- Whampoa Group, based in Singapore, intends to open a digital bank in Bahrain.
- A broad spectrum of services, including trading in digital tokens, are among the goals of the bank.
- Bahrain’s central bank has granted in-principle approval to Whampoa Group.
Bloomberg reported that Singapore’s Whampoa Group plans to establish a digital bank in Bahrain. The bank will offer continuous payment and settlement services for digital asset companies. Bahrain EDB announced that Whampoa Group has chosen Bahrain as the HQ for its new digital bank.
The bank is set to launch by the end of 2023 and aims to provide secure financial solutions for institutions, innovators, and sophisticated investors worldwide, including digital banking services and asset management of digital assets. Its goal is to support the global adoption of digital assets.
Khalid Humaidan, the Chief Executive of the Bahrain Economic Development Board, expressed satisfaction with Whampoa Group’s decision to set up the HQ of their digital bank in Bahrain. Humaidan emphasised that Bahrain’s supportive environment for innovation and progressive regulatory framework would greatly benefit the group.
He also highlighted the alignment of this milestone opportunity with Bahrain’s Economic Recovery Plan, which prioritises digitization in the financial services sector. Additionally, Humaidan emphasised the importance of establishing such institutions to further enhance the existing digital assets industry in Bahrain.
The digital asset industry in Bahrain and the Middle East has witnessed significant recent developments. Bahrain, in particular, has been actively fostering a favourable environment for digital assets and blockchain technology. The country has implemented progressive regulations to support the growth of digital assets, attracting international players and investments. In line with this, Whampoa Group’s decision to establish their digital bank’s headquarters in Bahrain is a testament to the region’s growing prominence.
The Middle East, as a whole, has seen an increased interest in digital assets, with countries like the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia taking steps to explore the potential of blockchain and cryptocurrencies. Initiatives such as the Central Bank of the UAE’s introduction of a regulatory framework for crypto assets highlight the region’s commitment to embracing innovation and capitalising on the opportunities presented by the digital asset industry.
According to a government spokesperson for Bahrain, as reported by Bloomberg, the central bank has given Whampoa Group an initial approval for their digital bank venture. However, the spokesperson emphasised that this approval is provisional, and a complete licence will only be issued once all regulatory obligations are fulfilled.
According to the official statement by EDB Bahrain, the financial services sector in the country accounted for 17.5% of the GDP, making it the largest contributor to the economy, surpassing even the oil industry. The statement further highlighted that the long-term prospects for digital assets are promising, particularly due to the ongoing advancements in blockchain and Web 3.0 technologies, which are driving the next phase of Internet evolution.