STRONG ENTREPRENEURIAL SCENE

Kuwait 2019 | FINANCE | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Anwaar AlMahmeed, Co-Founder of East Chain Co., on Finance sector.

Anwaar AlMahmeed
BIOGRAPHY
Anwaar AlMahmeed is the co-founder of the East Chain Co. Before founding the East Chain Co., she was product development manager at Boursa Kuwait during its initial privatization phase. She started her career in the Kuwait Investment Authority’s training program in 2011, in which she interned at State Street’s Financial Securities department and later joined the Hedge Fund Department at the KIA.

To what extent is blockchain technology being implemented in Kuwait, and how can it be utilized?

Kuwait is still learning more about blockchain, though we have witnessed significant interest from many government institutions and private companies, as well as individuals. Agility, NBK, and Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Science (KFAS) are among the businesses and organizations that have taken initiative with blockchain so far, and recently, the Central Bank of Kuwait (CBK) announced it is working on a digital currency that will be released in Kuwait in the next few years. This is great relative to our region, as we seem to be moving ahead of many of our neighbors. Nonetheless, the infrastructure layers are still being built, and we are not yet ready for the applications.

In what ways can blockchain spur the growing entrepreneurial sector and turn Kuwait into a regional hub for transformative technologies?

There are many ways blockchain can help entrepreneurs. However, since this technology is still being developed, it is difficult for entrepreneurs to utilize blockchain today for their regular activities. East Chain Co. invested in Republic, a crowdfunding platform for accredited as well as non-accredited investors in the US and around the world. Through a platform like Republic, one can invest in equities or tokens of start-ups. Kuwait has a strong entrepreneurial scene, and it needs support in funding, business development, and operations. Blockchain offers the solutions to this and revolutionizes the way we do business. Furthermore, it will transform Kuwait into a hub for entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs will have a new world of opportunities and a fresh, new canvas to paint their dreams on. Blockchain is expected to generate significantly more value than the USD10 trillion already generated by the internet in the last two decades. The internet was able to create this value through online communications; we cannot imagine how much value blockchain will unlock through adding digital assets to those online communications. The internet had to be built from the ground up; however, blockchain is built on the internet, allowing a quicker spread implementation.