UAE: School, law firm to accept cryptocurrencies for fee payments

Firms say that Dubai Government's first law on virtual assets are encouraging them to move in this direction


Nandini Sircar

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Published: Mon 16 May 2022, 1:27 PM

Last updated: Mon 16 May 2022, 10:28 PM

In a first, a Dubai-based law firm will now be accepting payments in cryptocurrencies from its clients.

This month onwards, Ashish Mehta & Associates, Solicitors and Legal Consultants have started taking its nascent steps into the digital-asset universe.

Clients of the law firm will be able to pay in digital tokens. The law firm will initially accept cryptocurrencies including Tether USD, Bitcoin and Ethereum.

Ashish Mehta, founder and managing partner of the firms said, “the world is moving towards digital solutions to keep up with the advanced developments. But I would like to highlight that the regulatory and compliance framework devised by the government of Dubai and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has greatly encouraged our firm to accept payments in cryptocurrencies.”

“I thought if the government is providing regulatory framework infrastructure, it would be a good start to jump on to the bandwagon and be the first law firm in Dubai to accept payments in crypto. Larger local companies without naming are doing this as well. When certain commercial enterprises with external shareholders are also holding or receiving payments in crypto, so in a similar way, we are all sailing in the same boat,” he added.

According to Chainalysis, the Middle East is one of the fastest-growing cryptocurrency markets in the world, making up 7 per cent of global trading volumes.

Payments using cryptocurrencies are accepted through a tie up with a digital currency platform which processes cryptocurrency payments and automatically converts them to Dirhams (AED).

He adds, “I have always believed and followed the vision of the Dubai government. The government even has a virtual assets regulatory authority. They have also established crypto centers. So, obviously this is just the tip of the iceberg. As time goes by, all these regulations will be clear they will evolve and then there would be a standard regulatory framework, with more details… that I am sure would follow. It will be easier for everybody to follow those rules when the details are announced.”

While reporting cryptocurrency profits and expenses on the annual tax returns may seem a little cryptic now, Mehta explains regulatory clarity will soon be revealed making it easier for people to understand.

“Sooner than later regulations in the UAE will provide us or will require us to report these in a certain format. We will obviously have to comply with the guidelines accordingly.”

Dubai-based school to accept payment in digital currencies

Availing the new payment option is a soon to launch Dubai school, which has become the first in the Middle East to accept cryptocurrencies for tuition fee payments.

Citizens school, which is set to open its doors in September 2022, has announced that it will accept cryptocurrency as a mode of payment.

The institution will accept payments from the two major cryptocurrencies Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) aiming to provide parents with flexible payment options, apart from traditional forms of payments.

Dr Adil Alzarooni, founder of Citizens School said, “A while ago, cryptocurrency was only a floating term among well-versed investors. However, today cryptocurrency is becoming much more mainstream reshaping the traditional financial system. Similarly, Citizens is disrupting the education sector by re-imagining every element of the learning experience – be it the way our children learn, how we equip our teachers to be mentors, what our learners choose to wear, or the ways that parents can pay for tuition. By introducing this new payment facility, we look forward to enhancing the role of young generations in achieving the UAE’s digital economy. As more people embrace the era of digitalization, today’s children will become the entrepreneurs and investors of tomorrow.”

Businesses moving towards cryptocurrency payment options reiterate that Dubai Government’s adoption of its first law regulating virtual assets – ensuring a safe and advanced legal framework for investors – is propelling them to align themselves to the UAE’s vision of becoming a global digital economy.

Hisham Hodroge, CEO of Citizens School said, “Introducing the ability to pay tuition fees through cryptocurrencies goes beyond just providing another payment option. It is aimed at creating an interest in growing trends and breakthrough technologies that will have a profound effect on the lives of young generations. It is also a means to further drive interest in the applications of blockchain – a technology that Citizens School intends to deploy, in time, across several aspects of its academic and administrative operations.”

Acceptance of certain cryptos growing exponentially in the country

Earlier, a Dubai-based grocery delivery service YallaMarket also said it will accept cryptocurrencies as a form of payment on its mobile app.

YallaMarket payment system accepts stable coins USDT (Tether) and USDC.

Apart from launching a new payment method for its clients, the startup is also looking to receive crypto investments from Mena-based partners.

It is also planning to pay salaries to its staff via digital assets in the future.


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