the first edition of its virtual asset framework. Essentially, the FSRA became the world’s first regulator to offer a bespoke regulatory framework for this novel asset space, and this work serves as a good example for others to follow.

What the regulator got right

The FSRA built its virtual asset guidelines from the ground-up four years ago, in a move that treated this kind of digital infrastructure as a self-standing asset class. Its regulations include a clear-cut definition of digital assets, giving them the three key features of a currency — as a medium of exchange, a store of value and a unit of account. It also distinguishes different sub-classes in this category, such as digital securities and fiat tokens.

These guidelines show a thorough
understanding of the playing field, which the FSRA was able to gain by maintaining proximity to the industry and monitoring
its development.

Also, by treating crypto as a self-standing asset class, it went further than many other regulators, who tend to put the sector on the same shelf as money transfer companies.

The problem with the money transfer approach is that it focuses only on knowing your customer and anti-money laundering issues, ignoring other factors. The FSRA’s rulebook includes provisions designed to guarantee market integrity, consumer protection, custody regulations and technology governance.

When it comes specifically to exchanges and platforms where users can trade digital assets, the FSRA rulebook goes far beyond knowing your customer supervision. It provides guidelines for transparency, fair trading practices, market surveillance, and other aspects of exchange operations.

The FSRA continues to monitor the industry and updates its regulations in line with key developments. It also incorporates the best practices proposed by international bodies, such as the French Financial Action Task Force.

With its fast-moving and flexible approach to virtual asset regulations, the UAE sets the example for every nation outside the crypto ban club to follow. Countries looking to capitalize on this novel asset class should pay close attention and take notes.

• Vasja Zupan is the president of Matrix, the first Virtual Assets Multilateral Trading Facility and Custodian to be launched under the regulations of the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Abu Dhabi Global Market.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Arab News' point-of-view

MENA region makes strides in digital assets as crypto scene heats up

Heightened digital activity is not reserved for a niche group of blockchain aficionados alone; instead it’s spread across different industries. (AFP/File)
Short Url
Updated 04 April 2022

MENA region makes strides in digital assets as crypto scene heats up

  • From luxury fashion to travel to art, crypto is increasingly finding more acceptance

DUBAI: Crypto has gone mainstream within a very short span of time as the Middle East region is making major strides in digital assets with a slew of new regulatory measures.

From luxury fashion to travel to art, crypto is increasingly finding more acceptance across diverse industries, indicating that these new forms of digital currencies are here to stay.

With this space becoming bigger and bigger, it will continue to draw the attention of crypto enthusiasts.

Opinion

This section contains relevant reference points, placed in (Opinion field)

Recognizing that these digital assets will only grow from here, the region is making necessary strides by introducing new mandates.

Dubai, for instance, adopted a new law to regulate virtual assets such as bitcoin and non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, and established an entity called the Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority. These are clear moves to legitimize a nascent industry and set the stage for growth.

“I see this as very positive news that will hopefully lead to massive adoption for digital assets in the region,” said Zina Ashour, co-founder and marketing director of iOWN, a regional tech company that invests in developing fintech solutions built on blockchain.

“This means that the regulators want to be part of the big movement toward digitizing the financial sector via blockchain and cryptocurrency,” she said.

Ecosystem

Similarly, FTX, a global crypto exchange, received an official license to operate in Dubai. This was closely followed up with an operating license granted to Binance, one of the largest crypto providers in the world that has also set up a headquarters in the emirate.

This series of steps come on the back of Dubai’s decision to launch the DMCC Crypto Center in June 2021. This was established as a comprehensive ecosystem for businesses operating in the cryptographic and blockchain sectors.

The center is also expected to house a leading crypto advisory practice led by CV Labs, the entity behind the Switzerland government-backed Crypto Valley. The valley has previously spawned crypto leaders such as cardano and ethereum.

FASTFACTS

• The digital economy contributes about 4.3 percent of the GDP in the UAE, which is equivalent to 100 billion dirhams ($27 billion).

• There are more than 1,400 startups in the country, with 1.5 billion dirhams allocated to them.

• The emirate has 90 investment funds in the digital sector and 12 business incubators.

• The total value of startups in the country is estimated to be 90 billion dirhams.

“Crypto and blockchain technologies have an enormous potential to transform global trade and supply chains. This is one of the key drivers behind launching the DMCC Crypto Center,” said Ahmed bin Sulayem, executive chairman and chief executive officer, DMCC, in a press statement.

