Lebanon is in a deep economic crisis, and the country’s citizens are exploring alternatives to traditional banking that would free them from the strict restrictions imposed by their government. As the world’s largest and oldest cryptocurrency, Bitcoin is an obvious choice, but there are some hurdles to overcome if you would like to purchase it from Lebanon.
What Is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency created by an unknown person called Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008. Since then, its market capitalization has reached an all-time high of more than $1 trillion, which is roughly half the value of all cryptocurrencies combined.
The main aspect that separates Bitcoin from other similar projects is the technology behind it, called Blockchain. Bitcoin’s blockchain is basically a public distributed database of transactions, which are verified by network nodes through cryptography, ensuring their immutability. In other words, once a transaction is recorded, it can’t be retroactively changed.
The process of transaction verification is referred to as mining, and it requires a substantial amount of computing power. Those who participate in it are rewarded with newly created bitcoins and transaction fees. If you would like to understand how Bitcoin actually works under the hood, then we highly recommend you watch the video explanation by 3Blue1Brown.
As a user, you just need to know that Bitcoin is a convenient (albeit volatile) alternative to fiat currency, allowing you to quickly and securely send and receive payments across borders without having to go through any third party.
How To Buy Bitcoin In Lebanon?
Unfortunately, buying Bitcoin in Lebanon is not as easy as buying Bitcoin in most other countries. Due to the United States embargo over Lebanon and the banking restrictions imposed by Lebanese authorities, almost all reputable cryptocurrency exchanges refuse to serve Lebanese customers.
While you could technically create an account on exchanges like Coinbase, Kraken, or Gemini, features such as account verification and fund deposits (as well as crypto purchases) will not work even if you have an international credit card or bank account abroad.
Binance In Lebanon
One of the very few respected exchanges that does offer its services in Lebanon is called Binance.
Binance is an excellent option for buying Bitcoin as well as hundreds of altcoins (including the popular Dogecoin). Creating an account is fairly straightforward. Use your email or Lebanese phone number to sign up, fill in your basic information, and upload your Lebanese passport or ID card to complete the verification process. Once your account has been verified (this process may take a couple of hours), you’ll be able to make your first Bitcoin purchase. It’s important to mention that you will only be able to make purchases using a “fresh” dollar account credit/debit card.
If cryptocurrency exchanges aren’t your thing, there are at least three alternative options available, so let’s take a closer look at them.
As we’ve already explained, Bitcoin makes it possible for any two people to trade directly without the involvement of a centralized financial authority. This means that you can simply find someone in Lebanon who already has BTC and purchase some from the person in exchange for cash.
You can find local traders on peer-to-peer Bitcoin marketplaces like:
Alternatively, you can join a Bitcoin community such as @lbbtcm on Telegram and find someone willing to trade with you that way. Just make sure to verify the person’s trading reputation to avoid getting scammed.
If person-to-person trading seems a bit too daunting to you, then you should consider buying BTC from a retailer like Bitcoins Lebanon, BTCLeb, or CryptoLeb. Lebanese Bitcoin retailers typically accept payments in person or via Western Union, and they offer professional customer support to put your worries at ease during the buying process.
Mine Them Yourself
New BTC is issued as a reward to those who verify Bitcoin transactions by solving extremely complex computational math problems in a process called mining. To participate in Bitcoin mining, you actually don’t need any specialized equipment, but don’t expect to earn any significant amount of BTC unless your computer is extremely powerful — the competition these days is simply too steep.
While you can increase your profitability by investing in specialized mining hardware and joining a mining pool, which is basically just a large group of miners who evenly split their rewards, you may not be able to break even unless you have access to free or nearly free electricity.
Tips To Avoid Bitcoin Scams
Money attracts scammers — that’s how it’s always been. The cryptocurrency space is, unfortunately, full of them, so you really need to take some time to learn how to protect yourself. Here are five tips to help you avoid Bitcoin scams:
- Verify, verify, verify: You should never send money to anyone you don’t 100% trust. Remember that screenshots can be faked, email addresses spoofed, and security credentials stolen.
- Don’t put all your eggs in one basket: If this is your first time buying Bitcoin, we recommend you start small and avoid putting all your eggs in just one basket. That way, you won’t lose all your money even if you make a serious mistake and fall for a scam.
- Use two-factor authentication: When trading BTC online, always enable two-factor authentication whenever possible. 2FA is the most effective protection against password-based attacks.
- Never let anyone remotely use your computer: Even if you really could use IT support, we strongly urge you to not let anyone remotely access your computer unless you know the person and fully trust them.
- Buy a hardware wallet: A hardware wallet is a special device that resembles a USB thumb drive. It lets you store your Bitcoin private keys in a secure manner, protecting them against malware and hackers.
Unfortunately, people who live in Lebanon don’t have the same options when it comes to buying Bitcoin as people living in most other countries. But having fewer options to choose from is still better than having no options at all. Peer-to-peer trading, for example, is easy to get into, making it a great choice for those who would like to bet on Bitcoin’s steadily growing (at least in the long-term) price.
