Major cryptocurrency companies and exchanges are being attracted to the popular crypto oasis around the Arabian Gulf, according to the managing director of Binance FZE.
Alex Shehadeh, who heads Binance’s local operation in Dubai, told Cointelegraph reporter Ezra Riguera that the region’s progressive regulatory frameworks are a major draw for startups and established players in the industry:
“What stands out in the Middle East is regulatory certainty and clarity. We have our own regulatory body for virtual assets here in Dubai: VARA [Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority]. We have ADGM [Abu Dhabi Global Market] With its virtual assets framework, [and] Our Central Bank of Bahrain accepts cryptocurrencies.
Shehadeh believes that regulators in other jurisdictions have not fully understood or taken the time to learn the ins and outs of the cryptocurrency landscape or simply lack the “bandwidth” to start regulating the sector:
“So you see events like GITEX and the Future Blockchain Summit, as well as global companies coming here because it’s easy to do business.”
The Binance FZE Managing Director adds that companies need certainty in order to create long-term plans, and the regulatory parameters in place in these specific jurisdictions facilitate this process.
Shehadeh also highlighted Binance’s role as a catalyst for Web3 companies and startups to establish in the region.
“We are an ecosystem enabler, and we are the largest Web3 company in the world. You often see network effects with scale, and we are seeing a healthy ecosystem with players large and small.
Shehadeh stated that Binance now employs around 600 people in its operations in Dubai and will continue to play its role in promoting the industry. He adds that Binance FZE has been operating as a regulated exchange in Dubai for a year and a half and is separated from the rest of its global operations through closed operations and custody.
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In a previous interview with Cointelegraph at the Blockchain Economy Summit in Dubai, Akshay Chopra, Visa’s vice president and head of innovation and design, echoed Shehadeh’s sentiments regarding the region’s progressive regulatory outlook.
As a board member of the MENA FinTech Association, Chopra highlighted the “forward-looking and comprehensive vision for blockchain and cryptocurrency solutions” as a key driver of sector growth in the region:
“The regulators are actually looking forward and working with the local blockchain community, institutions, startups and entrepreneurs to come up with a very comprehensive perspective on the future and how we can be better positioned as a market and as a regulator.”
Research conducted by blockchain analysis firm Chainalogy indicates that the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is the fastest growing cryptocurrency market in the world. Transaction volume in the region reveals that users received $566 billion worth of cryptocurrencies between July 2021 and June 2022.
Additional reporting by Ezra Riguera.
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