December 8, 2023

Cryptocurrencies to play 'important role' in UAE trade: foreign trade minister

Cryptocurrencieswill play “an important role” in the global trade of the United Arab Emirates in the future,considers the Minister of State for Foreign TradeUnited Arab Emirates Thani Al Zeyoudi. Speaking to Bloomberg Jan. 20 in Davos, Switzerland, where world leaders are currently gathering for the World Economic Forum 2023, Al Zeyoudi provided a series of updates on UAE trade partnerships and policies through 2023.

Commenting on the cryptocurrency sector, the Ministerstated that “cryptocurrencies will play an important role in UAE trade in the future”, and emphasized that “most importantly– provide global governance when it comes to cryptocurrencies and crypto companies”. Al Zeyoudi also noted that as the UAE works on its cryptocurrency regulatory regime, the focus will be on establishing the Gulf country as a hub with crypto-friendly policies that also include sufficient protections.

Al-Zeyoudi's comments appeared just aftera week after the UAE Cabinet introduced a new regulation that ensures that organizations engaged in crypto activities must obtain a license and permission from the Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA). If companies do not do this, then in a new wayBy law, they face a fine of up to $2.7 million. This step complements the “Guiding Principles” regulation and supervision of digital assets, which were published by the financial regulator of the free trade zone Global Market in Abu Dhabi in September.

Principles define a friendly attitude towardsin relation to cryptocurrencies, and also undertake to comply with international standards in the field of combating money laundering (AML), combating the financing of terrorism (CFT) and supporting financial sanctions. UAE Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence and the Digital Economy, Omar Sultan Al Olama, also spoke at the World Economic Forum as part of a discussion on cryptocurrencies on January 19.

Al-Olama noted that although the FTX fiasco causeda serious concern, the UAE still wants to be the center despite this whole ordeal. “They [cryptocurrency companies] call the UAE home– this is definitely a positive thing”, – he said.

Abu Dhabi-based Venom Foundationlaunches $1B fund for Web3 and blockchain The minister also distanced himself from claims that the UAE, such as Dubai, is becoming a key escape for disgraced cryptocurrencies, saying that “bad actors have no nationality and no destination”. However, he stressed that governments need to work together to prevent bad actors from disappearing overseas. “You will see them everywhere. You'll see them in the Bahamas, you'll see them in New York, London, and what we need to do as governments is work together with industry to ensure that if someone does something wrong, they can't move from one place to another”, – he said.