According to a statement issued Sunday, the standing committee warned against trading in cryptocurrencies due to “negative consequences and high risks on traders as they are out of government supervision.”
It went on to clarify:
“The committee assured that virtual currency including, for example but not limited to, the Bitcoins are illegal in the kingdom and no parties or individuals are licensed for such practices.”
The statement does not indicate what the consequences might be for parties found to be trading in cryptocurrencies.
Brought into being by a supreme decree, the Standing Committee for Awareness on Dealing in Unauthorized Securities Activities in the Foreign Exchange Market was formed by five of the Middle Eastern country’s watchdogs, including the Capital Market Authority (CMA) and the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA), the country’s de facto central bank.
As well as its mandate over unauthorized securities, the committee also has the remit of notifying the relevant agencies of any virtual currency activities in order to reduce their exposure to the public.
The warning follows a critical remark by Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal in December 2017, in which he said bitcoin is ” just going to implode one day.”
The prince further compared the world’s largest cryptocurrency by market valuation to Enron, the U.S. energy company that collapsed in the early 2000s after revelations of massive accounting fraud.