Gemini seeks UAE crypto license amid US exodus

abdelaziz Fathi

Gemini, the cryptocurrency exchange owned by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, revealed its plans to pursue a digital-asset license in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Citing concerns over regulatory hostility and a lack of clarity in the United States, Gemini aims to initiate the licensing process in the UAE in the near future.

Part of its global odyssey tour, Gemini team has engaged with stakeholders in the region to gain insights into local regulatory requirements and understand the needs of UAE crypto investors.

“As a forward-thinking, global financial hub, the UAE is continuing its tradition of leadership by establishing itself as a fast-emerging hub for crypto. By applying for a license, we will be taking another step towards making Gemini a truly global company and advancing our mission to unlock the next era of financial, personal, and creative freedom for all,” the exchange wrote in a blog post.

Further elaborating on the move, Gemini cited its 2022 Global State of Crypto Report which highlighted the rapid adoption of cryptocurrencies in the UAE, with over 35% of surveyed individuals having purchased crypto compared to 20% in the US. The report also reveals a strong intent among non-owners in the UAE, with nearly 32% indicating their likelihood to purchase crypto in the next year. Additionally, a significant portion of crypto owners in the UAE, 33%, utilize their digital assets for in-person purchases at brick-and-mortar retailers, surpassing the global average of 19%.

Earlier in April, the federal securities regulator in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) officially began accepting applications from companies planning to offer one or more crypto-related services in the jurisdiction.

According to the announcement, all companies that are not already licensed in a financial free zone are required to apply for a license. Additionally, companies operating in Dubai must also obtain a license from the city’s regulatory authority (VARA) in addition to the SCA’s stamp.

Gemini said last week it has selected Ireland as its new European headquarters. This decision was announced subsequent to a meeting between the Winklevoss brothers, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, and representatives from the Industrial Development Agency (IDA), which oversees foreign investment in Ireland.

The US-based firm cited its favorable perspective on the regulatory landscape in Ireland, along with the abundant pool of talented individuals in technology and innovation in the capital city, as well as its vibrant startup ecosystem, as significant factors that influenced the decision to choose the Irish capital as the base for their European operations.

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