A UAE minister says crypto will play a major role in UAE trade

The UAE’s state minister for foreign trade Thani Al-Zeyoudi noted that crypto talent has attracted a lot of attention.

United Arab Emirates foreign trade minister Thani Al-Zeyoudi says crypto will play a major role in global trade moving forward. Speaking with Bloomberg on Jan. 20 in Davos, Switzerland, where world leaders are currently gathered for the 2023 World Economic Forum, Al-Zeyoudi provided a slew of updates on the UAE’s trade partnerships and policies going forward. 

The minister stated that “cryptocurrency will play a significant role in future UAE trade,” adding that “the most important thing is to ensure global governance when it comes to cryptocurrencies and crypto companies.” Al-Zeyoudi went on to say that as the UAE works on its crypto regulatory framework, the focus will be on making the Gulf country a hub with crypto-friendly policies and adequate safeguards:

Al-remarks Zeyoudi’s come just a week after the UAE Cabinet issued new regulations requiring entities engaged in crypto activities to obtain a license and approval from the Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA).

A company that fails to comply with the new law could be fined $2.7 million. The move supplements the “Guiding Principles” for digital asset regulation and supervision issued in September by the financial regulator of Abu Dhabi’s Global Market free economic zone. 

The principles outline a positive attitude toward cryptocurrency while also promising to adhere to international standards in anti-money laundering (AML), combating terrorism financing (CFT), and supporting financial sanctions.

Omar Sultan Al Olama, the UAE’s minister of state for artificial intelligence and the digital economy, also spoke on a crypto-focused panel at the World Economic Forum on January 19.

While the FTX debacle was a major concern, Al Olama stated that the UAE still wants to be a hub despite the entire ordeal. “Having them (crypto companies) call the UAE home is definitely a good thing,” he says. 

The minister also defended the UAE against claims that its cities, such as Dubai, have become critical destinations for disgraced crypto figures, arguing that “bad actors don’t have a nationality and don’t have a destination.”

He did emphasize, however, that governments must work together to prevent bad actors from fleeing to other countries. You see them all over. You’ll see them in the Bahamas, New York, and London, and what we need to do as governments, along with industry, work together to ensure that if someone does something wrong, he can’t move from one place to the next, he said. 

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