UAE regulator approves crypto trading in free zone

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UAE regulator approves crypto trading in free zone

The Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) and the Dubai World Trade Centre Authority (DWTCA) have agreed to support the regulation, offering, issuance, listing and trading of crypto assets and related financial activities within DWTCA's free zone.

In a statement issued by the SCA on 22 September, it said the agreement establishes a framework that allows DWTCA to issue the necessary approvals and licenses for the conduct of financial activities relating to crypto assets.

The agreement was signed by Maryam Al Suwaidi, acting chief executive officer of SCA, and Helal Saeed Almarri, director general of Dubai World Trade Centre Authority (DWTCA) and Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM).

Our agreement with the Securities and Commodities Authority will allow DWTCA to broaden its regulatory, licenses and services capabilities, in addition to extending the centralised supervision of the crypto market to our free zone."

The Dubai World Trade Centre Authority provides a well-regulated ecosystem for businesses seeking local and international opportunities, while the DWTCA Free Zone provides an ideal environment for startups, SMEs and corporations to operate locally while reaching international markets, the statement said.

In collaboration with DWTCA, SCA will handle the regulatory oversight of the issuance, offering, listing, and trading of crypto assets as well as the licensing of the associated financial activities that fall under DWTCA's jurisdiction.

Under the agreement, SCA will oversee, monitor, and inspect entities operating within DWTCA's free zone.

Al Suwaidi said: "The SCA will be responsible for the regulatory supervision of offering, issuing, trading and listing crypto assets and the licensing of financial activities related to them within the limits of the DWTCA free zone. The SCA will also supervise, control and investigate the licensed entities that operate within the free zone."

Helal Saeed Almarri said: "The Dubai World Trade Centre Authority is committed to expanding its services as a free zone of choice for the international investment and entrepreneurial community. As Dubai continues its drive towards an innovation and digital-led economy, DWTCA is looking to support businesses underpinned by blockchain and cryptographic technologies.

"Our agreement with the Securities and Commodities Authority will allow DWTCA to broaden its regulatory, licenses and services capabilities, in addition to extending the centralised supervision of the crypto market to our free zone.

"With the rise of new technologies such as non-fungible tokens set to play an important role in the future of commerce, and building on the Future Blockchain Summit, our globally recognised event in this sector, DWTCA is also pursuing ways to offer a sustainable home for this ecosystem, in order to stay future ready,"

He added: "The UAE has been at the forefront of blockchain research and implementation and our ambition is in line with the Emirates Blockchain Strategy."

The SCA and DWTCA said they will exchange best practices relating to the project, as well as delivering mutual technical support to enhance their understanding of both organisations' financial systems.