As the BIS (Bank for International Settlements) announced that it had reached a minimum viable product stage, Saleh Algrayan, AI Advisor at Bank for International Settlements and an employee of Saudi Central Bank, announced that Saudi Central Bank had now joined mBridge. Saudi Arabia’s Central Bank becomes the second Arab central bank to join after the UAE Central Bank.

Saleh Algrayan noted on LinkedIn, “I am immensely proud to announce that the Saudi Central Bank – SAMA has joined Project mBridge as a full participant, coinciding with the project reaching its minimum viable product (MVP) stage! As a dedicated SAMA employee and Advisor at the Bank for International Settlements – BIS Innovation Hub (BISIH) – Hong Kong Centre, I am honoured to be part of this revolutionary journey.”

He adds, “Project mBridge, leveraging advanced distributed ledger technology (DLT), aims to transform cross-border payments by addressing high costs, slow speeds, and operational complexities. This collaborative effort, starting in 2021 with partners like the Bank of Thailand, UAE Central Bank, Digital Currency Institute of the People’s Bank of China, and the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, now includes over 26 observers.”

He added, that SAMA’s participation marks a significant step forward, demonstrating the kingdom’s leadership in global financial innovation. He concluded, “We are paving the way for efficient, cost-effective, and instant cross-border transactions, addressing financial inclusion and making payments universally accessible.”

The Saudi Central Bank had previously participated in a CBDC project with the UAE under the name of ABER.

The announcement followed BIS press release where it invited private sector participants to propose value-added solutions that can be connected to the mBridge MVP platform.

The press release noted, “Project mBridge is the result of extensive collaboration starting in 2021 between the BIS Innovation Hub, the Bank of Thailand, the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates, the Digital Currency Institute of the People’s Bank of China and the Hong Kong Monetary Authority. The Saudi Central Bank is joining mBridge as a full participant. There are also now more than 26 observing members. More central banks and commercial banks can join the platform through the mBridge MVP legal framework and perform real transactions on it. Project expands international cooperation with a new full member and observers.”

The project aims to explore a multi-central bank digital currency (CBDC) platform shared among participating central banks and commercial banks, built on distributed ledger technology (DLT) to enable instant cross-border payments and settlement.

Project mBridge was the result of extensive collaboration starting in 2021 between the BIS Innovation Hub, the Bank of Thailand, the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates, the Digital Currency Institute of the People’s Bank of China and the Hong Kong Monetary Authority. The Saudi Central Bank is joining mBridge as a full participant. There are also now more than 26 observing members.

The project aims to tackle some of the key inefficiencies in cross-border payments, including high costs, low speed and operational complexities. It also addresses financial inclusion concerns, particularly in jurisdictions where correspondent banking (which connects countries to the global financial system) has been in retreat, causing additional costs and delays. Multi-CBDC arrangements that connect different jurisdictions in a single common technical infrastructure offer significant potential to improve the current system and allow cross-border payments to be immediate, cheap and universally accessible with final settlement.

A platform based on a new blockchain – the mBridge Ledger – was built to support real-time, peer-to-peer, cross-border payments and foreign exchange transactions. In 2022, a pilot with real-value transactions was conducted. Since then, the mBridge project team has been exploring whether the prototype platform could evolve to become an MVP – a stage now reached.

Four-founding participant central banks and monetary authorities have each deployed a validating node, while commercial banks have conducted more real-value transactions in preparation for the MVP release. In tandem, the project steering committee has created a bespoke governance and legal framework, including a rulebook, tailored to match the platform’s unique decentralized nature.

The MVP platform is enabled to undertake real-value transactions (subject to jurisdictional preparedness) and is also compatible with the Ethereum Virtual Machine. This allows it to be a testbed for add-on technology solutions, new use cases and interoperability with other platforms.

It is noteworthy that Qatar Central Bank recently launched its CBDC project for settling large payments with local and international banks.

UAE based AMINA Bank, previously know as SEBA crypto bank, regulated in Abu Dhabi ADGM, has published an interesting article on Ethereum, and ETH being designated as a security. According to AMINA Bank, the question on the minds of Ethereum investors is whether or not Ether is a security given the pending US decision on spot Ether ETFs ( Exchange Traded Funds).

