Arab-developed Bitcoin trading bot set to revolutionize the way people invest – Arab News

LONDON: A fully-automated, algorithmic, Bitcoin-trading bot that was developed in Jordan aims to revolutionize the way people generate wealth from cryptocurrency, according to its creator.
AYMBot was designed to tackle the main issues and challenges associated with Bitcoin and cryptocurrency trading, including volatility and accessibility, CEO Ahmad Alsharqatli told Arab News.
“The problem with crypto, that people don’t realize, is that crypto assets, blockchain, this industry is still in its infancy; it’s only 12 years old,” he said.
Bitcoin has become the best-performing asset class of the decade but is hard to get into, it trades 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, and is extremely volatile.
“It’s just another day in crypto if Bitcoin, for example, loses 70 percent of its value,” Alsharqatli said. There is a common wisdom in the investment industry, he added, that 90 percent of traditional traders will lose 90 percent of their funds in the first 90 days of trading, and this figure “is even worse in crypto because of the volatility.”
Other issues that crypto investors face include how to get started in trading and convert traditional currencies into crypto, he added. AYMBot offers a “turnkey solution” and is leading the market with its onboarding process, according to Alsharqatli, who was ranked by online magazine Entrepreneurs Herald in its 2022 list of the Top 5 Personalities Disrupting the Finance Industry.
“In line with our vision to democratize data-driven trading for everyone, the minimum (investment) is $500, which we believe is accessible to most people, especially in the region we target right now,” which is the Middle East and North Africa and the Gulf Cooperation Council nations, he added.
AYMBot’s AI-powered solution aims to bridge the gap between traditional (or legacy) finance, crypto-assets and blockchain-enabled applications, allowing anyone to access the potential for Bitcoin returns while limiting the risk of systematic losses.
Alsharqatli began developing his algorithm in 2017 to help him trade with his own funds because of the issues with cryptocurrency he found himself facing. He worked with local and international developers but to no avail until, in January 2020, he began collaborating with Naje Isleem, who is now his chief technology officer. Exactly a year later, their algorithm was up and running.
Alsharqatli asked people in his social network to help with beta testing and received a positive response, with around 250 people eager to take part.
“It turned out that it solved a problem for the masses with cryptocurrency (and) we thought to ourselves, why don’t we sell it as a service?”
AYMBot started off with three clients in June last year and by October 1,000 had signed up. It currently has about 3,000 clients and 12 people work on it full time. It manages about $15 million of assets and generates more than $50 million in monthly trading volume.
November 2021 saw the largest monthly user increase, and it also attracted institutional interest from some of the top regional investment banks and family offices, Alsharqatli said.
AYMBot, which is non-custodial with no lock-up periods, has partnered with Dubai International Financial Center — the leading financial hub for the Middle East, Africa and South Asia — and Binance, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world.
It takes five minutes to set up an account and within 15 minutes the algorithm gets to work: It calculates when to buy, when to sell, how much to risk, and whether the risk is worth taking. In this way it is able to generate passive income for clients over time, whether the price of Bitcoin is going up or down.
A post shared by AYM (@aym_holdings)
Last month, AYMBot announced it has begun to introduce “short selling” or “shorting” to the bot, which is when investors borrow, in this instance Bitcoin, and sell it on the open market to then purchase it later at a lower price.
Crypto markets, which have grown approximately tenfold since 2020 and are now worth about $2 trillion, still remain small compared with traditional financial markets. Nevertheless, they continue to grow rapidly, often quicker than laws and regulations can be developed and imposed on them.
Novice crypto investor Barakat Al-Nahar said that after he was introduced to AYMBot he decided it would be a safer option for crypto trading rather than trying to figure it all out on his own.
“After seeing that I’m not the best person to trade and invest based on my own knowledge, especially given the volatility of the market, I wanted someone who would have a much more experienced background and who is more invested in trading crypto,” he said.
“AYMBot offered me that service of buying and selling Bitcoin without me having to interfere or be active.”
Al-Nahar, who is training to be a lawyer at the Jordanian bar, admitted he has only basic knowledge of the ins and outs of cryptocurrency trading, after becoming interested in Bitcoin a few years ago. Before that he dabbled in stocks, commodities and the foreign-exchange market but said he did not have the best of experiences.
“My trading wasn’t based on calculations, it was more of a “FOMO” (fear of missing out) or trying to ride the next wave,” he added. “And that’s not the way to go when you’re trading. Trading should be a lot more consistent and calculated and not controlled by emotions.”
He began trading using AYMBot in August and said that taking into consideration the fact that Bitcoin has been stagnating for almost a year, he has not incurred the losses he probably would have if he was making his own trading decisions.
“You can’t expect profits if Bitcoin itself isn’t profiting but I’ve seen more positive signs and results since they’ve affected short trading,” Al-Nahar said.
RIYADH: Oil prices rose nearly 1.5 percent on Friday, posting a second straight weekly increase as impending EU sanctions on Russian oil raised the prospect of tighter supply and had traders shrugging off worries about global economic growth.
Brent futures rose $1.49, or 1.3 percent, to settle at $112.39 per barrel. US West Texas Intermediate crude climbed $1.51, or 1.4 percent, to end at $109.77 a barrel.
US drillers add oil and gas rigs for the seventh week in a row — Baker Hughes
