Coinbase CEO praises UAE’s crypto regulations

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Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong has expressed admiration for the United Arab Emirates for its progressive approach to cryptocurrency regulation, adding that he is considering the possibility of relocating the popular exchange to the Middle East.

Armstrong’s positive remarks about the UAE’s regulatory framework and business-friendly environment sparked speculation about Coinbase’s potential expansion into this promising market.

Armstrong commended the UAE for being at the forefront of crypto regulation, noting that it was the first country to establish a dedicated crypto regulator and publish a clear rulebook for the industry.

He also lauded the UAE’s commitment to creating a business-friendly environment with robust customer protections.

The UAE’s Securities and Commodities Authority introduced initial coin offerings (ICOs) regulations in 2019, requiring issuers to register with the regulator and adhere to specific disclosure requirements.

The country’s central bank has also issued guidelines for crypto asset activities, including anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing measures.

Greener grass

Coinbase’s potential move to the Middle East gained traction as Armstrong visited the UAE to explore strategic opportunities. The country has attracted numerous crypto companies due to its favorable regulations and supportive ecosystem.

Moreover, the Central Bank of the UAE announced plans to launch a digital currency, further bolstering the crypto industry’s prospects within the country.

Coinbase’s interest in expanding beyond the U.S. market was reinforced by its announcement of a new global exchange. While the company faces regulatory challenges from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Armstrong emphasized Coinbase’s commitment to providing services to customers in the U.S. and worldwide.

However, he also hinted at the possibility of relocation if regulatory hurdles persist.

“The US has the potential to be an important market in crypto, but it is currently not providing the necessary regulatory clarity,” said Armstrong at a fintech conference in London.

Exploring new opportunities

During their visit to the UAE, Armstrong and Coinbase VP of International & Business Development Nana Murugesan engaged in strategic discussions with regulatory officials.

They met with representatives from Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) and the Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA), establishing crucial connections in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, respectively.

Armstrong and Murugesan acknowledge the UAE’s potential as a strategic hub, bridging the gap between Asia and Europe. Coinbase’s official blog post said, “There is no doubt that the UAE has the potential to be a strategic hub for Coinbase, amplifying our efforts across the world.”

The UAE’s robust regulatory framework, straightforward laws and strong investor and consumer protection create a conducive environment for Coinbase’s potential expansion.

While Coinbase remains committed to the U.S. market, the regulatory challenges it faces have prompted discussions about exploring opportunities abroad. The lack of regulatory clarity in the U.S. and Armstrong’s criticisms of the SEC Chairman Gary Gensler have fueled these discussions.

Armstrong’s proactive engagement with the UAE’s regulatory authorities and the region’s growing interest in crypto indicate that Coinbase is actively exploring the possibility of establishing a presence in the Middle East.

As the global cryptocurrency landscape continues to evolve, countries that adopt progressive regulations and foster a business-friendly ecosystem are attracting industry players.


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