UAE Minister Says Crypto Will Play a “Major Role for UAE Trade Going Forward”

Source: Adobe/Cherkas

The United Arab Emirates plans to use crypto for trade in the future and also set up a working regulatory framework, according to the country’s minister of state for foreign trade. 

Speaking with Bloomberg on Jan. 20 in Davos Switzerland, where the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting is taking place, Thani Al-Zeyoudi said the UAE is considering a trade in currencies other than the US dollar. One area the country is looking to expand is cryptocurrencies, he said, adding:

“Crypto will play a major role for UAE trade going forward. The most important thing is that we ensure global governance when it comes to cryptocurrencies and crypto companies.”

Al-Zeyoudi added that the UAE continues to work on its crypto regulatory regime. He said the focus will be on making the Gulf country a major hub with crypto-friendly policies that also have sufficient protections in place. He noted that the country has already seen some improvement in this field. 

“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 comments from Al-Zeyoudi come just a day after Omar Sultan Al Olama, the UAE’s minister of state for artificial intelligence, said that the nation remains committed to its goal of becoming the world’s cryptocurrency hub regardless of the recent incidents plaguing the crypto market, including the unprecedented collapse of FTX. 

“Them calling the UAE home is definitely a positive thing,” Olama said, hinting at cryptocurrency exchanges moving to Dubai and Abu Dhabi, in part attracted by the virtual asset regulations the UAE issued last year. 

Olama refuted allegations that the UAE could become a safe haven for crypto criminals. He also noted that governments should work together in order to identify and stop bad actors. 

“You will see them everywhere. You will see them in the Bahamas, you will see them in New York, London, and what we need to do as governments is to work together, with the industry as well, to ensure that if someone does something wrong he can’t move from one place to the other,” Olama said.

It is worth noting that the UAE Cabinet has recently introduced new regulation which mandates entities engaging in crypto activities to secure a license and approval from the Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA). The companies that fail to comply could face fines of up to $2.7 million.

The latest regulation adds to the “Guiding Principles” for digital asset regulation and supervision that were published by the financial regulator of Abu Dhabi’s Global Market free economic zone in September.

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