The United Arab Emirates Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) and Dubai World Trade Centre Authority (DWTCA) have signed an agreement to support crypto-assets trading and related financial activities in the DWTCA free zone.

Fast facts

  • The agreement allows the DWTCA to issue approvals and licenses for financial activities related to crypto assets and the SCA to have regulatory supervision of those activities as well as oversight of the entities engaging in those activities in the free zone.
  • The Dubai World Trade Centre free zone was created in 2015 and is located in the city’s central business district. It provides infrastructure such as office buildings for start-ups, small and medium-sized enterprises, and large companies. This free zone is under the jurisdiction of the Dubai World Trade Centre, a center for business in the Middle East that was established in 1979.
  • With this agreement, Dubai will expand its support of investment and entrepreneurial enterprises based on blockchain and encryption technology in the free zone, said Helal Saeed Almarri, director general of DWTCA.
  • Crypto-related business is now playing a more important role in the UAE. According to a local news report, the digital economy contributed about 100 billion dirhams (US$27.25 billion), which accounted for 4.3% of the UAE’s GDP. The country has more than 1,400 start-ups with a total valuation of 90 billion dirhams (US$24.5 billion). According to government data, more than 90 investment funds and 12 business incubators are also supporting the country’s digital industry, 
  • In July, the Central Bank of the UAE announced it is planning to launch a digital currency as early as 2023, aiming to make the UAE one of the top 10 countries in the world for the digital transformation of the financial sector.