US energy firms last week added oil and natural gas rigs for a seventh week in a row amid high prices and prodding by the government, although most shale producers were prioritizing shareholder returns over new spending on production.
The oil and gas rig count, an early indicator of future output, rose by seven to 705 in the week to May 6, its highest since March 2020, energy services firm Baker Hughes Co. said in its closely followed report on Friday.
Baker Hughes said that puts the total rig count up 257, or 57 percent, over this time last year.
US oil rigs rose by five to 557 this week, their highest since April 2020, while gas rigs gained two to 146, their highest since September 2019.
Since Moscow invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, the US government has urged drillers to produce more oil and gas to reduce domestic prices and help allies break their dependence on Russian energy.
Even though the rig count has climbed for a record 21 months in a row through April, weekly increases have mostly been in single digits and oil production is still far below pre-pandemic record levels.
US crude production, which hit a record 12.3 million barrels per day in 2019, was set to rise from 11.2 million bpd in 2021 to 12.0 million bpd in 2022 and 13.0 million bpd in 2023, according to federal energy data. 
Top US shale producers this week reported blockbuster first-quarter profits and most poured cash into higher dividends and share buybacks as oil prices churned along at the highest levels in years.
But with oil prices up about 47 percent so far this year to about $110 a barrel, after soaring 55 percent in 2021, a growing number of energy firms said they plan to raise capital spending for the second year in a row in 2022.
US financial services firm Cowen & Co. said the independent exploration and production companies it tracks plan to boost spending by about 29 percent in 2022 versus 2021 after increasing spending by about 4 percent in 2021 versus 2020.
That follows a drop in capital expenditures of roughly 48 percent in 2020 and 12 percent in 2019.
US investment bank Piper Sandler forecast the US total rig count would rise to an average of 684 in 2022 and 783 in 2023. That compares with an average of 478 in 2021, according to Baker Hughes.
The annual average rig count peaked at 1,919 in 2012 and hit a record low of 433 in 2020, according to Baker Hughes data going back to 1988.
EU tweaks Russia oil sanctions plan: sources
The EU proposed changes to its planned embargo on Russian oil to give Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic more time to shift their energy supplies, EU sources said, although failed to reach a breakthrough on May 6.
The EU executive set out the embargo this week as part of its toughest-yet package of sanctions against Russia over the conflict in Ukraine. But Hungary and other EU member states said they were worried about the impact on their own economies. 
The tweaked proposal — which EU envoys discussed on May 6 morning without reaching an agreement — would give the three countries help to upgrade their refineries to process oil from elsewhere and delay their exit from Russian oil to 2024, the sources said.
The initial proposal called for an end to EU imports of Russian crude and oil products by the end of this year.
There would also be a three-month transition before banning EU shipping services from transporting Russian oil, instead of the initial one month — to address concerns raised by Greece, Malta and Cyprus about their shipping companies, one of the sources added. 
Diplomats said talks were complex but many expressed confidence all 27 EU governments could agree before next week.
One said the Commission was in talks on Friday afternoon to find a compromise with Budapest and possibly Bratislava.
“I don’t think we’ll see a breakthrough today, more likely at the weekend,” the diplomat said.
Under the original proposal, most EU countries had to stop buying Russian crude oil six months after the adoption of the measures, and halt imports of refined oil products from Russia by the end of the year. Hungary and Slovakia were initially given until the end of 2023 to adapt.
Under the changes, Hungary and Slovakia would be able to buy Russian oil from pipelines until the end of 2024, and the Czech Republic could continue until June 2024, if it does not get oil via a pipeline from southern Europe earlier, the sources said.
Bulgaria had also asked for exemptions, if others obtained them, but was not offered concessions on deadlines, “because they don’t have a real point,” one official said. The other three countries that were granted more leeway “have an objective problem,” the official added.
One of the sources said the extended deadlines were calculated on the likely construction times for pipeline upgrades. The official said Hungary and Slovakia accounted for only 6 percent of the EU’s oil imports from Russia, and the exemptions would not change the impact of the ban on the Russian economy.
Top EU diplomat Josep Borrell said on Friday he would call an extraordinary meeting of EU foreign affairs ministers next week if no deal was reached by the weekend. 
Ukraine calls for complete Russian embargo
Meanwhile, Ukrainian Finance Minister Serhiy Marchenko called on May 6 for a complete international embargo on Russian oil and gas over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
Marchenko told an online briefing that Ukraine was struggling to balance its budget after 10 weeks of war and said that, as finance minister, he could not be satisfied with the speed at which financial assistance was arriving from abroad.
Referring to what he called the “insufficiency of the sanctions that have been introduced,” he said the high price of oil and natural gas meant Moscow had a budget surplus and “they feel quite comfortable.”
“The main issue is a complete embargo on the purchase of gas and oil from the Russian Federation. This is something that needs to be worked on and that the Ukrainian authorities are actively working on,” he said. “This will make it possible to remove the possibility of financing the war.”
(With inputs from Reuters)
RIYADH: Chicago corn and soybean futures slid on Friday as rising interest rates and currency pressures weighed on US exports and forecasts of warm, dry weather opened a window for Midwestern farmers to get their crops planted.
Meanwhile, Chicago wheat futures rose on technical buying and tight world supplies.

