Indian cryptopreneurs eye UAE

AFP file photo
AFP file photo

Venture capital is making a big move on crypto in 2022 and investment totalled $10 billion globally in the first quarter of this year, according to data from Pitchbook.

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Sandhya D'Mello

Published: Sun 8 May 2022, 12:03 AM

Last updated: Sun 8 May 2022, 12:06 AM

Dubai’s popularity as hot test-bed for innovation has managed to attract cryptopreneurs who are rushing to book their spot as the emirate offers abundant opportunities to set up a business and be the gateway to the global market. This has nudged Indian cryptopreneurs to expand their footprints too.

Jitendra Kale, crypto-analyst, AEDD-INRD, said: Indian crypto community plans to expand its foot print in the Middle East as Dubai is at forefront of crypto-related activities. Binance received in-principal approval from Abu Dhabi Global Market, since they have eyed Dubai for its global headquarters and its base. It is an extremely innovative approach from the Dubai government as it recognises that crypto is quite different from securities, digital tokens, and commodities and proposes a dedicated framework that can serve different parts of the value chain, manage risks, and support innovation.”

Venture capital is making a big move on crypto in 2022 and investment totalled $10 billion globally in the first quarter of this year, according to data from Pitchbook.

Dubai has almost become an emotion and a panacea for entrepreneurs building on the Web3 platform — the so-called next version of the Internet, which will be decentralised and run on the blockchain. The UAE is known to introduce policies that promote ease of doing business and hence entrepreneurs are attracted to the ever vibrant nation.

Crypto hub

Dubai is ramping up to become the cryptocurrency capital of the world as two more crypto companies have set up their offices in the city-state Cryptocurrency exchange Bybit announced last month that it would be moving its headquarters from Singapore to Dubai. Moreover, has announced to set up its regional office in the city.

So what makes Dubai special? “As regional economic competition heats up, Dubai has been encouraging the growth of the crypto sector by creating a regulatory environment to attract crypto businesses and talent to the city. Additionally, Dubai has no personal income tax. There is zero tax on any gains, including gains on Cryptocurrency. It also means there is no need for extensive record keeping and filing. Entrepreneurs say it has advantages such as networking opportunities, no restrictions on innovation, access to global opportunities, and resources that outweigh the cost of living in Dubai,” said Kale.

“This gives opportunities to develop new technology which increases investments, trades, and more opportunities for businesses to expand. Most importantly it gives immense sense of security for an entrepreneur to know the rules and regulations are futuristic and not narrowed where one cannot open arms,” he added.

The creation of a Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) to regulate the cryptocurrency sector only boosted sentiment among the businesses as the UAE displayed its foray into the disruptive sector.

Following the launch of the DMCC Crypto Centre in May 2021, DMCC has seen a surge in the number of crypto and blockchain businesses joining its free zone. In the first quarter of 2022 alone, 16 per cent of all company registrations were for crypto-related activities.

Hope in India

“As a crypto and blockchain entrepreneur, I will be proliferating my business in the best possible terms and for that matter, I will be looking for a conducive environment so that my business can proliferate. But today, what is happening is that, although a legislation has been attempted in India, it has not been comprehensive. It has not been broad-based and it has limited the ability of the market to perform because it is trying to put the participation in the digital asset area as speculative, which actually it is not. Therefore, honest businesses which are not speculative in nature and want to get into the mainstream of this business, who want their client base to be broad base, and who want to drive utility from this medium, from this new technology, will have to look out for some conducive environment and the best environment today is being promoted by the UAE in DMCC and therefore businesses are looking out to branch out. And that is what is happening with Indian entrepreneurs,” said Mumbai-based Ashish Mehta, cryptopreneur and blockchain enthusiast.

“We are very much hopeful that the government of India is taking very detailed study and preparing to come up with very supportive and conducive regulations about this space in India. As in storehouse of talent and potential, the Indian markets are huge and it also has the capabilities of leading the blockchain revolution and crypto revolution in the world. Given the depth of talent, India has and that it has demonstrated in the IT applications in the world today. So basically what cryptoprenuers are trying at this point in time is to make good use of the greener pastures which lie in outside markets today but very soon those exercises will turn out to be capacity development and capacity utilisation experiments and the bedrock of this crypto revolution will be laid back in India eventually as the government comes up with much more comprehensive and supportive regulations for our industry.”

Endorsing similar sentiment, Sathyanandhan Anguswami, founder and CEO of CGCX, said: “The UAE’s welcoming attitude towards blockchain and cryptocurrencies is positioning the region as a leading player. With its own digital currency, exchange and regulatory framework, the UAE continues to drive innovation. This is the sign that CGCX, the world’s first insured hybrid crypto platform, needed in order to take the leap to engage in this supportive environment. We look forward to enabling the region to trade popular digital currencies with peace of mind, and without the fear of cyberattacks.”

Along with Dubai, ADGM too has been boasting strong global names and has 11 fully licensed and approved in-principle virtual asset players in its community.

Sandeep Phogat, founder of PCEX, said: “The UAE consistently leads in adopting new technologies. It is one of the world’s first region to regulate cryptocurrencies and create a framework for their use, and is leading the way in their adoption. Cryptocurrencies have the ability to revolutionise the way we interact and transact; indeed, they offer faster transaction speeds at lower costs, and improved security and privacy. PCEX, with its user-friendly and secure trading platform to trade in the spot, futures, and options market, is therefore delighted to be part of the exciting movement that the region is spearheading.” —

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