Bahrain will be home to more than 100 fintech firms by the end of the year, according to an expert.
Bahrain and UAE are in a race to become the region's leading fintech hub. According to a report by American online publication Stratfor, both these countries are in a race to portray themselves as the one-stop shop for cryptocurrencies.
The two regional financial hubs have issued licenses to crypto companies, developed crypto-friendly regulation and even invested in crypto startups.
A more comprehensive funding environment will not only support firms in Bahrain to expand their operations on a regional and international scale, but also support regional and international firms that are looking at expanding here"
Khalid Saad, chief executive of Bahrain fintech Bay (BFB), told the local news outlet GDN there were currently around 80 fintech firms operating in the country, but the number was increasing.
He predicted measures adopted by authorities would continue to attract more firms operating in the sector.
"A more comprehensive funding environment will not only support firms in Bahrain to expand their operations on a regional and international scale, but also support regional and international firms that are looking at expanding here," he said.
ZPX, a Singapore-based cryptocurrency firm, estimated that setting up a firm in Bahrain would cost around $200,000, whereas similar setup costs in London could reach $750,000.
In July, Bahrain-based cryptocurrency exchange Rain became the first fully regulated, onshore cryptocurrency exchange in the Middle East and North Africa - and had closed a $2.5m funding round.
UAE-based Souqalmal.com has become the first to get an e-broker licence in Bahrain and is set to shortly launch its online insurance comparison services.