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The funds stolen from cryptocurrency exchange Rain were converted into Bitcoin and Ethereum to disguise their origin

Crypto exchange Rain suffers $15m hack

Rain, a cryptocurrency exchange regulated in both the UAE and Bahrain, has confirmed a serious hack resulting in losses reportedly nearing $15 million.  The exchange said in a statement on its website on Tuesday that customer funds remain secure despite the incident.  The security breach occurred on April 29 and was first detected by blockchain […]

A woman using a Bitcoin ATM in Hong Kong. The Mena region accounts for 7% of global cryptocurrency volumes

Gulf asset managers remain wary of resurgent bitcoin

Gulf asset managers and institutional investors remain reluctant to invest in bitcoin, despite the cryptocurrency’s resurgence over the past year. The Middle East and North Africa accounted for 7 percent – or $390 million – of global crypto volumes in the 12 months to June 30, 2023, according to Chainalysis. Turkey made up nearly half, […]

Binance CEO Richard Teng told AGBI the company spent $213m on compliance measures in 2023

Binance clamps down on suspicious UAE crypto trades

Binance has blocked hundreds of thousands of suspicious cryptocurrency transactions in the UAE as it ramps up compliance efforts, senior executives have told AGBI. The business, which is the world’s largest crypto exchange, received nearly 60,000 law enforcement requests from governments around the world in 2023 after heightened regulatory scrutiny. Meera Judge, the Dubai-based director […]

Investor Tim Draper told AGBI the US must 'swing back to freedom' to avoid losing innovation to countries such as the UAE

Tim Draper: UAE benefits from US crypto ‘overregulation’

Billionaire venture capitalist Tim Draper has criticised the US for its restrictive stance on cryptocurrency, claiming it is driving innovators towards more encouraging and friendlier markets such as the UAE. The Gulf state is actively developing regulatory frameworks to lure new forms of business, amid intense regional economic competition. Dubai and Abu Dhabi have set […]

Crypto miners have been drawn to the Gulf for its low electricity costs and comparatively unrestricted land use rules

Crypto miners see ‘enormous potential’ in the Gulf

With cryptocurrencies edging up again after last weekend’s “halving” – in which the rewards Bitcoin miners get for solving problems is cut in two to maintain scarcity – these are heady days for holders of Bitcoin and other virtual currencies. Bitcoin miners have been attracted to the Gulf by cheap electricity and established infrastructure.   “GCC […]

A young Cristiano Ronaldo fan pictured at an Al Nassr Saudi Pro League match. The star has approximately 849 million social media followers

Binance to launch new Ronaldo NFTs ‘soon’ amid legal case

Cristiano Ronaldo and the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange Binance are to launch a fourth set of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) “soon”, as the footballer faces a $1 billion lawsuit for promoting the company. The Al Nassr and Portugal forward signed a deal with Binance in 2022 to create NFTs – digital collectibles – using his “CR7” […]

The funding of Midas is among the 'biggest ever' Series A fund raise by a Turkish fintech

Turkish fintech Midas raises $45m for new products

Turkish fintech startup Midas has raised $45 million in equity funding to expand its services and launch new products. The new products include cryptocurrency trading, mutual funds and savings accounts. The funding is among the “biggest ever” Series A fund raise by a Turkish fintech and comes less than three years after Midas was launched.  […]

Dubai rendered in the metaverse. Prices of virtual land plots peaked in 2022

The Mena metaverse: moving beyond the hype

Two years ago, the concept of metaverse lands transformed from an interesting subculture into a thriving multi-billion-dollar market, capturing the interest of major investors both regionally in the Middle East and globally.  Metaverse lands, made of pixels and digital images, refer to buildings and plots within a virtual environment, offering spaces for gaming, socialising, business […]

Between 80 and 90 percent of global trade relies on trade finance, which is mostly short-term

Finance platform aims at $2.5trn trade funding hole

A blockchain-based platform that lets institutions and wealthy individuals provide finance to importers and exporters for returns of up to 9 percent a year could help fill a multi-trillion-dollar hole in international trade, it says. In trade finance, the involvement of third-party financial companies removes payment and supply risks for sellers and buyers respectively.  Historically, […]

The DIFC's Gate building. The centre's law came into force on March 8

DIFC’s law tipped to help digital assets go mainstream

The Dubai International Financial Centre has introduced a law to define and regulate digital assets – a move that should herald their integration into more parts of the economy, lawyers have told AGBI.   The DIFC legislation came into effect on March 8 and classifies the assets as property. Digitally tracked items such as cryptocurrencies, non-fungible […]