As per the article on one hand, the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has defined ETH, along with several other cryptocurrencies, as commodities. Conversely, US Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Gary Gensler has refrained from providing a clear stance. This was further amplified during his Congressional hearing in April 2023, he repeatedly avoided giving a definite answer. Even recently, he did the same in an interview – refused to give a clear answer to the question. This lack of clarity has left the crypto community uncertain about the possibility of a shift for the cryptocurrency from its current legal ambiguity.

Concerns escalated when the Ethereum Foundation recently disclosed being subpoenaed by an unnamed “state authority,” suspected by many to be the SEC, although Fortune claimed it was the US SEC, unconfirmed by the SEC itself. Although there were bigger factors in play, this regulatory uncertainty has partly contributed to the abysmal performance of ETH relative to BTC since the start of 2023.

To confront the SEC and address ETH’s legal standing, Ethereum software development firm Consensys has filed a lawsuit recently. The lawsuit says that the SEC lacks jurisdiction to regulate global, peer-to-peer computer networks and this includes Ethereum.

Consensys argues that the SEC’s extensive reach into commodities, software, and emerging technology platforms is illegal. According to the lawsuit, if the SEC’s influence prevails, it could nullify efforts by Congress, the Federal Reserve, and the Treasury on stablecoins, undermining established US policy priorities and granting technological superiority to nations beyond the US.

AMINA Bank believes that it currently seems unlikely that ETH will be declared a security. However, for investors, it is important to understand the implications if it were to go the other way, so let’s dive in. To state the obvious, if ETH were indeed designated as a security, it would pose significant risks to the entire crypto and decentralized finance (DeFi) ecosystem. ETH currently is the backbone of DeFi, being extensively integrated within it. It functions as the native gas token for the Ethereum blockchain and its scaling solutions.

It serves as widely accepted collateral in DeFi and boasts of the largest developer community in the crypto space. Once a security, all infrastructure that lets users use ETH could be seen as unregistered securities brokers. Exchanges seeking to list Ether would need to register as securities broker-dealers with the SEC. Most teams in crypto may exit the space if subjected to such operational complexity.

Another possible implication is that protocols may start prefering Proof-of-Work (PoW) consensus. In a Proof-of-Stake (PoS) system, entities with larger token holdings have a greater chance of validating the next Ethereum block and receiving block rewards for the same in ETH.

Gensler has suggested that such PoS chains, rewarding users for locking up their coins, resemble investment contracts and could be deemed securities, without specifically mentioning ETH. Given that most major blockchains, apart from PoW Bitcoin, work on PoS like Ethereum, regulators might extend similar classifications to them.

Additionally, non-ETH tokens hosted on the Ethereum blockchain could also face repercussions due to being so closely integrated with a supposed security (ETH). This is why new blockchains may want to then go back to the PoW consensus mechanism to avoid regulatory scrutiny.

It’s fair to say that this would not only put a hold on but potentially even reverse years of progress across the cryptocurrency market. This is a doomsday scenario for cryptocurrency investors which currently is unlikely to happen.

The argument against ETH being classified as a security revolves around the nature of ETH tokens themselves. Unlike stocks or bonds, ETH tokens do not represent legal ownership of any business entity. They are essentially code stored in a decentralized database. When considering whether ETH qualifies as a security, the crucial question is whether the offer and sale of ETH tokens constitute an investment contract under the Howey test.

The Howey Test is used in the US to determine whether certain transactions qualify as investment contracts. Under the Howey Test, a transaction is an investment contract if:

It is an investment of money.

The investment of money is in a common enterprise.

There is an expectation of profits from the investment.

Profits come from the efforts of some particular others.

At the time of Ethereum’s ICO in 2014, when the community was smaller, ETH may have met the criteria of the Howey test. This is because participants likely invested money expecting profits based on the efforts of a few select others like founder Vitalik Buterin and some core developers.

There was also an expectation of profit for ICO investors. It could have also been considered a “common enterprise” due to the founding team being the only members of the Ethereum community at the time of ICO. However, the SEC did not act then.

