Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Developement is working to develop Abu Dhabi as a crypto hub and ease passporting between digital currency exchanges and normal instruments. In an interview with BlockWorks, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development Shorafa Al Hammadi stated, ” The government of ABu Dhabi had set a deadline for the end of 2021 to ease passporting between digital currency exchanges to normal instruments.”

The UAE Emirate of Abu Dhabi is working to develop a regulated crypto friendly environment utilizing Abu Dhabi Global Market framework. The CEO of Abu Dhabi’s Financial Services Regulatory Authority, Emmanuel Givanakis stated “In 2018, the industry was already talking about needing to come under a regulatory umbrella, and we came out with what we think is a fairly comprehensive framework,”

Al Hammadi explained further, “Two regulated digital asset exchanges — Matrix Exchange and Midchains — are already operating in Abu Dhabi and a third, DEX, is due to commence full operations soon. The whole ecosystem in Abu Dhabi…is working together to make it easy for all the actors of that space, to not only attract them but bring them here, to develop the legal framework, to find what are the pain points worldwide so we can remove them, and have a very strong robust regulatory framework for those people.”

Abu Dhabi’s determination to become a crypto hub is part of its effort to recast its economy to reduce its reliance on oil and gas. As part of this effort, the emirate is focusing on innovation in financial technology, providing the private sector with a fintech sandbox where they can test their products in a live environment to ensure they meet the UAE’s strict anti-money-laundering (AML) and other regulatory standards. 

“The number-one risk we are focused on is AML, but tech governance systems and controls, protecting client money, custody and exchange-operations risks are all really important risks for us,” Givanakis said. “We needed to develop systems to monitor these frameworks.”

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