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Dubai excelled as a crypto innovation centre

In 2022, despite a significant downturn in the global cryptocurrency market, known as the “crypto winter”, Dubai stood out as a centre for crypto innovation. This success is attributed to its strategic policies and supportive regulatory environment.

During the “crypto winter”, top digital currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum saw a loss of over 60% of their value, and the total crypto market saw a loss of over $2 trillion. Confidence in cryptocurrencies fell drastically due to major failures like FTX and Terra.

Despite these challenges, Dubai’s establishment of the Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) and the introduction of a new licensing regime provided clarity and security to investors and businesses, promoting growth in the sector. Moreover, initiatives like the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre’s (DMCC) accelerator programme attracted top-tier talent and startups to the region.

Due to these strategic efforts and a robust ecosystem for virtual asset businesses, Dubai is expected to continue attracting future investments and becoming a hub for crypto startups, according to a report by Recap. The report pointed to several factors such as research and development expenditure, crypto ownership, crypto-focused events, capital gains tax rate, and the number of crypto companies as indicators of Dubai’s promising position in the crypto world.

Dubai excelled as a crypto innovation centre

Dubai is positioning itself as a global hub for cryptocurrencies, backed by significant institutional support. This comes as part of a broader push for advanced technology initiatives by influential figures within the government. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) government has been recognized for fostering an environment that allows for the growth and regulation of the crypto industry.

The Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) was established in March by the Prime Minister of the UAE and the ruler of Dubai, H.H Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. As the world’s first independent regulator for virtual assets, VARA oversees the regulation, governance, and licensing of the virtual asset business environment. This move aims to establish Dubai and the UAE as significant players in the global virtual asset space.

These regulatory measures have garnered international interest in the UAE’s crypto market, with global players like Binance, Kraken, Bybit, FTX, and Web3 Holdings FZE entering the market. During a downturn in the crypto market, VARA implemented a new licensing regime, which has been well-received by local industry stakeholders.

Under the new rules, entities planning to offer crypto-related services must secure relevant authorizations and licenses. This comprehensive regulatory framework includes four mandatory rulebooks for service providers and seven activity-based rulebooks for different types of services offered, providing clarity and security in the rapidly evolving digital asset space.

Dubai is making significant efforts to attract top cryptocurrency talent. This includes establishing the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) as a free zone dedicated to regulated virtual asset businesses. This zone offers several incentives such as foreign ownership, zero corporate tax, and business start-up packages.

Furthermore, the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) has partnered with TDeFi, a global Web3 incubator and consultancy, to offer a new accelerator programme for Web3 and blockchain companies. This initiative is anticipated to attract a fresh influx of crypto firms to Dubai.

In response to these initiatives, major companies like DLT infrastructure provider Blockchain Smart Technologies and the crypto exchange ByBit have expanded their operations into Dubai, marking key milestones in their growth. Other major crypto firms, such as Crypto.com and Hex Trust, have also been drawn to the emirate.

The presence of financial hubs like the Dubai Financial International Centre (DIFC) provides opportunities for collaboration between traditional finance and the virtual sector, further enhancing Dubai’s appeal to the crypto industry.

Dubai excelled as a crypto innovation centre

Dubai has emerged as the preferred location for Indian cryptocurrency companies due to its conducive policy environment, which encourages innovation. Factors such as access to skilled labor, high living standards, tax exemptions, ease of business, and global market accessibility make Dubai attractive. Additionally, the UAE’s strategic geographical location provides businesses with growth opportunities in the Middle East, North Africa, and the larger Asian region, further drawing Indian startups to relocate there.

The establishment of VARA and a new licensing regime in Dubai has provided much-needed clarity and security to the crypto industry, leading to increased innovation and investment. Many Indian virtual asset companies have relocated to Dubai to take advantage of its favorable policy environment. Link to the source

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