Crypto stats: Adoption in Saudi; Solana and more!

Welcome to another edition of the BitOasis Weekly Wrap that brings you the best crypto stories from the region and beyond. This week, we dive into some major crypto adoption happening in Saudi, and everywhere else…

Here’s why more people are using crypto in Saudi; Egypt 

There are a total of 453,000 Saudis who now own cryptocurrencies, making the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia the third largest nation in the Middle East in terms of crypto adoption. Egypt has the largest number of cryptocurrency owners with about 1.8 million Egyptians who own crypto, while Morocco has the second largest number of crypto holders in the Arab world with 878,000 owners. 

Clearly, there is a growing urgency to embrace digital innovation in the MENA region with more people recognizing the importance of blockchain and crypto assets. But certain recent events have already set the momentum:

  • Recent listing of The Bitcoin Fund that became the first crypto fund to be listed on Nasdaq Dubai, may have piqued people’s interest in crypto in the region. 
  • In the case of Saudi Arabia, the Kingdom is keen on making half of its energy production renewable by 2030, with oil giant Aramco transitioning to blockchain to increase sustainability. 

The Middle East is also home to a large number of expats who may find crypto as a better alternative to traditional remittances– another significant reason for this increase in crypto adoption in the region. As a matter of fact, a major source of traffic to BitOasis, the region’s largest crypto exchange, is UAE (66%), Saudi (10%), with India and Turkey among others.    

Numbers look good overall. Internet users globally, who say they own crypto, have increased from 11.2% in October to 15.5% in December. This could be a reason why there’s a high demand for crypto talent. According to LinkedIn, crypto job ads on its site surged by 400% in 2021 with an increase in crypto-related careers in industries other than tech and finance. 

PS: Bitcoiner jobs is a new resource that connects Bitcoiners with Bitcoin-only companies. 

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Solana takes center stage with these three upcoming projects

Solna has been marching to prominence for a while now and on its own path to build a scalable network, the network might rest on the success of these new DeFi protocols launching this month. 

  • Hubble Protocol, a fully DeFi stablecoin that fundraised $10 million is set to launch on Solana on January 28. Hubble will introduce new features in Solana’s ecosystem: People can mint Hubble’s USDH token against collateral like BTC, ETH and SOL at 0% interest. The protocol also enables people to earn yields on their deposits.  
  • Zeta Markets, a decentralized exchange (DEX) built on Solana aims to enable hedging, speculation, and futures options on a selection of market movements.  
  • 01 is another protocol that will launch on Solana this January 27. The dApp (decentralized application) confirms trades in seconds, while incurring sub-milli-cent transaction fees. 

It will be interesting to see how these new protocols will test Solana’s capability to handle network traffic. Solana’s scalability could inspire other blockchains to make their own transactions faster for less network fees.

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It’s official: China’s digital currency is a success  

China’s retail digital currency, digital yuan or e-CNY, saw roughly 87 billion yuan (roughly $13 billion) transactions by the end of 2021. The number of transactions has increased by 140% since China’s central bank published its last report in October. 

China’s central bank said that the number of personal digital yuan wallets has increased to 261 million since October last year. This is an 86% surge in yuan wallets in the same period. 

Chinese authorities conducted four digital yuan airdrops from October to December — two in Beijing, one in Qingdao, and one in Haikou. 

In September, China made headlines for banning all cryptocurrency transactions, but  crypto-related crimes are still high, showing that despite the ban, people are still making crypto transactions in China. Investigations are underway on crypto crime cases. About 48% of all judgments involved pyramid schemes, while 27% were fraud-related, with 11% on online gambling. USDT was the main crypto used to facilitate these crimes on Tron, Ethereum and the Bitcoin network. 

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