Bahrain is putting its friendly approach to cryptocurrency regulation at the centre of a new initiative designed to make it easy for global startups to set up shop in the Arab state.
The Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) is looking to attract startups with its free fast-track setup process, covering residency, visa requirements and business registration, as well as guidance from local incubators and accelerators and access to grants and financial support.
The country is competing with several others, such a Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia, to become a major regional startup centre, with fintech seen as a prize sector.
Bahrain has already set up a massive fintech hub and opened a regulatory sandbox. It is now hoping that the fast-track system will attract more outside firms to the state.
"The Kingdom’s pioneering, agile and flexible regulatory framework allows it to regulate emerging technologies - such as open banking and cryptocurrencies - in a way other jurisdictions simply cannot," says a statement.