Today, several factors suggest that ETH does not meet the Howey test criteria the way it is right now. Firstly, with the rise of DeFi, ETH serves as more than just an investment – it also has utility in paying gas fees for transactions onchain.

Additionally, Ethereum has become increasingly decentralized with a diverse developer community (over 7000 monthly active developers throughout 2023) and network success no longer dependent solely on the efforts of specific individuals like the Ethereum Foundation. From a security standpoint, there is no single gatekeeper. The total number of active validators for Ethereum has exceeded the 1 million mark, according to data from Glassnode.

Many were concerned as liquid staking provider Lido Finance neared the 33% threshold mark in percentage of ETH staked. However, this is now down to 28% at the time of writing. Also, Lido is not a single entity and currently has over 30 node operators.

But does Proof-of-Stake make ETH a security as Gensler believes? In PoS, running a validator node on the Ethereum network is considered a service, not an investment scheme. This is because rewards are contingent on honest behavior during validation.

Dishonest actors may face slashing of their stake. However, staking services provided by centralized platforms like Coinbase or Kraken may blur the line, potentially exposing providers to legal action. Nonetheless, this does not affect ETH’s classification.

As obvious as it may sound, another reason why ETH may not be classified as a security is because it currently is not so. CFTC has allowed ETH futures trading and has explicitly stated ETH as a commodity. This reinforces the argument against ETH being classified as a security. The SEC’s approval of ETH futures ETFs for trading on regulated security exchanges also underscores ETH’s non-security status and falls outside the SEC’s jurisdiction.

AMINA Bank article concludes that it seems that the US SEC is refusing to take a clear stance on this matter in order to confine ETH within a grey area, thereby allowing it to delay the decision on the applications of the US spot Ether ETFs filed by financial behemoths like BlackRock, Fidelity, Greyscale and others.

A complete list of Ether ETFs can be found here. Regardless of the SEC’s eventual decision on ETH’s security status, we hope it positively contributes to the future of crypto and finance.

In a very interesting tweet on the X platform, RAK DAO ( Ras Al Khaimah’s Digital Asset Oasis) free zone welcomed the founder and creator of the Ethereum Blockchain, Vitalik Buterin.

In the tweet, RAK DAO states,” At RAK DAO, our fundamental belief in the transformative power of community has played a pivotal role in shaping our ecosystem. Our commitment to fostering innovation through collaboration recently materialized in a significant event, graced by the presence of His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, UAE Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, alongside Vitalik Buterin, the Co-Founder of Ethereum, here in Ras Al Khaimah. This gathering reaffirmed our ongoing dedication to providing a platform where innovative ideas flourish, collaborations thrive, and the spirit of progress prevails. “

In February 2023, the Government of Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) announced that it would be launching the RAK Digital Assets Oasis free zone dedicated to digital and virtual asset companies for non-regulated entities.

This meant that the UAE would now have two crypto Blockchain Oases, one in DMCC for regulated blockchain and crypto entities and one in RAK for soft regulated entities. As per the announcement RAK DAO was supposed to launch in Q2 of 2023, but its official launch happened in October 2023.

Ras Al Khaimah Digital Assets Oasis (RAK DAO), marked the inception of a new era in digital evolution and Web3 collaboration within Ras Al Khaimah. Businesses dealing with digital assets, including cryptocurrencies, could operate under fewer regulatory restrictions.RAK Digital Assets Oasis, is the first common law and specialized free zone exclusively dedicated to companies involved in digital and virtual assets.

Since then, RAK DAO has been setting up partnerships as it entices blockchain, Web3, metaverse, and crypto companies to set up base in the Oasis. It partnered with The HBAR Foundation having signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with them. According to the MOU, The HBAR Foundation would support RAK DAO ecosystem members to leverage the power of blockchain and build economies and applications on Hedera, the most used enterprise-grade public network.

In an interview with Bloomberg News, Trust Wallet, self-custody crypto wallet, majority owned by the former CEO of Binance announced its operations in the UAE both in RAKDAO (Digital assets Oasis) free zone in Ras Al Khaimah and in ADGM in Abu Dhabi.

