Bahrain-based cryptocurrency exchange Rain has become the Middle East's first exchange to receive a regulatory license.
Rain received a Crypto-Asset Module (CRA) license following a two-year regulatory sandbox process per a statement from the exchange. Both the first project and graduate under the Central Bank of Bahrain's (CBB) sandbox program, Rain is looking to fill a gap in the Middle East's digital asset market.
It is the first cryptocurrency exchange to earn a regulatory licence in the Middle East and joins an elite group of exchanges internationally, a statement said.
As the first licensed cryptocurrency exchange in the Middle East, Rain has an unprecedented opportunity to tap into the incredible potential that cryptocurrency trading will bring to the region"
The license came the same week Rain announced successful closure of a $2.5m funding round backed by partners including the VC arm of crypto derivatives giant BitMEX.
Arthur Hayes, BitMex co-founder and CEO, said: "As the first licensed cryptocurrency exchange in the Middle East, Rain has an unprecedented opportunity to tap into the incredible potential that cryptocurrency trading will bring to the region.
"We believe that Rain will bring greater diversification to Middle-Eastern traders with its exchange offering and experienced team, and we are thrilled to contribute to this defining moment."
Rain added that it has also added cryptocurrency heavyweights Jimmy Song, Mike Komarnsky, founder of Cumberland Mining, Aaron Lasher and Aaron Voisine, co-founders of BRD, formerly Breadwallet as investors.
The crypto exchange plans to expand its team to meet growing customer support and engineering needs, as well as invest in new technology.
Central banks continue to set the pace for fintech development in the Middle East with Iran recently looking to green-light crypto mining. In December, the National Bank of Kuwait partnered with Ripple for a remittance service, NBK Direct Remit, as a pilot program between Kuwait and Jordan.