The most-active wheat contract on the Chicago Board of Trade settled the day up 2 cents, at $11.08-1/2 a bushel, and posted a weekly gain of 4.99 percent.

Soybeans and corn ended the week lower and extended weekly losses.

The CBOT’s most active soybean contract slid 25 cents to $16.22 a bushel, while the most-active CBOT corn settled down 12-3/4 cents at $7.84-3/4 a bushel.
Gold prices steady
Gold prices were on track for a third straight weekly decline on Friday as investors fretted over the prospects of aggressive rate hikes from the US Federal Reserve, though a slight pullback in the dollar helped the precious metal to tick higher on Friday. 
Spot gold rose 0.3 percent to $1,88.80 per ounce but was down 0.7 percent for the week. US gold futures were up 0.4 percent at $1,883.81.
Silver fell 0.08 percent to $22.37 per ounce, while platinum is priced at $962.24. 
Palladium is currently priced at $2,051.92. 
Malaysia aims to regain palm oil market share in EU amid global shortage
Malaysia, the world’s second-largest palm oil producer, on Friday said it plans to leverage the global edible oil shortage and “political tension in Europe” to regain market share after buyers shunned the commodity over environmental concerns.
Palm oil is used to make everything from lipstick to noodles, but top producers Indonesia and Malaysia have faced boycotts after being accused of clearing rainforests and exploiting migrant workers for the rapid expansion of plantations.
Some companies have introduced “palm oil-free products” in recent years, and the EU, the world’s third-biggest palm buyer, has ruled to phase out palm oil-based biofuels by 2030.
But retailers like British supermarket chain Iceland, which removed palm oil from its own-brand food starting in 2018, have been forced to return to the controversial commodity in recent months due to a global edible oil shortage triggered by the Russia-Ukraine war and Indonesia’s ban on palm oil exports.
Zuraida Kamaruddin, Malaysian Minister for Plantation Industries and Commodities, said in a statement the government “will not want to waste a good crisis.”
“It is time we step up efforts to counter adverse propaganda to undermine palm oil’s credibility and for us to showcase the numerous health benefits the golden oil has to offer,” she said.
Zuraida said global edible oil prices are likely to remain high in the first half of 2022 and EU demand is expected to increase in the near term due to tight sunflower and soy oil supplies.
(With input from Reuters) 
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s stock exchange has claimed the top spot among peers in the Gulf Cooperation Council, with the highest year-to-date gain of 21.7 percent, a recent report by Kamco Invest revealed.
Backed by a rally in the oil market, the Kingdom saw its major players, especially banks, posting higher first-quarter earnings which led to stock market wins.  
Abu Dhabi and Kuwait came next, rising 18.8 and 18.75 percent, respectively, according to the latest monthly report.
It revealed that the MSCI GCC Index, which captures the performance of indexes across the region, went up by 3.3 percent in April, thanks to strong quarterly earnings.
Dubai was the region’s highest gainer, registering a monthly gain of 5.5 percent, followed by Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Abu Dhabi and Qatar, all up between 0.4 and 4.9 percent.
The Omani and Bahraini bourses recorded declines of 1.1 and 0.8 percent, respectively.
RIYADH: After facing chaos during the peak season due to flight delays and mishandled luggage, the board of directors of Jeddah Airports Co. has appointed Ayman Aboabah as acting CEO of Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport. 
Aboabah will replace Ryyan Tarabzoni, according to a statement. 
The decision from Jeddah Airports Co. came after the Saudi minister of Transport Saleh Al-Jasser ordered an emergency probe to investigate the chaotic scenes at the airport. 
Aboabah has 28 years of experience, where he had held several leadership positions including the vice president for operations at Riyadh Airports Co. 
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s utility provider ACWA Power Co. has been selected as the preferred bidder to develop two solar projects in Indonesia.
The projects will be located in Sumatera and Java and will serve state-owned Indonesian electricity firm Perusahaan Listrik Negara, according to a bourse filing.
ACWA Power will connect with the relevant stakeholders to move forward with the deals, noting that the financial impact cannot be determined at this stage, it said in the statement.


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