Investments

Bahrain’s Rain closes $2.5 million seed round, becomes first licensed cryptocurrency exchange in the Middle East

Rain, a Bahrain-based cryptocurrency exchange has closed its $2.5 million seed round, it announced in a statement to MENAbytes. The round was co-led by BitMEX Ventures, the investment arm of the BitMEX, which is a cryptocurrency derivatives trading platform and Kuwait-based cryptocurrency fund, Blockwater. Some other regional investors including Vision Ventures, 500 Startups (MENA), and Taibah Valley also joined the round.

Rain also announced that it has acquired the Crypto-Asset Module (CRA) license from the Central Bank of Bahrain, which is apparently bigger news as it has become the first cryptocurrency exchange to earn a regulatory license in the Middle East.

Founded in 2016 by Yehia Badawy, Abdullah Almoaiqel, AJ Nelson and Joseph Dallago, Rain enables users to buy, sell and store Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Ripple. The web and mobile-based platform allows users in Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Oman to buy these cryptocurrencies using their bank accounts, debit cards or credit cards. Rain charges a fee of 1.5% (of transaction value) on purchases made through bank transfers, 4% for the ones made using debit or credit cards and 1.5% of the transaction value a sale.

Rain also offers customized cryptocurrency buying, selling, and storage services to businesses, family offices, and high-net-worth individuals through its institutional accounts. Those with an institutional account get a dedicated account manager.

Rain had first established contact with Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) in February 2017. Its team of four Blockchain enthusiasts from Silicon Valley, Saudi & Egypt met with some senior members at CBB in an information session on cryptocurrency and soon after it became the first crypto exchange to enter CBB’s Regulatory Sandbox. The startup worked closely with the regulator for the past two years to provide them recommendations from industry’s perspective.

During these two years, some more crypto exchanges also joined CBB’s sandbox including Dubai’s BitOasis that received preliminary approval from Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Abu Dhabi Global Market Authorities to operate its crypt platform earlier this year and is expected to get a license by the end of the year.

Arthur Hayes, Co-Founder and CEO of BitMEX, said, “BitMEX Ventures is devoted to encouraging greater global access to cryptocurrency trading as we start to see the maturation of cryptocurrencies as a legitimate asset class. As the first licensed cryptocurrency exchange in the Middle East, Rain has an unprecedented opportunity to tap into the incredible potential that cryptocurrency trading will bring to the region. We believe that Rain will bring greater diversification to Middle-Eastern traders with its exchange offering and experienced team, and we are thrilled to contribute to this defining moment.”

Rain in a statement said that its investors also include cryptocurrency heavyweights Jimmy Song, Mike Komarnsky (founder of Cumberland Mining), Aaron Lasher and Aaron Voisine (co-founders of BRD, formerly Breadwallet), Compound.finance, CMT Digital (worldwide commodities trading firm headquartered in Chicago), and the founding team of JMBullion (largest precious metals brokerage in the United States).

The startup plans to use the investment to expand its team to meet growing customer support and engineering needs and invest in new technology.

Zubair Naeem Paracha

Zubair Naeem Paracha

Founder at MENAbytes
A tech and startup enthusiast based in Riyadh. Zubair apart from leading MENAbytes is also building Qraar, a career discovery and development platform for millennials in MENA. He can be reached on Linkedin, Twitter or zubair [at] menabytes [dot] com.
Zubair Naeem Paracha

MENAbytes covers tech and digital media stories from Middle East North Africa

We are trying to bring you all the latest happenings from startups to influencers, everything in tech and digital media from the region.

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