UAE's SCA, Dubai free zone ink deal for "supporting" crypto asset trading

New agreement also covers offering, issuing and listing of crypto assets in DWTCA free zone

  
Representations of cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Dash, Ethereum, Ripple and Litecoin are seen in this illustration picture taken June 2, 2021.

Representations of cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Dash, Ethereum, Ripple and Litecoin are seen in this illustration picture taken June 2, 2021.

REUTERS/Florence Lo/Illustration

The UAE’s Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) will be handling the regulatory oversight of trading and other activities related to crypto assets in one of Dubai’s free zones, according to an announcement on Wednesday. 

The SCA and the Dubai World Trade Centre Authority (DWTCA) have entered into an agreement “supporting” the regulation, offering, issuance, listing and trading of crypto assets within the DWTCA’s free zone, which is home to start-ups, SMEs and corporations. 

As part of the agreement, the SCA, in collaboration with DWTCA, 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. 

“The SCA will be responsible for the regulatory supervision of offering, issuing, trading and listing of crypto assets and the licensing of financial activities related to them within the limits of the DWTCA free zone,” said Maryam Al Suwaidi, acting CEO of SCA. 

Crypto assets have attracted a huge following in recent years. Much of the interest around virtual assets has been related to the meteoric price gains made by crypto currencies like Bitcoin, which breached the $50,000 mark in August. Back in 2017, the currency was trading below $1,000. 

New agreement 

Explaining the importance of the agreement with SCA, Helal Saeed Almarri, director general of DWTCA, said they are looking to support “businesses underpinned by blockchain and cryptographic technologies”. 

“Our agreement with [the SCA] 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,” he said. 

“With the rise of new technologies such as non-fungible tokens set to play an important role in the future of commerce…DWTCA is also pursuing ways to offer a sustainable home for this ecosystem, in order to stay future ready.” 

(Writing by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Seban Scaria) 

Cleofe.maceda@refinitiv.com 

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© ZAWYA 2021

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