FTX Backs CoinMENA In $9.5M Seed Round To Build A Crypto Exchange For The Middle East
Headquartered in Bahrain, fiat-to-crypto exchange CoinMENA has secured $9.5M in seed funding from BECO Capital, Kenetic Capital, Arab Bank Switzerland, Bunat Ventures, FTX investment arm Alameda Research and Girnas Capital.
Launched in early 2021 by Dina Saman, Talal Tabbaa, and Yazan Barghuthi, CoinMENA was built to facilitate easy and safe access to crypto investing in the gulf region with a focus on countries such as Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and other regions in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) market. The company operates as a fully regulated, onshore crypto exchange licensed by the Central Bank of Bahrain, and holds only one of two such licenses issued.
CoinMENA offers fiat-to-crypto on ramp and off ramp, the ability to purchase and trade 20+ leading crypto currencies, personalized customer service, and an easy-to-use mobile app for both beginners and professional traders. The exchange’s services are currently available to residents of Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Oman, with a view to expanding to other countries in the MENA region.
“With growing awareness about crypto assets and their transformative potential, appetite from both retail and institutional investors in the MENA region is growing at a rapid pace. Our strategic capital partnerships provide support for our vision to increase adoption of crypto assets in the region in a regulated and seamless manner. We believe that this is a positive outlook for the cryptoassets sector over the coming years both locally and globally,” says Talal Tabaa, Co-Founder and Chairman of CoinMENA.
CoinMENA’s investor round included BECO Capital (backer of MENA regions’s three unicorns Swvl, Kitopi, and Careem), Hong Kong’s Kenetic Capital (backer of crypto lending platform BlockFi and digital asset securities firm Securitize), Arab Bank (Switzerland) Ltd. and Bunat Ventures.
Alameda Research, a quantitative cryptocurrency trading firm owned by crypto billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried, was also a significant participant in the round.
“We were impressed by the combination of CoinMENA’s team and the depth of their vision for the cryptocurrency industry in the region. We are very excited to partner with this stellar team in delivering financial inclusion, investing, and savings tools, in a crypto native and regionally-focused manner, all while adhering to the highest levels of regulation and compliance for all stakeholders,” says BECO Capital’s Dany Farha.
Notably, the MENA market appears to be underserved with only two other competitors operating in the region, Swiss-based BitOasis and Coinbase-backed Rain, to serve the potential 600 million users in the region. As cryptocurrencies become increasingly mainstream, it seems that regional battle grounds in the Middle East, Africa and Southeast Asia are heating up, as both local and global crypto currency exchanges are competing for their slice of the market.Source