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Crypto to perform "major role" in UAE trade, says foreign trade minister

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Al Olama stated that despite the fact that the FTX collapse was a serious issue, the UAE still aspired to be a hub.

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Thani Al-Zeyoudi, the minister of state for foreign trade for the UAE, stated that as the country has garnered a lot of expertise from the crypto industry, it now needs to implement the proper regulation to foster future growth.

According to Thani Al-Zeyoudi, the UAE's minister of state for foreign trade, cryptocurrency will play a "major role" in the UAE's global trade going forward.

Al-Zeyoudi gave several updates on the UAE's trade partnerships and policies moving into 2023 in an interview with Bloomberg on January 20 in Davos, Switzerland, where world leaders are now assembled for the 2023 World Economic Forum.

The minister said in a statement about the crypto industry that "crypto will play a major role for UAE trade going forward" and that "the most important thing is that we ensure global governance when it comes to cryptocurrencies and crypto companies."

Al-Zeyoudi went on to say that as the UAE works on its crypto regulatory structure, the emphasis will be on making the Gulf country a hub with crypto-friendly laws and adequate protective measures.

"We started attracting some of the companies to the country with the aim that we’ll build together the right governance and legal system, which are needed."

Al-Zeyoudi's remarks follow just one week after the UAE Cabinet announced new regulations, which essentially require entities involved in crypto activities to get a license and approval from the Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA).

Companies that fail to comply face fines of up to $2.7 million under the new law. The move builds on the "Guiding Principles" for digital asset regulation and supervision released in September by the financial regulator of Abu Dhabi's Global Market free economic zone.

The principles create a positive attitude toward crypto while also pledging to adhere to international regulations in anti-money laundering (AML), countering terrorism financing (CFT), and backing financial sanctions.

Omar Sultan Al Olama, the UAE's minister of state for artificial intelligence and the digital economy, actively participated in a panel discussion on crypto on January 19 at the World Economic Forum.

Al Olama stated that despite the fact that the FTX collapse was a serious issue, the UAE still aspired to be a hub.

He said, "Them [crypto companies] calling the UAE home is definitely a positive thing."

The minister denied claims that the UAE's cities, like Dubai, frequently serve as major escape routes for disgraced crypto figures, saying that "bad actors don't have a nationality and don't have a destination."

However, he emphasized that governments must cooperate in order to prevent bad actors from escaping to foreign lands.

He also added, "You will see them everywhere. You will see them in the Bahamas, you will see them in New York, and London, and what we need to do as governments is to work together, with the industry as well, to ensure that if someone does something wrong, he can't move from one place to the other."

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