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.

Facebook and Amazon Stock Hit New Highs as Stock Market Outperforms Economy

The price of Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) and Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) stock hit a new all-time high amid the coronavirus pandemic, as the stock market has been outperforming the economy.

According to available data, Facebook stock is now trading above $230 marking a new all-time high for the social media giant. Its positive performance comes shortly after it launched Facebook Shops, a platform that makes it easier for small businesses to sell to its billions of users amid the coronavirus crisis.

Speaking to CNBC Todd Gordon, managing director at Ascent Wealth Partners, said FB stock has been having a “very impressive” performance, noting that Facebook’s move up is “pretty spectacular.”

FB stock chartSource: Google

Facebook Shops gives the social media giant a new source of revenue, at a time in which advertisers are spending less because of the crisis. It comes as the deadline to launch the Libra cryptocurrency project approaches.

Amazon has been managing to outperform Facebook, however, as the e-commerce giant recently hit a new all-time high close to the $2,500 mark. AMZN stock dipped shortly after hitting it but has since recovered, and ahead of the opening bell is at $2,451.

The e-commerce giant’s performance comes after it reported gains in the first quarter of the year amid the coronavirus outbreak, as demand went up. It further announced it will be using all of its second-quarter earnings, of around $4 billion, in response to the crisis.

Amazon Stock price chartSource: Google

Stock Market Outperforms Economy

Other blue-chip stocks have been performing rather well, despite the toll the pandemic has taken on the global economy. According to Yahoo Finance, data from April included dismal jobs numbers and poor retail numbers, which led economists to lower their economic growth forecasts.

This month Goldman Sachs cut its GDP forecasts and warned the unemployment rate in the United States will reach 25%, while Credit Suisse economists warned a “longer growth slump will outlast fiscal relief.”

Economists from Bank of America said that the recession will be “unlike anything we have seen in modern history,” after claiming GDP in the second quarter of the year would fall at a 40% rate. Large firms in the S&P 500 index have, however, posted better results than expected.

Credit Suisse’s Jonathan Golub was quoted as saying:

  • Although aggregate earnings are beating estimates by +2.6%, ex-Financials, earnings are surpassing expectations by +7.1%, with 65% of companies exceeding their lowered projections.

These better than-expected-results help, according to some analysts, explain the rise in the stock markets.

Featured image by Markus Spiske on Unsplash