LEGAL VIEWPOINT: Role of Sandbox Stage & Fintech by Dr AbdelGadir Warsama Ghalib, Legal Counsel, Bahrain

Dr AbdelGadir Warsama Ghalib, Principal Legal Counsel, Bahrain

The Central Bank of Bahrain CBB, in the process of streamlining the digital banking transactions and fintech activities, issued regulations to process such activities including the “sandbox” initiative. Sandbox is a virtual space for CBB licensed institutions and firms to test their technology innovative solutions relevant to fintech or the financial sector. The duration of the sandbox is up to 9 months with a maximum extension of three months. Lately CBB announced that “Tarabut Gateway”, is the first to complete the sandbox stage successfully and to receive the confirmation under the “Open Banking” regulatory framework. The announcement of the first company passing the sandbox stage, coincides with the issuance of the final rules on “Open Banking”, which will create opportunities for building synergies between financial institutions and fintechs, thereby, delivering efficient financial services sector in Bahrain.                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

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The successful graduation of the first company from the regulatory sandbox highlights the continuous efforts undertaken by Central Bank of Bahrain, to update and develop the fintech ecosystem and to enable industry players to create innovative and forward looking fintech products while maintaining the overall safety and soundness of the financial system in the country.

“Tarabut Gateway” was one of the first companies to enter the sandbox to test its technology innovative open banking solutions and provide connectivity for banks to assist customers in accessing account information across different banks on a single platform, in accordance with the open banking regulations. Such platforms are the latest fintech trends in the industry globally, and Bahrain, in adopting these technologies, will be at the forefront of these developments.

Sandbox is, technically defined as, a testing environment that isolates untested code changes and outright experimentation from the production environment or repository, in the context of software development including Web development and revision control. Sandboxing protects servers and their data, vetted source code distributions, other collections of code, data and or content, proprietary or public, from changes that could be damaging to a mission-critical system or which could simply be difficult to revert. Sandboxes replicate the minimal functionality needed to accurately test the programs or codes under development. After the developer has fully tested the code changes in their sandbox, the changes would be checked back into and merged with the repository and made available to other developers or end users of the software.

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