Why Qatar’s $500B Bitcoin investment is highly unlikely

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Bitcoin enthusiasts have suggested the Qatar Investment Authority is considering adding Bitcoin to its portfolio, but the odds of a multibillion-dollar purchase are low.

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Why Qatar’s $500B Bitcoin investment is highly unlikely

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Rumors of a massive Bitcoin (BTC) purchase from the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) are unlikely to materialize, a local financial executive told Cointelegraph. 

The speculation was spread by Bitcoin enthusiasts on X (formerly Twitter) over the past weeks, suggesting Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund could soon add $500 billion in BTC to its portfolio.

However, the probability of such capital flowing into the cryptocurrency is low, according to financial executive Shadi Qishta, as digital assets are not part of QIA’s strategy.

“I don’t think it will happen in one way or another any time soon since the QIA has a diverse investment strategy and speeding investments across various asset classes, sectors and geographies to mitigate risk and capture opportunities in different markets and industries.”

QIA is a sovereign wealth fund, meaning it’s a state-owned investment fund backed by the government. QIA’s investment strategy must be approved by its Board and the Supreme Council for Economic Affairs and Investment (SCEAI), meaning that any revision to its portfolio allocation would go through both bodies. 

The speculation is also contradicted by previous statements from QIA’s CEO, Mansoor bin Ebrahim Al-Mahmoud. “Our team in the technology space is exploring opportunities in the blockchain. This is the space that we’re interested in, not the currency itself,” he reportedly said during Qatar’s Economic Forum in 2022.

In addition, no word on cryptocurrencies was heard during Qatar Web Summit’s opening ceremony in February. “Nothing was explicitly mentioned about cryptocurrency investments,” noted Qishta, adding that Abu Dhabi has also announced $100 billion in technology innovation and artificial intelligence investments without including digital assets.

Qatar is among the world’s wealthiest nations, largely due to its vast natural gas and oil reserves. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) expects the country’s total economic output to grow by almost 2% annually until 2025.

The nation’s approach toward cryptocurrencies, however, remains restricted. According to Qishta, the local environment for digital assets is still characterized by cautious regulatory oversight and limited to public adoption, as crypto trading was banned in 2018.

“Despite the global popularity of cryptocurrencies, the adoption in Qatar is relatively low among the general public. Factors contributing to this include regulatory uncertainty, cultural norms, and a preference for traditional banking and investment methods, which are unlike what happened in Dubai,” said Qishta.

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