Summary: No need to panic; everything is working, except for KWD deposits. Our story below.
Dear YallaBit Users,
It saddens me that we are sending out this message, but it's time to let everyone know what's happening. Here's our story.
As you may know, we've been operating YallaBit since 2017 as one of the leading cryptocurrency brokerage in Kuwait. Since then, we've been in-compliance in every way within the crypto space and have been doing proper KYC, AML/CFT, and Enhanced Due Diligence when necessary. We've been guided by leading exchanges on how to stay and remain compliant with various rules and regulations worldwide.
In our journey, sometime in the first quarter of 2019, we had applied to the Regulatory Sandbox Framework at the Central Bank of Kuwait to obtain a proper regulatory body and license within the State of Kuwait. Unfortunately, the reply we got was that we didn't meet the criteria.
Come today, a year and a half later, after our application to be in the Regulatory Sandbox Framework (almost three years since the start of our operations). We started to experience payment provider outages on the 2nd of September 2020. Every time we onboard a new payment provider, their service would last a week, and then we suffer from account closure. By the end of September, we had exhausted all our payment providers' options due to the closures.
The closure of each payment provider came from their respective bank, requiring us to have a "Cryptocurrency license" to continue our operation and that our "General Trading" license wasn't enough. Yet, there's no such license in the State of Kuwait. Not at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, not at the Capital Markets Authority, and not at the Central Bank of Kuwait.
As there is no license to cover Cryptocurrency activity explicitly, we're now left with the banks and Central bank not giving us a proper response on acquiring such a license to continue with our operations. We were advised to change our business model and get out of the crypto space if we wanted to continue "innovating".
What does all that mean? We're currently not able to accept any KWD deposits as we don't have a payment provider. You may continue to sell/buy with your current balance, withdraw/deposit Cryptocurrencies is still operational (you can continue to store your crypto with us). KWD withdrawals are still operational. If you have any KWD balance left in your YallaBit account and you do not intend to use it, please withdraw it to your bank account to be safe. As we may not be able to process KWD withdrawals, in the worst-case scenario that our bank decides to close our account.
For now, this is the full update regarding what's been happening in the last couple of weeks. We don't see a way around it without moving to a different country. We're still investigating and figuring out alternative options.
As a result, we had to downsize and let go of over half of our talented employees.
CEO of YallaBit