Mastercard, BitOasis Roll Out Crypto-Linked Cards in the MENA Region

Payment giant Mastercard has inked a deal with Middle East-based cryptocurrency exchange BitOasis to establish a series of crypto card programs aimed at boosting daily cryptocurrency usage in the Middle East & North Africa (MENA) region, according to local media outlet Khaleej Times. 

Through the strategic partnership, BitOasis users will have the chance to easily pay and shop by converting their crypto holdings to fiat at more than 90 million worldwide merchant outlets. 


As a result, the cumbersome tag pegged on cashouts and crypto payments will be eliminated because BitOasis users will undertake transactions in fiat. Per the report:

“BitOasis customer transactions will be enabled to take place in Fiat currency, thereby adding consumer protection – such as provisions for dispute resolution and refunds – which doesn’t exist today when paying with a digital asset.”

Therefore, the partnership intends to address crypto pain points and enhance awareness and adoption in the MENA region. 


Amnah Ajmal, Mastercard’s Executive VP for Market Development, MEA, pointed out:

“Through our collaboration with BitOasis, one of the most innovative crypto platforms in MENA, we enable the consumer experience to be seamless by using their cryptocurrencies in a safe and secure environment.”

She added that changing consumer demand was necessitating the crypto payment route.


On her part, Ola Doudin deemed the collaboration as a new digital financial system era where transparency, inclusivity, relevance, and regulation would be incorporated on a daily basis.


The CEO and co-founder of BitOasis added:

“We continue to witness sustained demand amongst our customers for crypto to be integrated into, and relevant, for their daily lives. Research tells us that 47% of the Middle East population now believe crypto is the future of money.”

The first bunch of BitOasis cards will be released in early 2023 in line with regulatory approvals. 


Meanwhile, a paradigm shift is happening in the Middle East, especially the United Arab Emirates (UAE), because the region’s interests are changing from oil to crypto and metaverse, among other blockchain innovations, Blockchain.News reported. 

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MENA Region Emerges as The Fastest Growing Crypto Market: Chainalysis Report

US blockchain analysis firm Chainalysis released its latest report Wednesday, indicating that the region of the Middle East & North Africa (MENA) enjoys the fastest growing tendency in terms of cryptocurrency adoption despite it is viewed as one of the smaller crypto markets in the global adoption index.

According to the report, users in the MENA region obtained $566 billion in cryptocurrency from July 2021 to June 2022 – an increase of 48% from what they received the year before.

The report further identified MENA as the home to three of the top thirty countries in this year’s index: Turkey (12), Egypt (14), and Morocco (24). The research identified the key drivers of such adoption in these nations include savings preservation, remittance payments, and increasingly permissive crypto regulations.

In Turkey and Egypt, rapid fiat currency devaluations have strengthened the appeal of cryptocurrency for savings preservation among users. As of August, Turkish inflation hit 80.5%, while the Egyptian Pound weakened by 13.5%.

Between July 2021 and June 2022, the report showed that the crypto transaction volume in Egypt tripled compared to the previous year. Turkey remains the largest crypto market in the region, with its users receiving $192 billion during the same period, per the document.

The report further identified that Morocco’s inflation rates have reached a more manageable level of 5.3%. However, the North African country’s significant levels of crypto adoption appear to be tied to the government’s newly permissive crypto stance. In 2017, the central bank of Morocco declared penalties and fines for users found transacting cryptocurrencies within the country. But earlier this year, the central bank formed a partnership deal with the IMF and the World Bank to create crypto regulations that emphasize innovation and consumer protection.

The report further acknowledged that while the member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) – Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman – rarely make it to the top of the crypto adoption index, their role in the crypto ecosystem can never be underestimated.

The Chainalysis report identified Saudi Arabia as the third-largest crypto market in all of MENA, and UAE is the fifth. These Arab states have deep ties to the global crypto markets. For instance, Dubai has become a hub for crypto firms that serve customers all across Asia and Africa, not just in the Middle East.

According to the report, Afghanistan, one of the former MENA leaders in grassroots crypto adoption, is currently experiencing a major downturn. In Chainalysis’ 2021 crypto adoption index, Afghanistan was number 20 on the list. But since the Taliban’s takeover of the regime last August, the country has fallen to the bottom of this year’s list. Under the Taliban’s rule, cryptocurrency is equated to gambling and declared haram. And so far, several crypto dealers have been arrested in the country.

Last month, Chainalysis published a similar report showing that despite the global cryptocurrency adoption slowing down due to the impacts of the crypto winter, emerging nations continued dominating the adoption index this year as they did the year before.

Emerging markets have appeared to be on top in terms of adoption as they surpass high-income nations. According to the report, the top ten nations with the highest crypto adoption across the world are (1) Vietnam, (2) the Philippines, (3) Ukraine, (4) India, (5) the United States, (6) Pakistan, (7) Brazil, (8) Thailand, (9) Russia, and (10) China. As can be seen in the list, the US is the only representative of high-income countries within the index. China, Russia, and Brazil are upper-middle-income countries.

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Nestle Rolls Out First NFTs in the Middle East & North Africa for a Humanitarian Cause

Nestle, a Swiss multinational food and drink processing conglomerate, has launched an exclusive limited series of two non-fungible tokens (NFTs) called TRIX Globe for a charitable cause in the Middle East & North Africa (MENA).

To commemorate the rollout of the TRIX Breakfast Cereal brand in MENA, Nestle released the NFTs on, with bidding running from March 18 to May 13. The proceeds will go to charity. 

Emilien Mesquida, the Business Executive Officer Cereal Partners Worldwide, Middle East & North Africa, said:

“In line with our promise for ‘Better Lives’, we are proud to launch the first blockchain-based initiative in the region aimed towards a humanitarian cause with full proceeds of the TRIX NFTs auction going to the Emirates Red Crescent.”

With TRIX being a heritage breakfast cereal brand intended to ‘put the fun back into breakfast,’ Nestle wants to become more innovative by incorporating NFTs.

Bahaa Boulmona, the Brand Manager Cereal Partners Worldwide, Middle East & North Africa, noted:

“We are excited to announce that TRIX® is the first and only breakfast cereal brand in the world to have launched its own NFT series – showcasing how daring and adaptable our brands are.” 

Despite NFTs being relatively new in the crypto space, it continues to take the world by storm based on the substantial trading volume and adoption witnessed.

For instance, market insight provider IntoTheBlock recently pointed out that the total volume traded by NFTs recently surpassed 18 million ETH, with the aggregate value topping $54 billion. 

Furthermore, the NFT trading volume grew exponentially from the start of the year, rising by more than 220%.

Therefore, more brands are jumping on the NFT bandwagon, for instance, South Korean auto giant Hyundai Motor became the first automaker to offer community-based non-fungible tokens. 

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