“With the DMCC Crypto Center providing a progressive and supportive regulatory environment, a strong pool of industry talent, and an ecosystem that provides access to capital, resources and opportunities to crypto firms, we are perfectly placed to support crypto businesses from across the world,” he added.




Ola Doudin

Regulatory framework

Industry experts say the growing interest of non-regional platforms for local licenses can validate the size of the market opportunity in the region.

“From a regulatory perspective, we have reached escape velocity,” said Ola Doudin, CEO and co-founder of BitOasis, a UAE-based digital asset trading exchange and platform.

She pointed out that there is momentum and a competitive dynamic among policy-makers and regulators to launch frameworks for Virtual Asset Service Providers, or VASPs.

Bahrain and the Abu Dhabi Global Market were the first to do so, with Dubai having just passed its Virtual Assets Law. The Emirates Securities Commodities Authority is the next.

Doudin explained that this trend is driven by two factors — the realization that Web 3.0 is upon us, adoption rates are high; and enabling Web 3.0 through balanced regulation will attract investment, create jobs, and position countries as centers of innovation.

“We expect to see other GCC and MENA markets follow suit over the next 12 to 24 months,” she added.

The BitOasis CEO highlighted that 19 out of 20 top crypto-markets (by weighted crypto activity) are in the emerging or developing economies. “So it’s not surprising that when a territory announces it has introduced a regulatory framework — as we are seeing across the UAE right now — there is naturally a surge of interest and investment,” she said.

From a regulatory perspective, we have reached escape velocity

Ola Doudin, CEO and co-founder of BitOasis

Digital economy

The crypto expert estimates venture investment into the sector across the GCC will exceed $500 million this year alone.

Currently, the digital economy contributes about 4.3 percent of the GDP in the UAE, which is equivalent to 100 billion dirhams ($27 billion), according to the latest statistics from the Dubai Chamber for Digital Economy. There are more than 1,400 startups in the country, with 1.5 billion dirhams allocated to them. The emirate has 90 investment funds in the digital sector and 12 business incubators. The total value of startups in the country is estimated to be 90 billion dirhams.

In fact, this heightened digital activity is not reserved for a niche group of blockchain aficionados alone; instead it’s spread across different industries. With the basic understanding of crypto growing among the masses, this will benefit most businesses in the long run.

Related


Saudi banks shut down 42 branches in 12 months, increase digital presence

Updated 9 sec ago

Saudi banks shut down 42 branches in 12 months, increase digital presence

  • More banks are switching to increased virtual interactions and digitalization, and new banks are opening entirely on that premise

CAIRO: Saudi banks shut down 42 branches over the year ending in June, revealed the Saudi Central Bank, also known as SAMA.

The number of bank branches in Saudi Arabia also inched lower to 1,927 in the second quarter this year from 1,932 in the same quarter last year.

So, what are the reasons behind this decreased number of bank branches, and when did this trend begin?

The most common assumption would be the COVID-19 pandemic and its prolonged effect on the entire economy, including the financial and banking sectors.

Between the fourth quarter of 2019 and the first quarter of 2021, which includes the peak of the pandemic, 68 branches were closed. 

Also, bank branches continued to decrease quarterly long after lifting COVID-19 restrictions, albeit there was no clear trend.

Between May 2020 and June this year, 137 bank branches in the Kingdom shut shop.

It is worth mentioning that branches that have closed are not second-tier or underperforming banks but some of the largest and well-performing ones. For instance, Al Rajhi Bank, which had 543 branches in the fourth quarter of 2020, reduced it to 515 by June this year.

While COVID-19 sparked the digital revolution, advanced and innovative technologies did the job.

The past three years of the pandemic slowly began the transformation toward digital banking, which can be seen closely in the Saudi banking sector.

More banks are switching to increased virtual interactions and digitalization, and new banks are opening entirely on that premise.

Last February, SAMA licensed and welcomed the Kingdom’s third digital bank D360 Bank, following the launch of STC and Saudi Digital Bank in June last year.

Similarly, according to SAMA, 19 Saudi fintech companies have been authorized to provide payment services, consumer microfinance and electronic insurance brokerage over the past few months.

So, what does the future of digital banking in the Kingdom hold and will the population accept this digital revolution?

In a survey conducted by Ipsos in the Kingdom in October 2021, the research major pointed out that 61 percent still trust traditional banks, while 47 percent counted on mobile service providers and 40 percent depended on popular digital brands to carry out financial transactions.

The report added: “63 percent said that they will be making all their financial transactions through digital banking in the future, and 58 percent believe that people would no longer use cash as a payment method.”


