Blockchain In Bahrain: Kingdom's Minister Asks Local Businesses To Explore DLT At Cybersecurity Conference

  • Dr. Abdulhussain Mirza, one of Bahrain's ministers, has called on local citizens and companies to explore the use cases for blockchain technology. 
  • Bahrain is one of the few oil-rich nations that has diversified its economy through tourism and fintech.
  • With only 10 to 15 years until Bahrain's oil reserves run out, Mirza wants the island nation to focus on further diversify its economy by taking advantage of innovative financial technology. 

The Kingdom of Bahrain, an Arabian constitutional monarchy in the Persian Gulf, is one of the few countries in the Middle East that has diversified its economy by using the financial resources generated from its massive oil reserves. Dr. Abdulhussain Mirza, the nation’s Minister of Electricity and Water Affairs, recently noted that blockchain technology is a “true mark of progress.”

Inauguration Of Cybersecurity Conference

Mirza recommended that local companies and organizations, which mainly include large financial institutions and tourism-related businesses, explore the various use cases for blockchain. The minister also said that distributed ledger technology (DLT) can be considered one of the most useful, or important, advancements in the last decade.

In order to take advantage of the potential benefits of DLT, Mirza called on local citizens, particularly Bahrain’s younger citizens, to start learning about how it is currently being applied to streamline business processes in various industries. Mirza’s positive comments about blockchain technology came during the inauguration of the SmartSec Cybersecurity and Blockchain Conference held on September 4th at the Four Seasons Hotel in Bahrain.

"True Mark Of Progress"

The main topics of discussion during the conference included cybersecurity issues and the “threats and opportunities from the development of blockchain technology”, according to local news outlet, the Times of Bahrain. Mirza remarked:

“Technologies such as blockchain take us a huge step forward in finding a secure way to facilitate transactions. Blockchain’s ability to protect user’s data is a true mark of progress, especially due to the fact that it can be applied in different companies from different industries including cyber security.”

Dr. Abdulhussain Mirza

He continued:

“This is the kind of initiative that we would like Bahraini companies to have so that innovation can arise amongst the great minds of this community. Cyber-security is an essential part of our lives because most of our daily lives involve the use of technology in one way or another.”

Dr. Abdulhussain Mirza

Mirza also stressed that the increasing threats of cyberattacks must be taken seriously as they’ve adversely affected over 60 countries, including Bahrain, in the past year. The minister further noted that the country’s central bank had recently warned local financial institutions regarding the “orchestrated attacks planned at ATMs around the world.”

Mirza added that information security is “very important” because most people use the internet for work and to connect, or interact, with friends or colleagues.

Those Banned From Facebook May Not Be Able to Use Its Cryptocurrency Libra

Facebook’s two days of congressional hearings on the social media giant’s cryptocurrency ambitions seemingly revealed that those who have been banned from Facebook may not have access to Libra.

During the congressional hearing Facebook had to answer some tough questions, and one of them came from Representative Sean Duffy, which asked the company’s cryptocurrency head, David Marcus, who’ll have access to Libra.

The Congressman initially asked Marcus who could use the cryptocurrency, to which Calibra’s CEO answered: “anyone that can open a Calibra account, that can go through KYC [know-your-customer checks] in countries where we can operate.”

Duffy then referenced two individuals banned from Facebook for violating its community guidelines, Louis Farrakhan and Milo Yiannopoulo, and asked whether they’ll be able to use the social media giant’s cryptocurrency.

Marcus ended up replying he doesn’t “know yet,” after seeing Duffy hold a $20 bill and ask hin who can use it. His point was that cash doesn’t discriminate, and that anyone who can hold it can use it.

While throughout the hearing Marcus tried to point out the company will follow appropriate regulations and comply with lawmakers, Duffy responded that a proper answer would be “as long as you abide by the law, you can use Libra.” The fact he didn’t get this answer, Duffy said, gave him “great pause.”

Speaking to The Daily Beast Elka Looks, a Facebook spokeswoman, clarified Marcus addressed the Congressman’s concerns later on in the hearing. She stated:

For Libra, anyone who is engaging in lawful activity will be able to transact on the network. Facebook will have no say. For Calibra, there is no policy in place yet, but we will share it when it is closer to being finalized.

The news outlet adds that Calibra, Facebook’s wallet to send, receive, and hold Libra, doesn’t yet have final terms of service or a privacy policy. All of this means that those who’ve been banned on Facebook may not have access to its cryptocurrency.

As CryptoGlobe covered, Congressman Warren Davidson implied during the hearings Facebook’s crypto is a ‘shitcoin’ as it doesn’t have some of the properties bitcoin has. The Congressman made it clear bitcoin has no central authority that can censor transactions or dilute its value, while Libra has the Libbra Association.