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Abu Dhabi aiming to be global cryptocurrency leader

Abu Dhabi is reducing its reliance on oil and gas while increasing its focus on the cryptocurrency industry with an aim to be the leading crypto hub in the Middle East.

Having already established an initial regulatory framework for its cryptocurrency environment in 2018, the Emirate has targeted the attention of digital asset firms in their bid to create a flourishing market for the crypto industry.

With the creation of the Matrix Exchange and Midchains, the two regulated digital asset exchanges in Abu Dhabi, a third DEX is on the way, according to Shorafa Al Hammadi, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development.

Al Hammadi said the cryptocurrency ecosystem in Abu Dhabi is working to pinpoint the issues with its framework so it proves an attractive opportunity for those influential individuals in the industry.

“The whole ecosystem in Abu Dhabi is working together to make it easy for all the actors of that space, to not only attract them but bring them here [and] to develop the legal framework,” he said.

“[We want] to find what are the pain points worldwide so we can remove them, and have a very strong robust regulatory framework for those people.”

Crypto investment

It’s been a long road for Abu Dhabi in its quest to become a major player in the crypto world, with the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) launching its regulatory framework for spot crypto asset activities in 2018.

Since then, the state-owned Mubadala fund announced its investment in the crypto ecosystem, further demonstrating the capabilities of the capital.

Mubadala CEO Khaldoon Al-Mubarak, also known for his role of chairman at Manchester City football club, mentioned the fast-growing value of the industry as a reason for the fund’s investment.

“I think, you know, this is a business that had, what $200 billion worth of crypto value two years ago, and it’s two and a half trillion dollars today and growing,” Mubarak said.

“So I think while many people are sceptics, I don’t fall in that category.”