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Crypto to play a major role in UAE’s foreign trade

A high-ranking trade official views crypto as playing a major future role in the country’s foreign trade.

Dubai, UAE / Image by: Wikimedia Commons

Tue, 24 Jan 2023, 08:42 am UTC

While the current crypto market downturn and recent FTX collapse caused some countries to become wary of Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), and other digital currencies, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) continues to express support for the sector and remains convinced of the nascent asset class’ potential. In fact, a high-ranking official views crypto as playing a major future role in the country’s foreign trade.

This was revealed by United Arab Emirates Minister of State for Foreign Trade Thani Al Zeyoudi. In an interview with Bloomberg in Davos, Switzerland on Friday, January 20, the trade official talked about the future role of crypto in his country’s economy. “Crypto will play a major role for UAE trade going forward,” Al Zeyoudi stated, reported.

To realize crypto’s potential, the trade official acknowledged the need for proper regulation not only for its domestic market but internationally as well. “The most important thing is that we ensure global governance when it comes to cryptocurrencies and crypto companies,” Al Zeyoudi added.

To make this happen, the UAE has already taken steps to collaborate with industry experts. “We started attracting some of the companies to the country with the aim that we’ll build together the right governance and legal system, which are needed,” the official noted.

In a World Economic Forum session titled “Finding the right balance for crypto” held in Davos last week, another UAE also talked about crypto. Omar Sultan Al Olama, UAE Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy, and Remote Work Applications, confirmed that his country has not yet issued a license for crypto exchanges and emphasized that his country’s crypto regulatory frameworks are not light.

“UAE has not issued a single licensed crypto exchange in UAE, neither Binance nor FTX … no one was able to onboard any customers even last week,” Al Olama said.

Established in March last year, the Dubai Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) stated on its website that it has not yet issued any operating permit to a crypto firm. The office is responsible for licensing and regulating the crypto sector in the Emirate of Dubai and its free zone territories (excluding DIFC).

VARA has only granted provisional licenses to a number of crypto exchanges such as Binance, FTX, Okx, Bitoasis, and Coinmena. The agency explained that these crypto firms are still in the first stage of the regulator’s four-stage approval process.

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