Key Insights:

  • Dubai welcomes global crypto exchanges
  • Asian and Western restrictions could drive crypto companies to the Middle East.

Having accepted the world’s largest exchanges, the United Arab Emirates is preparing to become the regional hub for crypto businesses.

Binance received in-principle approval from Abu Dhabi Global Market and its CEO, Changpeng Zhao last week, that he has his eye on Dubai for his global headquarters.

Binance’s regional head of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), Richard Teng, told Arab News that his firm will add more products to its offerings in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region:

“We want to become the platform that builds tools to bring about faster crypto adoption and improve freedom of money in the region,”

Having received its license from Dubai’s Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority, Binance can now operate and expand in the region under the Emirate’s ‘test-adapt-scale’ model for crypto assets.

Teng said that the government is taking a proactive approach to digital assets and is not lumping them together as securities, as U.S. regulators want.

“It is an extremely innovative approach from the Dubai government. It recognizes that crypto is quite different from securities, digital tokens, and commodities and proposes a dedicated framework that can serve different parts of the value chain, manage risks, and support innovation.”

With bans and restrictions emerging in Asian countries such as China, India, and Thailand, and America procrastinating on regulations, the Middle East is poised to become the world’s crypto hub. 

Teng has a lot of experience in the field, having worked in the regional regulatory space for two decades and heading the Abu Dhabi Global Market for six years.

Crypto For The Next Generation

He said that working with the Dubai government offers the realization of how well the country supports innovation, crypto adoption, and blockchain development before adding these will become pillars of the economy in the future. Teng wants to prepare the groundwork for the next generation:

“We are working closely with institutions to ensure the next generation is ready for crypto, blockchain, and tokenomics.”

Binance entered into a partnership with the Dubai World Trade Center Authority in December to help it set up and regulate an international digital asset ecosystem. It has also gone on a hiring spree in the UAE to get those plans in motion. The firm also has a similar license to operate in Bahrain, while rival exchange FTX was granted a Dubai license in March.The national carrier Emirates has also announced its crypto ambitions with plans to convert its Dubai Expo 2020 site into an innovation center to attract talent to the area. The airline plans to embark on a series of projects involving NFTs and the Metaverse.