Saudi banks increase loans by $77.1bn in Q2

Updated 14 August 2022

Saudi banks increase loans by $77.1bn in Q2

  • Kingdom is moving toward Vision 2030 by developing the trade sector and ensuring its sustainability

CAIRO: Saudi Arabia’s bank loan portfolio rose by SR289 billion ($77.1 billion) in the second quarter of this year from the same quarter a year ago, according to a recent statistical bulletin released by the Saudi Central Bank, also known as SAMA.

Bank loans totaled SR2.42 trillion at the end of the second quarter of 2022, up from SR1.95 trillion in the second quarter of 2021, showed the SAMA report.

The SR289 billion increase was led by an SR191.1 billion growth in miscellaneous activities. Its share increased by 2 percentage points to 52 percent in the second quarter of 2022.

The data showed that the value of Saudi banks’ aggregate loan portfolio totaled SR2.24 trillion at the end of the second quarter of 2022, up 14.8 percent from the year before and up 4 percent from the previous quarter.

The annual growth in bank loans dropped to a negative in 2017 and remained below zero until the third quarter of 2018. However, bank loans have been seeing an upward trend ever since, according to the SAMA report.

From the third quarter of 2018 until the end of 2019, the value of Saudi bank loans grew at an average rate of 3.7 percent year on year; between 2020 and the second quarter of this year, it grew at an average rate of 14.8 percent year on year.

The dominating segment in the Kingdom’s loans was miscellaneous economic activity, which acquired 52 percent of the total loans this quarter.

Commerce came in second, holding 17.2 percent of total loans in the country, recording SR385.7 billion in the second quarter, showed the data.

The Ministry of Commerce in the Kingdom has been moving toward the Saudi Vision 2030 by developing the trade sector and ensuring its sustainability, according to the Kingdom’s Unified National Platform.

The platform stated: “The Ministry of Commerce’s mission focuses on improving the business environment in Saudi Arabia through enacting, developing and supervising the implementation of flexible and fair trade policies and regulations.”

Even though total bank loans expanded this quarter, two economic activities saw a quarterly decline in bank credit in the second quarter of this year: manufacturing and processing and transport and communication.

Bank loans to transport and communication fell by SR6.2 billion in the second quarter of 2022 from the same quarter the previous year.

Compared to the previous quarter, the sector dropped from 2.1 percent of total loans in the first quarter to 1.9 percent, showed the SAMA bulletin.

Bank loans given to manufacturing and processing fell by SR4 billion in the second quarter of 2022 from the same quarter the previous year.

The data showed that the sector dropped from 7.2 percent of total loans in the first quarter to 6.9 percent compared to the previous quarter.

Related


QS Monitor taps 90% of global food trade

Updated 15 August 2022

QS Monitor taps 90% of global food trade

  • Platform currently operates in 72 countries: Managing director Burak Karapinar

RIYADH: UAE-based global food trade startup QS Monitor has created a platform for food traders to ship their goods risk-free.

Established in 2020, the company mitigates the risk for exporters as they streamline their shipments to avoid food loss by providing traders with the requirements for their goods to pass security measures.

Burak Karapinar, the managing director and founder of QS Monitor, told Arab News that the platform currently operates in 72 countries, which amounts to almost 90 percent of the global food trade industry.

“We are in 72 countries and growing, but this represents almost 90 percent of the global food trade. So, the ones we don’t have on the platform right now are either small countries or ones that are not big in the food trade,” Karapinar said.

Calling it the “Google for food trade,” Karapinar explained that traders input the product along with the destination, and QS Monitor will provide a complete list of requirements.

But that is not at all. Joe Hawayek, the board member of QS Monitor, told Arab News that the platform also links users to testing laboratories in their country.

“We are linking them with a testing laboratory in their country that can conduct these tests, issue them with the relevant certification that says they have passed, and they take it and travel with it for their product from the start,” he added.

By linking these players, Karapinar is trying to mitigate the food loss in the supply chain caused due to contamination. 

FASTFACTS

• As the Ukraine-Russia war affected the global food trade sector, the company plays a huge role in ensuring importers are still connected with exporters.

• Saudi Arabia and the UAE import most of their eggs from Ukraine, and because of the platform, importers could find alternative sources for their products.

“To give you an idea, 72 percent of global food loss happens in the supply chain, not at home or on the consumer’s plate,” he pointed out.

As the Ukraine-Russia war affected the global food trade sector, the company plays a huge role in ensuring importers are still connected with exporters.

“That’s another beauty that we can provide to this platform. The onboarding of a supplier takes months. You need to be able to verify all the information and make sure the supplier meets your criteria and standards.

