The Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has clarified past statements about a prohibition on “virtual currencies”, confirming that new rules released last month don’t apply to bitcoin.

at the time, the UAE central bank released a digital payments framework on 1st January. That policy document included the stipulation that "all virtual currencies (and any transactions thereof) are prohibited", prompting questions about both the definition of "virtual currency" the central bank was relying on as well as the exact scope and nature of the ostensible prohibition.

New comments suggest that, at least for now, the central bank isn’t taking any action on bitcoin or other digital currencies.

In a statement released to regional news service Gulf News, central bank governor Mubarak Al Mansouri said:

"These regulations do not cover 'virtual currency' which is defined as any type of digital unit used as a medium of exchange, unit account, or a form of stored value. In this context, these regulations do not apply to bitcoin or other crypto - currencies, currency exchanges, or underlying technology such as blockchain."

That said, the central bank indicated that the topic of digital currencies remains an open question – and one that could be subject to new rules in the future.

"This area is currently under review by the Central Bank and new regulations will be issued as appropriate," Al Mansouri remarked.

As can be expected, those working in the region’s nascent digital currency ecosystem quickly praised the move.

"We're optimistic about the direction the Central Bank have been recently taking to support innovation in fintech in UAE," Ola Doudin, CEO of bitcoin exchange service BitOasis, told CoinDesk.

Image via Shutterstock


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