The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has imposed a fine of $1 million against Shark77, a cryptocurrency trading platform, for illegally offering services in the country. The decision was made by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA), which is the country’s central bank and regulator of financial services. The move reflects the government’s strict stance against unlicensed digital currency exchanges.
Unlicensed Offering of Cryptocurrency Services
Shark77 was offering cryptocurrency services to Saudi Arabian customers without a proper license from SAMA, which is a violation of the country’s financial regulations. The company was not authorized to provide digital currency trading or custodial services, which are strictly regulated in the Kingdom. Moreover, Shark77 was using local bank accounts to facilitate its operations, which is against SAMA’s guidelines for digital currency exchanges.
SAMA takes action
SAMA’s decision to fine Shark77 is in line with its efforts to combat unlicensed and illegal financial activities in the country. The regulator has been closely monitoring digital currency exchanges and has issued warnings to the public to be cautious while dealing with them. It has also introduced a licensing framework for digital currency exchanges that complies with international standards and ensures the safety of customers’ funds.
Shark77 has not yet responded to the fine imposed by SAMA, but the company has removed its website and social media accounts, suggesting that it has ceased operations in Saudi Arabia. The company has been active in the Middle East region, offering services in multiple languages, including Arabic, English, and Turkish. However, its unlicensed status and lack of regulatory oversight raised concerns among potential customers.
The Future of Cryptocurrency in Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia is a member of the G20 group of nations and a key player in the global financial market. As such, its stance on digital currency is crucial to shaping the future of cryptocurrencies. While the government has not banned digital currencies outright, it has been cautious in regulating their use and has emphasised the need for proper licencing and oversight.
The country’s first licensed digital currency exchange, Rain, was established in 2019 and has received regulatory approval from SAMA. The platform offers trading in multiple cryptocurrencies and is fully compliant with the regulator’s guidelines. Rain’s success is a positive sign for the growth of digital currency in Saudi Arabia, as it demonstrates the viability of licensed exchanges and encourages other companies to follow suit.
SAMA’s decision to fine Shark77 for illegally offering cryptocurrency services in Saudi Arabia sends a clear message to other unlicensed digital currency exchanges operating in the country. It reinforces the government’s commitment to regulating financial services and protecting customers from fraudulent activities. The incident also highlights the importance of licensed digital currency exchanges in promoting the growth of cryptocurrencies in Saudi Arabia. Overall, the Kingdom’s stance on digital currency is evolving, and licenced exchanges like Rain are paving the way for a brighter future for the industry in the country.