Gulf Crypto Insight: Hot crypto news from the MENA region – August 27

    29 Aug 2022

    Dubai regulator issues regulations for virtual assets marketing

    Dubai’s Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA) sets market assurance and consumer protection guardrails for the virtual asset sector. On August 25, VARA announced regulatory guidelines on marketing, advertising, and promotions of virtual assets (VA) across Dubai.

    The regulations cover all forms of outreach, communications, and advertising, including publication of information, awareness building, customer engagement, and investor solicitation. The guidelines also detail the obligations of Dubai licensed VASPs and any advertising platforms that are positioning VA content across traditional and new-age media channels for the Dubai market.

    The principles are supplemented by rigid enforcement standards and penalties for non-compliance, as it augments marketing, data protection, and consumer protection laws embedded across the UAE.

    The Web 3.0 community in Dubai welcomed the new regulations as it reflects on long-term commitment.

    Abu Dhabi establishes a committee to oversee crypto regulation

    The Abu Dhabi Blockchain and Virtual Assets Committee (ADBVAC) held its first meeting under the chairmanship of HE Mohamed Ali Al Shorafa, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED) and Chairman of Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA), to discuss strategy for blockchain and virtual assets, which is aligned with the Emirates economic strategy.

    The Committee emphasized “the importance of regulating blockchain and virtual asset activities to comply with Anti Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) International and local rules and regulations, and build an ecosystem that is safe, sound, and transparent, which will help build trust and attract more companies to Abu Dhabi.”

    The Committee is established to improve Abu Dhabi’s competitiveness in blockchain and virtual asset space, coordinate efforts of entities active in the industry, liaise with regulators, and promote compliance of industry participants with global standards and regulatory requirements, particularly AML/CFT regulations, and supporting an exchange of information and best practices.

    (Source: )

    UAE luxury car manufacturer to enter Metaverse

    Based in the UAE, luxury hypercar manufacturer W Motors, in partnership with Tokengate, is set to enter the Metaverse and Web3 space.

    The new venture will include a unique collection of 10,000 “HyperWolves” NFT Profile Pictures. Owners of HyperWolves NFTs will have exclusive access to the world of W Motors — from track days, global motorsports events, and community-driven hypercar designs to factory tours, where users can follow the hypercar building process.

    NFT holders will also be awarded a virtual car designed by W Motors. Later W Motors is also planning to create its own Metaverse and game for NFT holders.

    Aiming to attract “NFT-First-Timers,” W Motors Metaverse offers to purchase an NFT via credit and debit cards without a crypto wallet.

    Ripple expands into UAE economy via partner Tranglo 

    Tranglo, Ripple’s investment partner, opens a new payment corridor to the UAE. The move has particular significance as the Arab Gulf remains a key region for the cross-border payments industry, with the UAE being one of the top senders and recipients of remittances globally. Tranglo enabled Ripple’s On-Demand Liquidity (ODL) service for all of its payment corridors in March after the success of its test ODL deployment in September 2021, with 250,000 transactions totaling $48 million completed in the first 100 days.

    Digital asset firm Group launches OTC trading platform in Dubai Group has announced the launch of its over-the-counter (OTC) trading platform Gate OTC in Dubai. The launch of Gate OTC comes as Gate MENA DMCC acquired “a license from the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) to engage in proprietary trading in crypto commodities.” 

    OTC trading offers an alternative to executing large trades on the buy/sell market order book. Large order book trades can have heavy price impacts, long execution times, and increased risk. To bolster the platform’s security, the trading platform partners with leading firms such as Cynopsis Solutions and Coinfirm.

    Established in 2013, Group claims it runs a comprehensive ecosystem, which includes a cryptocurrency exchange, decentralized finance, research and analysis, venture capital investing, wallet services, and startup incubator labs, serving over 10 million users around the world.

    Is Saudi Shiba Inu yet another vaporware meme coin?

    With a recent 450% price increase, Saudi Shiba Inu (SAUDISHIB) has managed to steal briefly the spotlight in the crypto industry and social media. 

    Saudi Shiba Inu is a new DeFi meme-coin hosted on the Binance Smart Chain (BSC) network that also has an NFT platform and its own NFT collection. One of the main reasons why this project was developed is to influence Arabs to purchase the Saudi version of Shiba Inu instead of the original SHIB.

    The most notable feature is auto staking, which allows SAUDISHIB owners to earn passive income on each transaction made on the platform (2% of each transaction). However, there are two major downsides seen to the project – high transaction fees and a lack of real utility. 

    Despite 450% price increase, experts believe the price of SAUDISHIB won’t go much higher.

    Taliban ban crypto in Afghanistan and shut down crypto exchanges 

    Afghanistan’s central bank imposed a nationwide ban on cryptocurrencies this month. Afghani police force shut down 16 cryptocurrency exchanges in the western Herat province over the past week, local media outlet Ariana News reported on August 24.

    The crackdown comes after some Afghans turned to cryptocurrencies to preserve their wealth and keep it out of the Taliban’s reach. Crypto has become a popular way of moving money in and out of the country, which is shut off from the global banking system due to sanctions leveled on the militant group.

    Iranian importer association calls for crypto regulation

    Iran’s association of importers has stressed the need for a regulatory framework for crypto now that the Iranian government has recently used crypto to pay for imports.

    As government officials see it, by the end of September 2022, the use of cryptocurrencies will be widespread in foreign trade with target countries. In this context, Alireza Managhebi, the chairman of Iran’s Importers Group and Representatives of Foreign Companies (Imports Association), pointed out that a stable regulatory framework should be established for cryptocurrencies to be successfully used as a means of payment for imports. 

    The chairman also implied the need for fixed set of rules provided by the Iranian government that will remain unchanged for at least several months will allow businesses to keep being active in the digital field without being harmed.

    The association official opined that it is necessary to educate and train people to use this new technology in Iran as well as have stable regulations in this regard.

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