Bitcoin discourse has been swept by a fresh conspiracy-meme that posits Saudi Arabian investors are ready to bid billions on the top cryptocurrency, saving us all from the ongoing bear market.
Such a move would diversify the Kingdom’s reserves away from oil into ‘digital gold,’ securing its financial future in a world that hopes to one day shed its fossil fuel dependency — or so goes the theory.
But if a recent report from cryptocurrency exchange KuCoin is anything to go by, it’s mostly unfounded.
Based on a commissioned survey, KuCoin found the estimated total number of Saudi crypto investors has remained relatively stable all year, at around 3 million. But their sentiment is shifting negative, the exchange found.
The report states: “In the first quarter, around half (49%) of crypto investors intended to increase investment in crypto over the coming six months, followed by the bearish market when we saw the intention slightly drop in the second quarter of 2022, as more investors changed their strategies.”
KuCoin highlighted crypto adoption in Saudi Arabia is lower than the global average, and comes in third across the Arab world in terms of raw investor numbers. Growth in the number of registered KuCoin users from Saudi Arabia did however lead the other GCC countries throughout 2021.
If you haven't been living under a rock for the last week, @TheSaudisNFT is the hottest collection in town, #2 volume on @opensea just under @cryptopunksnfts #MAXBIDDING pic.twitter.com/hxPx3vxO2K— Rotem Yakir 🍊 (@yakirrotem) July 9, 2022
A majority (63%) of Saudi crypto investors are men, according to the survey, and persons below 30 years of age make up at least one third of all investors, with that figure rising to 37% throughout this year’s second quarter.
The report noted that the high proportion of fresh investors across Saudi Arabia is unique to their profile.
“Roughly three-quarters (76%) of crypto investors have less than one year of experience in crypto investment, including half (49%) of investors who first started trading crypto in the past six months, suggesting strong demand for crypto education in the market,” KuCoin wrote.
Saudi investors adopt trading bots to beat bear market
Saudi Arabians are generally investing in cryptocurrency for the long-term, the report found. 51% of surveyed digital asset holders are in crypto as they believe it’s the future of finance, while 44% reckon crypto can reap higher returns than other types of financial investments.
Although, KuCoin relayed that in this year’s second quarter, 42% of crypto investors adopted auto-trading strategies — such as trading bots — to see them through the bear market, a 7% rise from Q1.
Cryptocurrency exists in a legal gray area across the country, with local banks banned from handling transactions related to digital assets since 2018. And while there are no legal dangers for trading cryptocurrency, Saudi-based investors often pay close attention to what types of investments are approved under Islamic law (halal).
According to KuCoin’s report, which was based on just 539 survey respondents, almost half of Saudi crypto investors buy crypto with fiat and spot trade every month, as it’s the only form of crypto trading considered halal by some scholars in the Arab world.
Staking, futures trading and margin trading — involve interest and even gambling — are less popular.
As for what investors plan to do with their potential gains, 42% said they plan to improve their families’ living conditions, with other goals including buying a new house, saving for retirement or emergencies and other creature comforts like traveling and shopping.