BitOasis Secures Investment to Make Bitcoin Mainstream
Bitcoin image via Shutterstock
BitOasis, the Dubai-based bitcoin exchange platform, has closed its first seed round, led by Wamda Capital, and secured an undisclosed investment it will use to strengthen its presence in MENA markets and develop its cross border payment integrations.
“Given we’re strategically based in Dubai, the hub for emerging markets, we see great potential in enabling future payment applications, specifically peer-to-peer payments and remittances, that we’re developing our API integrations and developer platform to support,” said Ola Doudin, cofounder and CEO of BitOasis.
The round was joined by the Digital Currency Group (DCG), serial tech entrepreneur Samih Toukan, Chairman of Jabbar Group, Payfort, and other tech angel investors based in New York and Dubai.
Opening the Bitcoin Market
The platform was founded in January 2015, becoming one of the first Arabic-focused Bitcoin platforms. The Fintech startup set out to build the infrastructure for new payment products using bitcoin virtual currency in the MENA. It is currently open for users in Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE. Its most active user bases are located in Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE
BitOasis is also a founding member of Dubai’s Global Blockchain Council (GBC), a private-public sector collaboration for accelerating blockchain technology. The GBC consists of 32 members including Smart Dubai Office, Dubai Smart Government, the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC), as well as international companies (Cisco, IBM, SAP, Microsoft) and other blockchain startups (Kraken, YellowPay).
BitOasis users start by creating an online wallet through which they can purchase bitcoins and store them safely until they need to spend their virtual money.
The wallet provides each user with a safe storage solution protected by Multisig, a system that requires three “signatures” to complete a transaction. Moreover, if BitOasis were to go offline or bankrupt, a recovery key gives users the possibility to unlock and retrieve their funds.
For now, only UAE users have the option to sell their bitcoins and/or withdraw payouts, but this will be available in other markets eventually.
Abundant Opportunities in MENA
“The Middle East represents one of the largest market opportunities for bitcoin and blockchain technology,” said Barry Silbert, founder and CEO of DCG. Fadi Ghandour, founder and CEO of Wamda Capital, added that Fintech ranks high in their investment strategy.
First, a large portion of the population in these countries is still unbanked, mostly due to insufficient awareness. In this environment, virtual currency could present an attractive alternative to mainstream financial services.
Second, emerging markets are generally the most dependent on remittances from expats. Bitcoin is actually a cheaper way for these expats to send money back home.
The integration tools make it easier to onboard customers and businesses, opening the way to a borderless and efficient digital payment system.
BitOasis charges users a 1% fee on each Bitcoin exchange. It also charges 0.0001 BTC per e-transaction and transfer.