In a recent Forbes piece, it was noted that the virtual asset regulatory authority in Dubai expects to see several hundred virtual assets exchanges and service providers enter its licensing regime. This comes as CEOs of major crypto exchanges laud both UAE and Hong Kong as crypto hubs.

As per Henson Orser CEO of VARA, speaking to Forbes, “VARA makes Dubai one of a handful of global jurisdictions implementing a mature framework for crypto and virtual assets. The VARA framework expects to see several hundred virtual asset exchanges and service providers in Dubai start to come into its licensing regime in 2023.”

At the same time Hong Kong is also competing to get a piece of the crypto and digital asset market with the launch of new crypto licensing regime. In addition Hong Kong’s banking regulator is pressuring financial institutions including HSBC and Standard Chartered to take on crypto exchanges as clients.

In parallel the Central Bank of UAE came out with its new guidance on anti-money laundering and combatting the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) for Licensed Financial Institutions (LFIs), banks, finance companies, exchange houses, payment service providers, towards virtual assets and Virtual asset service providers. While VARA came out with its virtual asset rulebook for, the virtual assets transfer,  and settlement service. 

Both countries are showing digital asset entities that they are serious for business. In a Yahoo article, Ben Caselin, CEO of Maskex states Dubai and Hong Kong are establishing themselves as crypto hubs by recognizing the potential for virtual assets and blockchain technology.

He explains, “Much of the discussion has focused on whether Dubai, Hong Kong or indeed some other jurisdiction will come out on top. However, the debate is much more nuanced than that. The emergence of Dubai and Hong Kong as crypto centers is really a testament to the power of healthy competition in spurring innovation in the Web3 space.”

He believes that as the U.S. grapples with crypto regulation, there is a real opportunity for other countries to assert themselves on the more level playing field provided by a digital-first global economy. With favorable yet robust regulatory environments, both Dubai and Hong Kong are well-positioned to lead the way.

Despite being on similar paths, Dubai and Hong Kong have different motivations for their push into crypto and the Web3 space. To him Hong Kong wants to reinvigorate the greater Chinese economy, while Dubai seeks to shift its dependence on oil.

Yet he contends that both have recognized the scale of opportunity and understand that by pooling resources they could be at the forefront of a new wave of digital innovation leading advancements in the scalability, privacy and interoperability of blockchains, therefore benefiting the entire crypto ecosystem.