Exclusive Insights: Bitpanda MENA’s Ambitious Expansion – An Interview with Walid Benothman

In the rapidly changing world of cryptocurrency, establishing a foothold in new territories often demands meticulous planning and strategic leadership. However, Bitpanda’s recent expansion into the UAE defied convention by swiftly assembling a team of seasoned industry leaders. This move, led by Walid Benothman, signifies Bitpanda’s unwavering commitment to its global expansion endeavors.

We had the privilege of engaging in a candid discussion with Walid Benothman, shedding light on Bitpanda’s ambitious venture into the UAE, its strategic roadmap, and the transformative services it aims to introduce in the region.

Walid Benothman, with a rich background in the web3 space and having played a pivotal role in the growth of 1inch Network, provided invaluable context into his decision to join Bitpanda. “The next 500 days are pivotal,” remarked Benothman, underlining the evolving dynamics of the crypto market and the paradigm shift towards institutional investors. This strategic move to Bitpanda, he emphasized, stems from a profound belief in the transformative potential of blockchain technology, particularly in empowering institutional players to leverage crypto assets effectively.

UAE Regulatory Clarity and Progressive Stance: A Compelling Rationale

Delving into Bitpanda’s strategic foray into the Middle East, Benothman articulated the region’s burgeoning status as an international financial hub, with Dubai at its epicenter. Emphasizing Dubai’s regulatory clarity and progressive stance towards innovation, Benothman highlighted the compelling rationale behind Bitpanda’s decision to establish its regional presence in the UAE. He noted the region’s remarkable embrace of cryptocurrency, exemplified by the significant volume of real estate transactions settled in crypto – an indication of Dubai’s proactive approach towards embracing emerging technologies.

Comprehensive Investment Offerings: Stocks, ETFs, Commodities, and Digital Assets

A pivotal question centered on Bitpanda MENA’s service offerings and whether they would mirror the diverse investment options available in Europe. Benothman affirmed this, underlining Bitpanda MENA’s commitment to offering a comprehensive suite of investment opportunities, including stocks, ETFs, commodities, and digital assets. However, he also underscored a nuanced approach, with an initial emphasis on business-to-business (B2B) services while navigating regulatory nuances and awaiting necessary approvals.

Broker Dealer License Pursuit: Navigating Regulatory Pathways with VARA

In discussing regulatory landscapes, Benothman drew parallels between Europe’s Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) framework and the regulatory framework in the UAE, emphasizing Bitpanda’s proactive engagement with regulators to enhance regulatory clarity and consumer protection. Leveraging Bitpanda’s extensive experience in obtaining licenses across Europe, Benothman articulated the company’s proactive role in contributing to regulatory evolution in the UAE.

The choice to pursue a license from the Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA) in Dubai prompted queries regarding regulatory preferences and long-term strategic considerations. Benothman elucidated the rationale behind focusing on traditional crypto brokerage licenses and hinted at potential collaborations with other regulatory bodies in the future, aligning with Bitpanda MENA’s overarching vision.

Venturing into Custodial Services: Strengthening Security Measures

Moreover, Benothman highlighted Bitpanda MENA’s plans to obtain a custody license for its services, building upon its existing licensing in the UK under Bitpanda Custody. This strategic move underscores Bitpanda MENA’s commitment to providing comprehensive and secure investment solutions to its clients.

Big Praise for the Team: Acknowledging the Role of Industry Veterans

Before concluding our conversation, Benothman graciously reflected on our discussion, expressing genuine appreciation, ‘Engaging in this dialogue has been truly enlightening. I must extend my thanks to Unlock for providing such an exceptional platform. Your commitment to professionalism and transparency is instrumental in nurturing informed discussions within our crypto community.’

Amidst his expressions of gratitude, it was evident that Benothman’s demeanor remained relaxed and candid. His willingness to speak openly, unconstrained by compliance apprehensions, reflects his character. One can only hope that he continues to maintain this refreshing honesty as Bitpanda MENA navigates its path forward.

Moreover, in a seamless transition, Benothman subtly acknowledged the pivotal roles of Walid Rassuli and Nadeem Ladki, underscoring their contributions to Bitpanda MENA’s journey. With Rassuli’s operational acumen and regulatory expertise complementing Ladki’s proficiency in business development, Bitpanda MENA is poised for remarkable growth.

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