First Bitcoin Exchange Launching in Egypt

A cryptocurrency startup called Bitcoin Egypt is launching the first bitcoin exchange in the country this month. News.Bitcoin.com talked to co-founder Rami Khalil to find out more about the exchange as well as the bitcoin scene in Egypt.

Also read: Hedge Funds Investing in Cryptocurrencies ‘Exploding’ – 62 in Pipeline

Bitcoin Exchange Launching in Egypt

Founded by Rami Khalil and Omar Abdelrasoul, Bitcoin Egypt plans to launch a bitcoin exchange this month. “The tentative launch date is the 31st of August. We will definitely at least go into alpha testing at that time if we are not fully operational,” Khalil told news.Bitcoin.com.

First Bitcoin Exchange Launching in EgyptHe claims that it will be the first in the country. “There were no prior (registered) exchanges before,” he detailed, citing “everything operates peer-to-peer and under the radar now. It’s currently a ‘black’ market in Egypt.”

At launch, the exchange will only support trading between the Egyptian pound and bitcoin. “The fees will be a fraction of the transaction size (<0.25%),” Khalil said. The company plans to add support for ether, other altcoins, as well as other fiat currencies in the near future, followed by a payment service next year.

Only “rudimentary contact information (full name, ID numbers, address, etc..)” will be collected by the exchange, he detailed, adding that “since bitcoin is technically a commodity in Egypt, we’re not bound to any formal KYC/AML regulations.” Moreover, he said “we will only be doing it to deter potential money launderers from abusing anonymity on our exchange, and to of course be roughly prepared for any future regulations set by the Egyptian government.”

The bitcoin ecosystem in Egypt is currently small with only a handful of traders listed on Localbitcoins. However, Khalil said “there are a few hundred people actively using and trading bitcoin on a daily basis in Egypt on online forums.” As for merchant adoption, he said it is “virtually non-existent,” noting that “people generally assume it’s taboo. We’re of course looking to change that outlook, and improve adoption.”

Authorities’ Warnings

Last week, Chairman of the Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority (EFSA) Sherif Samy reiterated that digital currencies such as bitcoin and ether are not authorized or supervised by the authorities, according to local publications. With the absence of legal and loss protection, any dealings with them carry significant risks, the chairman noted.

First Bitcoin Exchange Launching in EgyptIn June, there were reports that suggested that the central bank was considering allowing the circulation and trading of digital currencies, which the bank’s deputy governor Lobna Helal promptly denied.

“The central bank rejected this currency because the state can control the local and foreign traditional currencies, and can impose certain fees on their movement and transfer to and from Egypt,” banker and economist at Zagazig University Ashraf Ibrahim told Al-Monitor. With state-controlled currencies, “the central bank can tax the investment and trade activities generated by those funds, but cannot do the same with bitcoin,” he asserted.

No Digital Currency Laws Currently

Khalil told news.Bitcoin.com that “from personal contacts, the Ministry of Finance fully understands what bitcoin is, and only has problems with its potential for money laundering,” adding that:

Formally, there are zero laws or regulations in place about digital assets/cryptocurrency. We’re hoping to help shape their views and provide any assistance where needed.

He then noted that “the local banks have been very firm in asserting that they have no plans to start providing bitcoin services themselves and that they will never consider it a currency, but so far no one has turned us away from opening a bank account in our company’s (very explicit) name.”

Do you think bitcoin can take off in Egypt? Let us know in the comments section below.


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  • Omotade Mishael

    Good read…but having a good KYC in place is not just to make the government happy. It serves as customer protection too, especially if you want to run a peer-peer system.

    • Tarek ElSherif

      I dont think BTC E Customers would agree with you after the FBI took all there money

      • Omotade Mishael

        Well…i said ‘not just to make the govt happy’. I didn’t say ‘not to make the govt happy’. I know the govt is a major factor influencing having KYC in place.

  • Tybello

    Definitely just like Asia and many other nations across the globe, Bitcoin can take place in Egypt as well as many Africa country.

  • Dr. Bubó

    It is very interesting that gold price is rising with the tension between NK and the rest of the world, but bitcoin stays behind. Interesting.

  • Tarek ElSherif

    Im a brit expat in Egypt, These guys are asking for trouble, The GOV here will shut them down very quick, They are known to arrest any bitcoin like activity and throw people in jail claiming black market drug dealers, also they regularly shut down regular exchanges without real reason, this will not last,

    if it would I would have already launched the exchange myself but I do appreciate my freedom, Good luck to you both if your reading this, very risky

    • Dr. Bubó

      Why don’t they operate their exchange from abroad?

      • Tarek ElSherif

        Oh no! now you gone and shared my secret to success!!!! lol

        Still I thought of this type of business and your idea in terms on Egypt long ago, and trust me its not worth the trouble, Even a mining farm run from solar pannels, not worth the trouble you will get from the GOV! Not got anything against the GOV here (love u sisi) But even talking to my brother in law who is Egyptian and a banker, He agrees that this will be shut down very quick or that it could possible be the GOV themselfs rounding up information on bitcoin users in Egypt… Yes, its that taboo here.

    • smd

      All is correct but they can’t stay behind with a huge population to feed while behemoths like China, Japan, India make bitcoin another reserve currency.

  • Gary Sachs

    Hopefully it will take off and become very popular in Egypt! It is so much fun to trade bitcoins! Is the exchange trading BTC or BCC? Hopefully we will be trading BTC and / or BCC from Cape to Cairo!

    • Omotade Mishael

      You are about to get them

  • Joe

    Bitcoin will replace all fiat currencies, period. These guys are on the leading edge, with great risk comes great reward. Good luck!

  • sherifX

    Good luck guys. I hope the gov doesn’t give you any trouble.
    I am an Egyptian, living in EG. I have some BTC but couldn’t move them because I don’t really tarvel abroad. I’d love to see a trustworthy source for trading BTC in Egypt.

  • parul sood

    CAN ANY PLEASE HELP ME PROVIDE MORE INFO ABOUT BITCOIN EGYPT

  • riyahd orabi

    very nice to com up in Egypt

  • Nadeem

    Even if this does take off… what would the company do with all the EGP it plans to collect? Sit on a devaluing currency ? not like they’ll be able to change it to USD