“Through our platform, you don’t need to do that. You can gather this information. And you can make your decision. So, we also add the trust element between the buyer and the seller,” Karapinar said.

Hawayek also added that Saudi Arabia and the UAE import most of their eggs from Ukraine, and because of the platform, importers could find alternative sources for their products. With a network of over 400 laboratories, the company provides several services through its platform and certification for Halal requirements for certain foods.

“We did more than 10,000 transactions last year; this includes certification testing, inspection, product registration, and supplier audits,” Karapinar added.

With 6,000 traders on the platform, Karapinar stated that the company currently has 1,000 traders on QS Monitor from the Kingdom and is planning to grow that number by a minimum of five times.

In addition, the company is currently in series A funding stage and is on its way to raising $8 million and expanding its staff from 18 to 60 people in the next five months.

QS Monitor also won UAE’s FoodTech Challenge provided by the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, which features almost 600 companies.

Related


Gazprom ramps up gas flow to Hungary via Turkstream pipeline, official says

Updated 13 August 2022

Gazprom ramps up gas flow to Hungary via Turkstream pipeline, official says

  • The agreement with Gazprom is for 15 years, with an option to modify purchased quantities after 10 years

BUDAPEST: Russia’s Gazprom has ramped up flows to Hungary via the Turkstream pipeline that brings gas to Hungary via Serbia, a Hungarian Foreign Ministry official said on Saturday.

EU member Hungary has maintained what it calls pragmatic relations with Moscow since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, creating tensions with some EU allies keen to take a tougher line.

Hungary, which is about 85 percent dependent on Russian gas, firmly opposes the idea of any EU sanctions on Russian gas imports and Prime Minister Viktor Orban has also lobbied hard to secure an exemption from EU sanctions on Russian crude oil imports.

Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto met his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Moscow last month, seeking a further 700 million cubic meters of gas on top of an existing long-term supply deal with Russia.

Under a subsequent agreement, Gazprom started ramping up gas flows to Hungary on Friday, Hungarian Foreign Ministry State Secretary Tamas Menczer said in a statement.

Menczer said Gazprom would add 2.6 million cubic meters of additional gas per day to previously-agreed deliveries via Turkstream through August, with the amount of September deliveries being negotiated.

Hungary’s reserves stored 2.84 billion cubic meters of gas by the middle of July, the lowest level for that period over the past five years based on data by the national energy regulator.

Under a deal signed last year, before the start of the war in neighboring Ukraine, Hungary receives 3.5 billion cubic meters of gas per year via Bulgaria and Serbia under its long-term deal with Russia and a further 1 bcm via a pipeline from Austria.

The agreement with Gazprom is for 15 years, with an option to modify purchased quantities after 10 years.

Related


Arab News top picks of MENA’s 10 most funded fintech startups

Updated 15 August 2022

Arab News top picks of MENA’s 10 most funded fintech startups

  • Technology-based sectors starting to dominate the business landscape in the region

RIYADH: The entrepreneurial ecosystem has been on the rise in the Middle East and North Africa region for a while, with technology-based sectors starting to dominate the business landscape.

Financial technology, popularly known as fintech, has been a promising sector for business people and investors alike, with startups entering and exiting the industry like never before.

The numbers speak for themselves. Startup funding increased 540 percent in the first quarter of 2022 compared to the same time last year, reported Dubai-based MAGNiTT, a startup research platform.

To get a sense of the action in the fintech domain, Arab News has compiled a list of the 10 most funded fintech startups in the MENA region.

 

Tabby

Founders Hosam Arab, Daniil Barkalov

Funding $275 million

Rounds 8

Investors 19 investors including STV, Global Founders Capital, Raed Ventures, Partners for Growth, Atalaya Capital.

Headquarters UAE

One of the leading buy-now-pay-later platforms in the region, Tabby aims to provide financial freedom to shoppers by offering solutions without interest or debt fees.

Focusing on the retail sector, the company wants to improve the shopping experience of its loyal customers by offering a flexible checkout experience.

Tabby raised $150 million in debt financing in its last funding round and it aims to use it to fortify its balance sheet as well as strengthen its client base.


Foodics

Founders Ahmad Al-Zaini, Musab Al-Othmani

Funding $198 million

Rounds: 5

Investors 17 investors including STV, Sanabil and Prosus

Headquarters Saudi Arabia

Foodics offers a point-of-sale management system for restaurants that lets business owners keep track of all their operations, from the kitchen to employees and sales.