Vitalik’s visit comes after he released Ethereum’s roadmap for 2024 which will focus on scalability, security and sustainability improvements.

Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin announced the plan on social media on Dec. 31, outlining several key initiatives for the platform’s development. ‘The Surge,’ a crucial component of Ethereum’s roadmap, aims to increase network scalability through data sharding. By dividing the blockchain into smaller parts, Ethereum intends to boost its transaction processing capabilities and reduce costs, addressing one of the most pressing issues faced by blockchain technologies today.

This development is expected to bring Ethereum closer to achieving its goal of processing over 100,000 transactions per second, as noted by Buterin in recent statements

Could this visit be another partnership in the making? Is the Ethereum founder finally interested in the UAE and Middle East?

Japanese Monex Group, which runs a crypto exchange and asset management has purchased a majority stake in Canadian 3IQ digital asset Fund manager, which was the first to list a Bitcoin Fund in the MENA region out of Nasdaq Dubai. 3iQ had received regulatory approval from DIFC in UAE to list the fund in April 2021 with UAE Based Dalma Capital is the syndicate manager for the fund expansion in the MENA region.

3IQ was also the first to launched regulated exchange listed funds for Bitcoin and Ethereum in North America. Fred Pye in an interview back in 2022 has stated that there would be new funds launched in MENA through Dubai.

Monex Group will acquire majority stake for $39.8 million according to Reuters.

In January 2021 3iQ digital asset fund, had marked the milestone achievement of 1 billion USD in the fund since it was launched in March 2020, which was a 900 percent growth from its previous record of 100 million USD worth of crypto in the fund.

3iQ recently unveiled the industry’s first-ever comprehensive suite of crypto hedge fund managed accounts through their innovative 3iQ Managed Account Platform (QMAP). This pioneering platform is not just a first but a revolution, seamlessly connecting institutions with cutting-edge digital asset alpha strategies. QMAP stands as a beacon of security, transparency, and efficiency, meticulously designed to meet the complex demands of institutional investors worldwide.

“Our long term strategy is to strengthen our asset management business, and by welcoming 3iQ to our group, we aim to achieve high growth by capturing the crypto asset management needs of institutional investors and crypto asset exchanges around the world, which are expected to grow in the future, ” said Yuko Seimei, CEO of Monex Group.

“We’re absolutely thrilled about this incredible opportunity to join forces with Monex Group,” said Frederick T. Pye, Chairman and CEO of 3iQ, “This partnership is not just about growth; it’s a thrilling leap towards realizing our dream. We’ve always been passionate about bringing regulated, innovative digital asset products to investors worldwide, and now, with Monex Group, we can turbocharge this mission. We’re eagerly looking forward to being a part of the Monex family, especially collaborating with Coincheck – Japan’s crypto exchange powerhouse with a staggering 1.8 million customer accounts. Imagine the synergy. With 3iQ’s expertise in crafting exceptional crypto-asset products, we’re poised to bolster Coincheck’s offerings, especially for institutional investors. This is beyond a win-win – it’s a joyous, groundbreaking collaboration that promises to reshape our industry!”

MetaMask self-custody crypto wallet announced on twitter that it has partnered with several entities across the globe including Egyptian payment provider Vodafone Cash to offer new ways to onboard crypto around the world.

MetaMask stated, “We’ve unlocked new ways to onboard to crypto around the world! -Vietnam: VietQR, Mobile Money, Philippines: GCash, Indonesia: QRIS, Thailand: Thai QR, Egypt: Vodafone Cash and Chile: Webpay

MetaMask has introduced a new ‘sell’ feature on its mobile app, enabling users across the world to exchange crypto for cash easily. In Africa, the feature is available for Nigerian and Egyptian users.

Metamask also announced that it is offering local transfers in  in Vietnam, Malaysia, Japan, and South Korea.????

The partnership between MetaMask and Egyptian based Vodafone Cash is interesting given that Egypt has not legalized or regulated crypto trading and transfers.

