Crypto exchange Bybit announced Monday an opening of its global headquarters in Dubai, while crypto platform Crypto.com said it would establish a regional hub there. These moves drive the UAE drive to become a global center for the crypto sector.
“Bybit has received in-principle approval to conduct a full spectrum of virtual assets business in Dubai,” the company said in a statement, adding that the headquarters is expected to commence operations in April.
Ben Zhou, co-founder and CEO of Bybit, told Forbes: “Bybit looks forward to contributing to the virtual assets innovations of the emirate’s vibrant economy and having our global headquarters in Dubai. This in-principle approval is an extraordinary opportunity for Bybit to support the United Arab Emirates and the wider region’s ambition to become a global virtual assets technology hub.”
Meanwhile, Crypto.com, a Singapore-based crypto exchange, said in a statement it wanted to establish a significant presence in the UAE and would be launching a substantial recruitment drive in the coming months.
The UAE has been pushing to develop the virtual asset sector and regulation to attract new forms of business as regional economic competition heats up.
Helal Al Marri, Director General of Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism, told an investment conference Binance Blockchain Week 2022 in Dubai that the UAE aspires to become a global capital for virtual assets and other sectors like the metaverse.
“We see the talent movement coming here, we see major corporates, banks, other multinationals that are starting to tiptoe into the space, choosing the UAE as their home to do that,” he claimed.
Dubai this month issued its first law governing virtual assets and formed the Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA) to oversee the sector.
The new regulation is part of the UAE’s drive to become a global crypto hub. It has already attracted the likes of the world’s largest crypto exchange Binance, which won a license in mid-March to operate its regional business from Dubai. The European affiliate of crypto trading platform FTX has also announced that its regional office will be there.
Bybit and Crypto.com’s moves also come as Singapore is tightening its regulatory grip on cryptocurrencies. The city-state opened its door to crypto firms with a licensing regime in January 2020 but later restricted them from advertising their services to the public.