Posted 5 months ago | by Catoshi Nakamoto
While the rest of the world rings in a new year1, Dubai is preparing to ring in a whole new era. Yep, the United Arab Emirates city best-known for its eight-hundred-and-thirty meter Burj Khalifa tower, and skyscraper-filled skyline is taking another big step toward becoming known not only as a crypto-friendly city, but as one of the top crypto jurisdictions in the world. Several cities have become front-runners in crypto adoption. Some that come to mind are Miami, making headlines with paychecks received in crypto, and the of Miamicoin. Of Course we can’t forget El Salvador, the first country to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender, and its ambitions to build Bitcoin City. All the while, Dubai has been a quiet leader in crypto adoption for a while now, already incorporating blockchain technology into its government, with plans to become more efficient, and save money on document processing and paper pushing by using a leger. Dubai is already a global player for innovative world commerce, and seeing it adopt crypto assets in such a meaningful way is great news for crypto regulation, and for adoption. New year, new Dubai.Read More
Let’s get it.
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Dubai’s World Trade Center is already a hub for business in the Middle East. The government-owned event and exhibition center was inaugurated in 1979, making history as Dubai’s first major tower and business center. With a year-round calendar of international trade fairs and conferences, and it’s free zone for international trade and Dubai-based business for foreign companies, the Dubai World Trade Centre, or DWTC, is already a major economic hub. Soon it will become a one-stop shop for regulating digital assets, with the goal of crypto mass-adoption at the forefront.
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The World Trade Center is collaborating with the private sector and government entities to create an environment where digital assets, including crypto assets and products, operators, and exchanges, can be regulated. Rigorous standards will be set for investor protection, Anti Money Laundering, Combating the Financing of Terrorism, and cross-border deal flow tracing. In having a central hub for regulation, the DWTC hopes to promote mass adoption by maintaining a “comprehensive ecosystem” for the industry.
The announcement is likely to accelerate Dubai’s reputation for being a global center for business, and its overseeing a new regulatory framework for virtual assets seems not only a good fit for Dubai, but might just set a global example for other countries *cough* America *cough* looking to regulate crypto in a way that supports the future of blockchain technology. Yes, this news coming out of Dubai is light years ahead of Brad Sherman’s understanding of crypto, which goes about as far as Mongoose Coin. It does however shed more light into the future of crypto adoption, and how the technology can be understood and used to make economies more robust, and efficient.
Dubai understands the bright future of crypto, and wants to develop the virtual asset market, and integrate innovative financial products and trends like NFTs into its regulation. Among the first to celebrate the news was Binance’s CEO Changpeng Zhou, or CZ, when he tweeted the news on Monday.
On December 14th, a possible future link was made between Binance and Dubai when the Business Times reported that Binance is currently considering the emirate for the location of its global headquarters. Binance has signed a memorandum of understanding with Dubai for crypto-related activities,
In an announcement posted on Binance.com, the Memorandum signed with the DWTCA outlines a vision of accelerating the set-up of a new industry hub for Global Virtual Assets. Right now Binance is committing to helping Dubai establish a new Virtual Asset Ecosystem and develop its digital innovation. For now, Binance is participating in a knowledge-sharing ecosystem with DWTCA, and collaborating with global regulators to aid the development of Virtual Asset regulations.
Watching Binance look for the location of its headquarters has been a bit like binge-watching the HGTV show House Hunters2 International. Has CZ finally found the right location to serve his company’s needs? It seems like Dubai will have all the amenities the company needs to thrive, but for now the collaboration seems to center around assisting crypto exchanges and businesses that offer DTL services, and plans to move in have been made yet. We’ll have to stay tuned for more announcements coming out of Binance.
Crypto assets and blockchain are not new for Dubai. Crypto trading became legal in Dubai September of 2021, with an announcement that it has partnered with the United Arab Emerate’s Securities and Commodities Authority to make crypto trading, issuance and regulation legal within the DWTCA freezone. In the UAE, Free Zones are areas that have special tax, customs and import regimes that are governed by their own regulatory framework. Freezone-licensed companies can do business in Dubai, and minimize the bureaucratic process and fess to do so. Currently the DWTC Free Zone offers trading, consulting, flexi-desk and office packages to businesses looking to operate in Dubai.
This new development will allow the DWTCA authority to issue approvals and licenses for all crypto-related activities in the city. The Trade Center plans to expand its list of services to attract new business opportunities in crypto and international investment.
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Last year, Dubai began its foray into blockchain use and adoption with the announcement of the Smart Dubai Initiative that plans to make the city the first to be fully-powered by distributed ledger technology, or DTL. Using blockchain, AI and Data Science capabilities, the initiative plans to make everyday experiences for residents of Dubai more personalized, seamless and efficient. Dubai’s rapid business development over the past forty years has called for continuous updates to traditional processes, and using Blockchain and DTL is a great way for Dubai to tackle this issue. By 2021 Dubai aims to be a completely paperless city, with all government transactions digitized.
All this innovation has been orchestrated by the Digital Dubai Office, which has launched over one hundred and thirty initiatives that connect government and the private sector.
Front-running this initiative is the Dubai Blockchain Strategy, announced in 2018, launched in a collaboration between the Digital Dubai Office and the Dubai Future Foundation. It’s goal is to create opportunities for a more seamless, safe, and efficient city experience. Blockchain’s simple and secure transactions create opportunities for economic growth and increased efficiency. Estimates are that using blockchain for document processing alone will save eleven-billion AED, cause a four-hundred-million reduction in printed documents, and 77 million work hours per year. With blockchain, Dubai wants to create greater government efficiency, and an open platform to share technology with cities around the world.
It’s clear that Dubai is no stranger to crypto, and it’s zero income tax policy combined with its lack of tax on capital gains and inheritance has made it a prime destination for people and companies who want to make waves in crypto. Just ask friends of the channel MM Crypto from Germany, NYC native Maren Altman, Sweden-born Carl from the Moon, and Chille native Divinci Jeremie, who all call Dubai their home.
Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashi Al Maktoum, the VP and prime minister of the UAE have all stated that the country would never adopt income tax to handle its deficit. Tax residency in Dubai requires longer than six months. Living and working in the emirates for a long enough period means that money earned in Dubai becomes 100% free of income taxation. Not to mention no tax on capital gains, which is a big upside for companies and independent traders who are looking to make it big in crypto.
The USA should take notes on how crypto regulation can be done, and it just might be time for a New Year’s Resolution for the US congress: become more crypto-friendly. Innovative policies like what’s being adopted in the UAE is sure to have an influence on the broader global community, and they set a great example for how regulation can support the development of blockchain technology and promote competition, instead of stifling innovation. We can’t wait to see what’s next for Dubai, and other cities that are spearheading the adoption of crypto and blockchain into the mainstream. Comment below on what country you think is most friendly to crypto.
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