The company offers many facilities that support restaurant operations, including micro-lending and payments catering to food and beverage establishments.

In its latest funding round, Foodics secured $170 million in a series C round, allowing it to grow its fintech arm and micro-lending operations.

 

 


Tamara

Founder Abdulmohsen Al-babtain, Abdulmajeed Al-sukhan, Turki Bin Zarah

Funding $116 million

Rounds 4

Investors 9 investors including Impact46, CheckOut.com and Nama Ventures

Headquarters Saudi Arabia

Another pioneer in the buy-now-pay-later market, Tamara is a Saudi-based fintech that offers its solutions to merchants and buyers alike.

The company aims to create a seamless experience for shoppers by providing a zero-interest fee for its services.

In 2021, Tamara raised $110 million in a series A round, making it a record-breaking round last year.


Paymob

Founder Islam Shawky, Alain El-Hajj, Mostafa Menessy

Funding $68.5 million

Rounds 4

Investors 10 including PayPal Ventures, Nclude and A15

Headquarters Egypt

Paymob, one of the players that changed the game in the Egyptian market, is a complete fintech solution for emerging markets and small and medium enterprises.

The company offers a complete digital payment solution for businesses to accept online and in-store payments.

Founded in 2015, Paymob raised $50 million in a series B funding round in May 2022, which was used in product development and market expansion. 

Ahmad Al-Zaini, the co-Founder and CEO of Foodics, a Riyadh-based startup which helps food outlets with their digital transformation. (Supplied)

PostPay

Founder Tariq Sheikh

Funding $63.5 million, according to Forbes

Rounds Undisclosed

Investors Touch Ventures and AfterPay

Headquarters UAE

Founded in 2019, Postpay is a flexible payment firm that offers shoppers to pay in three monthly interest-free installments at its partner stores.

The company works with leading global brands such as H&M, Footlocker, Dermalogica and domestic merchants such as The Entertainer and Squat Wolf.

Last June, the company secured $10 million in equity investment; the funds will be used to fuel its expansion plans across the MENA region.


HyperPay

Founder Muhannad Ebwini

Funding $50.5 million

Rounds 4

Investors 8 including Mastercard and AB Ventures

Headquarters Saudi Arabia

HyperPay offers a payment gateway for online businesses to accept and manage
payments online with flexibility and security.

Founded in 2014, the company has an extensive network of partners with banks across the Middle East and North Africa to better facilitate online payments in local currencies.

In its last funding round, HyperPay secured $36.7 million in June 2022 to enable the company to grow its team and introduce new payment solutions. 


Khazna

Founder Omar Saleh, Ahmed Wagueeh, Fatma Shenawy

Funding $47 million

Rounds 7

Investors 12 including Quona Capital, Khawazimi Ventures and Nclude

Headquarters Egypt

Another Egyptian fintech startup that tops the list, Khazna, is a financial super app that offers a wide range of solutions for underserved individuals.

The company aims to provide
the 20 million underserved Egyptians with banking and financial options through their smartphones.

Founded in 2019, the company raised $38 million in March 2022, allowing it to replace cash-driven alternatives across Egypt.


BitOasis

Founder Daniel Robenek, Ola Doudin

Funding $30 million

Rounds 6

Investors 15 including Wamda and Jump Capital

Headquarters UAE

A new kind of fintech added to the list, BitOasis is a cryptocurrency trading platform that offers a digital asset wallet.

Founded in 2015, the company allows users to buy, sell, trade and exchange crypto assets in the UAE.

Raising $30 million in its last funding round, BitOasis got approvals from the Abu Dhabi General Market and partnered with police entities to combat crypto fraud.


Telr

Founder Khalil Alami

Funding $28.9 million

Round 4

Investors 4 including Cashfree Payments and iMena Group

Headquarters UAE

An award-winning payment gateway provider, Telr has offices in Singapore, the UAE, India, and Saudi Arabia.

The company offers businesses a set of application programming interfaces and tools to enable them to accept and manage online payments.

Telr raised $15 million in a funding round in 2021 by India-based Cashfree payments to better facilitate cross-border payments.


Paytabs

Founder Abdulaziz Al Jouf

Funding $25.3 million

Rounds 2

Investors Saudi Aramco

Headquarters Saudi Arabia

Another award-winning startup, Paytabs, is a B2B online payments solutions provider that aims to give merchants digital payment features on their websites.

The company offers application programming interfaces to facilitate transactions in multiple currencies and other markets.

Founded in 2014, Paytabs is a Saudi Aramco-backed company that currently operates in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

Related