Bahrain’s central bank is launching a regulatory sandbox to allow blockchain and crypto companies to work in the country, pending formalized regulations. The news was reported by Bloomberg оn Feb. 20.

As previously reported, in December 2018, the central bank issued draft proposals to potentially regulate and license crypto asset services. With the prospective framework currently open for consultation, the new sandbox will reportedly allow companies in the sector to work on a trial basis for nine months.

Dalal Buhejji, business manager at Bahrain’s Economic Development Board, told Bloomberg the initiative will enable firms "to test their solution on a limited number of users, with a limited number of transactions.” Buhejji said the initiative is intended to expedite new companies’ entrance into the market.

Among the 28 companies approved so far for the sandbox, Bloomberg isolates SprinkleXchange — a blockchain-powered initial public offering platform, run by New York-based Sprinkle Group SA.

As Bloomberg notes, the bid to attract blockchain talent to the country comes as Bahrain’s economy strives to offset mounting debt in the aftermath of a slump in crude oil prices in 2014. Last year, the country’s allies pledged $10 billion in aid to support its ailing economy — the smallest of the six members of the oil-rich Gulf Cooperation Council.

As Cointelegraph reported, the CEO of Bahrain’s Economic Development Board positively endorsed blockchain as a “huge opportunity” for the country in October 2017. In November 2018, the country's Institute of Banking and Finance launched its Blockchain Academy, which offers courses in blockchain development, implementation and strategy.