Binance founder Zhao Changpeng, who paid $4.3bn in a money-laundering settlement. Investcorp says it would not currently recommend digital assets to investors

Investcorp stays cool on digital assets

Investcorp, the Gulf region’s largest alternative investment company, will not be turning to digital assets to boost its bottom line in the short term. The Bahrain company’s Abu Dhabi-listed Investcorp Capital invested more than $639 million in the first half of its financial year to December 31, 2023. The company’s latest financial reports revealed a […]

Iran suffers frequent power outages and this, combined with high energy costs, presents hurdles to bitcoin miners

Energy costs push bitcoin mining in Iran underground  

Rising energy costs and onerous government regulations are forcing much of Iran’s once-blossoming bitcoin mining sector to operate clandestinely, a top industry executive has told AGBI. Bitcoin’s price surged to $46,900 in early January ahead of the launch of bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) in the US, up from a two-year low of about $15,800 in […]

Investors are expected to welcome bitcoin ETFs into their portfolios but some observers warn the cryptocurrency itself is still volatile

Gulf investors expected to bet big on bitcoin ETFs

Gulf sovereign wealth funds and institutional investors are expected to expand their portfolios to include cryptocurrencies, after spot bitcoin exchange-traded funds were given the green light. The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) approved the trading of 11 spot bitcoin ETFs, issued by global asset management companies such as BlackRock, Invesco, Grayscale, Fidelity, and Franklin. […]

binance abu dhabi

Binance pulls out of licence application in Abu Dhabi

Global cryptocurrency exchange Binance has withdrawn its licence application from Abu Dhabi Global Market, the main regulator in the UAE capital, but still wants to join an international exchange in Dubai. The troubled crypto operator withdrew its application on November 7, according to the regulator’s website. “While assessing our global licensing needs, we decided this […]

The UAE is proving attractive to blockchain companies

Tax-friendly UAE beckons blockchain businesses 

The UAE is becoming a preferred destination for blockchain technology companies, ranking third globally as a crypto centre, according to a survey. Immigration consultancy Henley & Partners used six criteria to arrive at a global ranking and placed Singapore first because of its government’s close cooperation with banks, businesses and the public in developing its […]

Former Binance CEO Zhao Changpeng in Paris last year. He will pay $50m as part of a $4.3bn settlement following a US money-laundering investigation into the cryptocurrency platform

Binance scandal won’t rock UAE but clarity is needed

Industry experts have told AGBI that the UAE needs to address some of its own internal challenges if it is to realise its ambitions to become a global cyptocurrency player. Former Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao’s guilty plea as part of a $4.3 billion settlement with US anti-money laundering authorities is unlikely to lead to major […]

UAE Revolut

UK fintech firm Revolut sets up in UAE

The British fintech firm Revolut is expanding to the UAE in what experts believe is the start of a wave of similar UK companies setting up in the region. The digital platform, which offers banking and trading services through an app, is recruiting for legal and strategy roles in Dubai. The company has hired Jonathan […]

Companies may face financial sanctions – and worse – for operating cryptocurrency without a licence Video length: 06:16

UAE to clamp down on unlicensed crypto operators

Unlicensed cryptocurrency operators in the UAE may face civil and criminal penalties, according to the anti-money laundering division of the UAE Central Bank. Companies, owners and senior managers could also face financial sanctions. The UAE National Anti-Money Laundering and Combating Financing of Terrorism and Financing of Illegal Organizations Committee issued the directive this week. The […]

As inflation soars and the Turkish lira plunges, Turks are seeking stability in cryptocurrency, making it the 12th biggest global market cryptocurrency payment in Turkish restaurant Turkey

Turkey embraces crypto amid currency woes

Turkey has emerged as a significant player in the global crypto market, with $170 billion flowing into the country over the past year, ranking it 12th in the world, higher than markets such as Germany, Russia and Canada. The Chainalysis Global Crypto Adoption Index said the surge can be attributed to Turkey’s currency challenges and […]

Traders at the Qatar Stock Exchange. The country's cryptocurrency legislation is expected early next year

Qatar makes belated entry into crypto tokens market

Qatar’s financial regulators have proposed a new digital assets framework which seeks to regulate investment tokens. In contrast to its Gulf neighbours like the UAE and Bahrain, which have opened their doors to global cryptocurrency exchanges, Qatar has maintained a ban on trading. But legal insiders say Qatar’s delayed entry into the virtual assets arena […]