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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, Rua Growth Fund, FTX investment arm Alameda Research and Girnas Capital. CoinMENA will use funds in a move to further dominate the crypto market in the MENA region.

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.

As Forbes reported, CoinMENA offers fiat-to-crypto on-ramp and off-ramp, the ability to purchase and trade 20+ leading cryptocurrencies, 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, intending to expand 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.

According to a press release, investors in the round included Beco Capital, Kenetic, Arab Bank Switzerland, Bunat Ventures, Alameda Research, Rua Growth Fund, and Girnas Capital, alongside a number of global angel investors.

“CoinMena’s fundraise will mainly fund the further development of the platform and product, user acquisition and retention, as well as international expansion. The region has lagged in terms of crypto adoption, so I’m expecting a huge increase in the percentage of Mena residents that make their first crypto investment,” Talal Tabbaa added. “Crypto is a unique asset class that takes many shapes, including a store of value, medium of payment, financial instruments, NFTs, and others. The most popular for payments is stablecoins (crypto-assets that are pegged to a traditional currency) as they give users the speed and efficiency of crypto but are pegged to the USD, which is what is used to price most goods and services today. Making a payment in a stablecoin like USDC is much more efficient (faster and cheaper) than a credit card payment.”

Rani Jabban, Managing Director at Arab Bank Switzerland noted:

“As a pioneering bank in Digital Assets with a strong foothold in the Middle East, we believe that our strategic partnership with CoinMena will pave the way forward for greater adoption in the region.”

In turn, Jehan Chu, Founder of Kenetic, added:

“CoinMena is positioned for explosive growth, and Kenetic is excited to lend our extensive experience and deep network to support them as they provide superior crypto liquidity and user experience in a new era of digital finance throughout the Mena region.”

CoinMena’s mobile app, designed for beginners and professional traders, is simple, seamless, and highly intuitive, with a sign-up process that takes less than a minute. The exchange’s services are now available in Bahrain, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Oman, with plans to expand to other countries in the MENA region.

The Forbes analyst noted that 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 battlegrounds in the Middle East, Africa, and Southeast Asia are heating up, as both local and global cryptocurrency exchanges are competing for their slice of the market.

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