According to Egyptian businessman M. Shafik Gabr, chairman of the ARTOC Group for Investment & Development, some Middle Eastern nations are already exploring the possibility of settling oil contracts in bitcoin. But he declined to specify which, and most of the leaders gathered in Davos for the annual conference that wrapped up Friday are adamant they see bitcoin’s post-sovereign nature as anathema.
Fellow Egyptian investor Ahmed Heikal, CEO of Qalaa Holdings, said he’s not bullish on bitcoin because it “doesn’t have the legal framework” for such wholesale deals. If nations or energy enterprises are to use bitcoin, he argued, it won’t be for at least another decade.
Delegates from Oman to the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia all expressed similarly dismissive views about bitcoin as an asset, often referring to it as a gambling conduit. But when asked if it could still be used to settle oil contracts – especially considering the United States’ aggressive economic pressure on energy exporters Iran and Iraq – one Omani politician, who did not want to be identified, teased, “It depends on who’s asking.”