Saudi Arabia’s central bank has appointed Mohsen AlZahrani, a former managing director at consultancy firm Accenture, to head its virtual assets and central bank digital currency (CBDC) initiative, Bloomberg reported.

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Fast facts

  • With the United Arab Emirates aiming to be a global crypto hub, Saudi Arabia is looking to have formal regulations for the asset class despite reservations regarding its speculative nature, according to unidentified sources Bloomberg quoted in its report.
  • AlZahrani reports to Ziad Bander Alyousef, Saudi Central Bank’s deputy governor for development and technology, and together with a team in Riyadh, they are engaging with some of the largest cryptocurrency companies on regulations, Bloomberg reported. 
  • Binance Holdings Ltd. has hired people for Saudi Arabia, as it recognizes potential in the region if current restrictions are relaxed, the report said.
  • Saudi Arabian regulators had issued a statement in 2018 clarifying that cryptocurrency trading is illegal in the kingdom due to “their negative consequences and high risks on the traders as they are out of government supervision.”
  • Meanwhile, Emirati state Dubai announced  in July its plans to be one of the top 10 cities globally in the metaverse economy, creating 40,000 virtual jobs and adding US$4 billion to the city’s economy in five years. 

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