In this week’s interview, we talk with Hadi Khatib, a business writer at AMEinfo. Founded in 1993, this is a news service focusing on business developments in the Middle East and North Africa. There are substantial centers of finance in the region, and cryptocurrency has made significant inroads into that industry and others. Read why Hadi thinks blockchain will soon transform the way we do business worldwide.
BitIRA: Describe your background and how you first found out about cryptocurrency. What makes you interested in this technology in general?
Hadi Khatib: I am a business writer, and as a journalist I come across a diverse range of topics while conducting research. I first saw the word blockchain on a computer screen 2 years ago. I didn’t get it on first read, and so I filed it away in the recesses of my mind. I had also heard about Bitcoin some 2 years earlier, and while I was intrigued, I was not smart enough to delve further into the implications of digital currency and how it one day will replace fiat.
What makes me interested in cryptos and blockchain in general is the single fact that these tech platforms will dominate the world as we know it. I have no doubt about that, especially blockchain. It just makes sense. The idea that blockchain will make every traditional business we look at today, from banks to insurance, telecom, and travel look like a relic is a fantastic concept quickly turning into reality.
BitIRA: What is the mission of AMEInfo? What is your approach when covering emerging business technologies such as blockchain?
Hadi: AMEinfo is a business portal covering the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) / GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) region. Its mission is to provide research-based content with unique angles based on reliable sources and insights.
Our approach covering emerging tech such as blockchain is the same we use for all articles, except that we try to focus more on startups in the field, to discover eureka moments, funding, business models, and sustainable strategies.
BitIRA: How is cryptocurrency adoption in the Middle East unique compared to other regions in the world? Also, what challenges do Bitcoin and other digital assets face in the region?
Hadi: We see early buds but good potential for the sector to blossom. We saw GOZO for the travel industry, aggregating travel points, and all award credits under one GOZO token which can be redeemed for travel, or used to trade for goods and/or services, or to stock on GOZOs, waiting for the tokens to appreciate in value. We saw Denarii Cash, using blockchain to transfer remittance money for the unbanked or underbanked but also to aggregate these users and offer them other digital solutions and services such as banking, insurance and others. A few ideas on real estate buying locally and globally using the blockchain are coming out in Dubai like Etherty, but we also see startups working on innovative property buying for as low as $1,000, or for residential and commercial renting solutions to compete with Airbnb or traditional businesses.
BitIRA: What do you foresee to be the future of cryptocurrency and blockchain?
Hadi: It’s the present. Who knows what the future will be like. AMEinfo once published a piece called: “End of things: Cash, exchanges, banks, governments, defunct soon”. I’m convinced that the boundaries between virtual and reality will be blurred, especially on the financial end of things. Financial crimes will be this present and future’s constant companion.