UAE to Issue Crypto Licenses in Bid to Become Industry Hub: Report

The Middle Eastern country is gearing up to become a global crypto hub.

Feb 17, 2022 at 10:18 a.m. UTC
Updated Feb 21, 2022 at 8:02 a.m. UTC

Eliza Gkritsi is CoinDesk's crypto mining reporter based in Asia.

The United Arab Emirates is preparing to issue federal licenses for virtual assets service providers by the end of this quarter in a bid to attract crypto companies to the country, Bloomberg reported on Thursday, citing a government official.

  • The Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) is in the final stage of setting up a framework allowing VASPs to set up shop in the country, the official said.
  • Having considered the approaches of the U.S., U.K. and Singapore, the UAE will take a hybrid approach: The SCA and central bank will be responsible for regulation, with regional financial centers determining their day-to-day procedures on licenses, according to Bloomberg.
  • The government also wants to create a favorable environment for crypto mining, the report said.
  • The government of Dubai, one of the seven constituent emirates, said in December it will create a favorable regulated zone for crypto service providers in the Dubai World Trade Center, a skyscraper in the city. The next day, Binance, the world's largest crypto exchange, signed a cooperation agreement with the trade center.
  • Abu Dhabi Global Market, an international finance hub and free-trade zone, issued its first crypto exchange license, to Matrix, in May 2020. In November 2021, three exchanges headquartered at the center were fully operational while another three were in the process of launching, the finance hub’s regulation chief told local news site The National.
  • The Dubai Multi Commodities Center, the largest free-trade zone in the UAE set up a regulatory framework for crypto firms in March 2021. It has already licensed 22 companies, Bloomberg reported.

CORRECTION (Feb. 21, 7:10 UTC): Corrects the name of Abu Dhabi's finance center.


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Eliza Gkritsi is CoinDesk's crypto mining reporter based in Asia.

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Eliza Gkritsi is CoinDesk's crypto mining reporter based in Asia.

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