If you found this guide helpful, you’ll definitely want to check out our beginner’s guide on how to make money with NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens).
How To Start An Online Business In Dubai (2021 Guide)
From choosing a business name, to applying for your visa, this guide takes you through everything you need to know about starting an online business in Dubai.
There has never been a better time to start an online business in Dubai than now.
Experts anticipate retail e-commerce sales to reach a new high by 2022, growing from $4.28 trillion in 2020 to $5.4 trillion. This massive growth is fueled by the always improving availability of electronic devices, new generations of mobile network technology, and more accessible online payment methods, just to name a few factors.
When choosing the best place to start an online business, Dubai should be high on your list. Not only does the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have the most advanced e-commerce market in the whole MENA region, but businesses that decide to incorporate in Dubai can look forward to many benefits, such as:
- Minimal bureaucracy
- 0% tax rate
- 100% business ownership
- Low operating expenses
- No import/export duties
Best of all, starting an online business in Dubai is much easier than you might think, and we explain everything you need to know in this article.
Starting An Online Business In Dubai In A Few Simple Steps
The process of starting an online business in Dubai is deliberately straightforward to attract as much business activity as possible. Essentially, it involves filing an application for an e-commerce license, which then allows your online business to operate and sell products or services specified in the license.
Before you go ahead and file your online business application, there are some decisions that you need to make.
1- Choose Your Jurisdiction
The UAE consists of two main economic zones, or jurisdictions:
- Mainland: Businesses incorporated in the UAE mainland are free to operate anywhere in the UAE market, meaning they can do business both inside and outside the UAE. They can also take on government contracts.
- Free Zone: On the other hand, businesses incorporated in the UAE free zone are now allowed to conduct their operation in non-free zone without the support of a local agent. However, such businesses get to enjoy a special tax, customs, and imports regime.
2- Pick A Name For Your Company
If you haven’t done so already, now is the right time to pick a name for your online business. While this may seem like an easy decision, you need to keep in mind that the UAE has strict naming conventions, and you definitely want to avoid names that include:
- Offensive language
- References to Allah
- Sectarian or political groups
- Initials and abbreviations
- Politically charged terms
If you’re having trouble picking a suitable name for your online business, then you may want to consider hiring a consulting firm with a deep understanding of the UAE, its culture, and customs.
3- Prepare Your Business License Application
You can now submit your business license application. The application process will take far less time if you have all basic documentation in order, including:
- Properly filled out application form
- Passport copy of the proposed owner or owners
- Two-color passport photos
Again, any inaccuracies in the application form can lead to unnecessary delays and complications, so we highly recommend you double-check everything before you submit your business license application. If everything goes right, your application should be approved in a week or so.
You can, of course, let a company formation expert take care of this step for you, but you need to be ready to pay a rather steep fee for the service.
4- Apply For Your Visa
Although your online business may not need physical premises like a brick-and-mortar store, you are required to have a legal address. In order to move to a Dubai-based office, you and your employees will need a valid visa.
All entrepreneurs who have set up a business of their own at some point in the past can apply for a business visa, which is part of the Golden Visa system under which foreigners can obtain a long-term visa for themselves and their dependents.
5- Open A Bank Account In Dubai
As a Dubai-based online business, you need a local bank account. The good news is that non-residents don’t have to jump through too many hoops to open a bank account in Dubai. As long as you have a password, your UAE identification card, a copy of your visa, and your business license, you should be good to go.
The largest banks in Dubai include:
- Emirates NBD
- National Bank of Abu Dhabi
- Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank
- First Gulf Bank
- Dubai Islamic Bank
While some banks cater specifically to online businesses, other banks are less accommodating, so make sure to do your research so that you get the best service possible.
Top 3 Online Business Ideas To Start In Dubai
If you’re reading this article because you’re just thinking about starting an online business in Dubai, then we have a few business ideas for you to consider:
- Online Store: E-commerce has been booming in the UAE for years, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated its already rapid growth. If you have a product that people will want to purchase, then there’s nothing easier than setting up an online store and making it available to the entire world.
- Online Teaching: Traditional learning, which can be defined as teacher-centered delivery of instruction to classes of students, doesn’t reflect our rapidly changing world. If you have any skill that’s in demand, you should consider starting an online teaching business or publishing video courses on the internet.
- App Development: The number of smartphone users worldwide is expected to reach 3 billion by 2023, so there’s a huge opportunity to start an app development online business and publish mobile apps on major app marketplaces, such as the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store.
Regardless of which business opportunity you decide to pursue, we hope the information provided in this article will help you achieve your business goals and grab your share of the e-commerce market.
Bonus: If you do happen to make it to Dubai, consider getting yourself a Nol card. This card gives you simple access to all public transportation options available in the city.
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