UAE regulators approve crypto trading in Dubai Free Zone

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UAE financial regulators have reached an agreement to officially allow and support cryptocurrency trading in a free economic zone in Dubai.

The Dubai World Trade Center Authority (DWTCA) announced on September 22 that it has signed an agreement with the United Arab Emirates’ Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) to support the regulation and trading of crypto assets in the DWTCA Free Zone.

The new initiative establishes a framework for the DWTCA to issue the necessary approvals and licenses for financial activities related to cryptocurrencies. As part of the deal, SCA will also oversee key crypto-related activities, such as issuance, listing, trading and licensing processes.

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According to the announcement, the deal was signed by SCA interim CEO Maryam Al Suwaidi, DWTCA chief executive Helal Saeed Al Marri, as well as an executive from Dubai’s tourism and business marketing department.

Al Suwaidi said the new project is in line with DWTCA’s commitment to expand its services as a free zone and support new technologies such as non-fungible tokens. “As Dubai continues its journey towards an innovation-driven and digital economy, DWTCA seeks to support businesses based on blockchain and crypto technologies,” he added.

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The DWTCA and SCA did not immediately respond to TBEN’s request for comment. Authorities previously reached a similar deal to boost the development of the crypto industry within the Dubai Airport Free Zone Authority in May.

The new deal further strengthens the UAE’s growing commitment to become a crypto-friendly global hub.

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In April, Economy Minister Abdulla Bin Touq Al Marri said cryptocurrencies and asset tokenization will be key to the country’s plans to double its economy in 10 years. Local exchange Nasdaq Dubai subsequently listed a public Bitcoin (BTC) fund by Canadian digital asset investment fund manager 3iQ in June.