Cryptocurrency Legislation Landscape in Saudi Arabia: 2024 Overview

As of 2024, the legal and regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies in Saudi Arabia presents a complex and evolving scenario. The country’s stance on digital assets reflects a cautious approach, balancing emerging interest with regulatory oversight.

The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) has not recognized cryptocurrencies as legal tender, and while the government has not explicitly banned the use of cryptocurrencies, several warnings about the risks associated with them have been issued. The possession and trade of cryptocurrencies are neither illegal nor regulated. This lack of explicit regulation leaves a grey area in terms of legal status and risk management for those dealing with cryptocurrencies​​​​​​.

Despite the absence of specific laws or penalties related to cryptocurrency, activities involving digital currencies are not risk-free. The government has cautioned that those engaging in cryptocurrency transactions may be exposed to fraud and cybercrime. The lack of regulation means that individuals trading in cryptocurrencies do so at their own risk, and the government’s warnings underscore the potential for fraud and other associated risks​​​​.

Determining the most used cryptocurrencies in Saudi Arabia is challenging due to the lack of regulation and general warnings issued by the government. However, Bitcoin, being the most widely recognized cryptocurrency, likely sees the most use in the country, along with other popular cryptocurrencies like Ethereum, Litecoin, Dogecoin, Tether, Cardano, USDT, XRP, and Monero​​.

Cryptocurrency trading and gambling are not explicitly illegal in Saudi Arabia. However, the lack of recognition or regulation by the government implies that those engaging in these activities do so at their own risk. Additionally, it’s important to note that gambling of any kind is generally considered against Islamic law, which may impact the legality of cryptocurrency gambling in the country​​​​.

The growing popularity of digital assets in Saudi Arabia, particularly among younger, higher-income Saudis, indicates a rising interest in crypto investment. However, adoption remains lower than the global standard. This increased level of digital asset trading activity is creating a need for a clearer regulatory framework within the country. Saudi Arabia’s first non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace, Nuqtah, was launched in 2021, showcasing digitally tradeable art from Middle Eastern and North African artists. This development signals an emerging interest in the broader spectrum of digital assets​​​​.

In conclusion, while the Saudi government has not established a comprehensive legal framework for cryptocurrencies as of 2024, the evolving landscape of digital assets in the country, coupled with the government’s cautionary stance, suggests a potential for future regulatory developments. Individuals and businesses dealing with cryptocurrencies in Saudi Arabia should remain informed and cautious, considering the lack of specific legal protections and the inherent risks in this sector.

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