The Russia-Ukraine conflict is creating an unforeseen byproduct for the country of Dubai, which is giving rise to a new objective: becoming the cryptocurrency capital of the world.
Western sanctions on Russia amid the country’s invasion of Ukraine included a freezing of assets for wealthy Russian oligarchs. They’re using Dubai as an escape hatch, bringing their boatloads of money with them (assuming their yachts haven’t already been seized as well).
According to a New York Times report, 38 businessmen with ties to Russian president Vladimir Putin own villas in Dubai in excess of over $300 million as a whole. This is also causing the Dubai real estate market to rise due to high demand from those escaping sanctions.
In addition, the Russian ruble has fallen to bottom-of-the-barrel levels, making cryptocurrency an option as a medium of exchange. After stumbling out of the gates in 2022, cryptocurrencies are turning positive for the year due to heavy demand.
All these factors are creating a perfect storm for Dubai to indeed become the crypto capital of the world. Some cryptocurrency companies are already seeing the opportunity and taking advantage of it.
Moving to Dubai
Cryptocurrency exchange Bybit announced recently that it’s moving its main headquarters to Dubai from Singapore. It could begin operations as early as April.
“Bybit’s decision to open its global headquarters in Dubai is a milestone in our efforts to position the UAE as a global digital hub,” said H.E. Dr. Thani Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade and Minister in Charge of Talent Attraction and Retention, in a statement on Monday. “To stay ahead in this fast-changing industry, we are building a business-friendly ecosystem with robust regulations to attract, retain and enable high-growth companies.”
Bybit is not the only company to make the move to Dubai. Another exchange, Crypto.com, is ready to walk on Dubai’s red carpet for crypto companies by opening a regional hub in that country.
“The United Arab Emirates is committed to championing the industries of the future and to developing an ecosystem that attracts pioneers, innovators and investors to bring them to fruition,” commented Al Zeyoudi. “Cryptocurrencies, virtual assets and the blockchain are exciting new sectors that are already revolutionizing how money, information and value is stored and transferred. The UAE is now developing a robust governance and regulatory framework to ensure that we are providing a best-in-class environment for companies in this space to flourish – and to position the UAE as the ideal platform for disruptive ideas with global impact.”
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