Bahrain central bank publishes draft rules on digital assets

DUBAI, Dec 13 (Reuters) - Bahrain’s central bank has issued draft rules to regulate operators of crypto-assets, it said on Thursday, the latest sign of the kingdom’s drive to position itself as a regional fintech leader.

The central bank said it had issued for consultation draft rules for crypto-asset platform operators, providing regulations for the licencing and supervision of crypto-asset services.

Crypto-assets, including cryptocurrencies, are digital assets that use cryptography to secure financial transactions.

The rules also included measures to safeguard customer interests, technology standards and cyber security risk management, the central bank said.

Bahrain has identified fintech as a way to try to revive its credentials as a regional banking and business centre and has already launched a regulatory sandbox to allow firms to test and develop their products in a virtual space.

Elsewhere in the Gulf, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia have started developing fintech for cross-border settlements, including a digital currency project, the UAE’s central bank governor said on Wednesday. (Reporting by Tom Arnold Editing by Alexandra Hudson)