The MetaMask wallet was downloaded the most in India and the United States, although 2023 data suggests growing popularity in other countries, most notably Brazil, Indonesia, Russia, India, and Nigeria.

In the Arab World, Metamask has been downloaded in Algeria, and Egypt.

MetaMask in December 2023 had 30 million users globally.

Although MetaMask is user-friendly, the wallet only comes pre-installed with the Ethereum network. Those wishing to add additional networks – such as Binance Smart Chain or Polygon, need to do this manually.  It doe not support Bitcoin.

MetaMask supports all cryptocurrency tokens on the Arbitrum, Optimism, Binance Smart Chain, Polygon, and Avalanche networks.

This comes as Egypt develops its CBDC ( Central Bank Digital Currency). In December 2023 Abdel Monem Al-Sayed, Director of the Cairo Center for Economic and Strategic Studies, noted that the state is prioritizing digital transformation. The aim is to decrease reliance on cash and printed currency.  

Egypt started on its CBDC project in December 2022. Egyptian Central bank announced that it was currently studying the implementation of CBDC (Central Bank Digital Currency) which should offer a safer and more secure replacement to current cryptocurrencies and the risks associated with them while making use of digital economy.

UAE digital assets infrastructure provider Fuze has partnered with Abu Dhabi headquartered Wio Bank to empower its customers with virtual assets trading services.

Customers will be able to buy and sell popular cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, directly through Wio Bank’s recently launched application, Wio Personal.

Wio Personal is an intelligent everyday banking application redefining the way individuals see, manage, and grow their money. The personal banking application allows all customers to start investing simply and effortlessly. Wio Personal users can access thousands of global stocks, ETFs, fractional shares and even UAE IPOs seamlessly in a single, integrated app.

Speaking about the significance of the partnership, Jayesh Patel, CEO of Wio Bank PJSC, said, “The region is emerging as an important hub for cryptocurrency and there is a demand from customers for convenient, seamless access to crypto trading services integrated within their daily banking apps. As a business that was created to catalyze the digital banking ecosystem, we are excited at the opportunities this collaboration with Fuze provides, to better serve our customers and support the UAE’s forward-thinking transformation of the financial services sector. Fuze mirrors our own robust governance, compliance, and risk capabilities, so our customers can be confident in having secure access to Virtual Assets.”

Mohammed Ali Yusuf (Mo Ali Yusuf), Co-Founder and CEO of Fuze, added, “As a regulated provider, we are proud to partner with Wio Bank, which has already made tremendous strides in redefining banking for the modern era across the region. There is a clear synergy with our mission to build the future of finance and we look forward to supporting Wio Bank in delivering regulated, trusted crypto services to its flourishing customer base.”

In a recent UAE poll suggested 48% of crypto users lacked trust in crypto exchanges. Through such partnerships, neobanks can provide regulated options for their customers and help to increase trust in the crypto ecosystem.

Laser Digital, crypto broker and investment service provider, a subsidiary of Japanese Nomura regulated in UAE by Dubai’s virtual asset regulatory authority, has launched their Ethereum Adoption Fund. The Fund, which invests in long-only spot positions in Ethereum, also deploys a yield enhancement strategy by staking the Ethereum held by the fund.

Prior to this Laser Digital Asset Management launched in September, the Bitcoin Adoption Fund.

The ‘Laser Digital Ethereum Adoption Fund SP’ is a segregated portfolio of Laser Digital Funds SPC (a segregated portfolio company incorporated with limited liability under the laws of the Cayman Islands under registration number MC-401019).

Komainu, also regulated in UAE and UK will provide secure, regulated custody for the fund’s assets.

On launching the fund, Sebastien Guglietta, Head of Laser Digital Asset Management commented, “Technology is a key driver of economic growth and transforms a large part of the economy from being analogue to digital. Ethereum is one of the enablers of this long-lasting transformational change. Hence, being exposed to Ethereum in the long run is considered a solution to capture this structural technology trend and the pace at which the Web 3.0 economy expands its network effect.”

 Fiona King, Head of Distribution, Laser Digital Asset Management added: “We’re excited to now be able to offer institutional investors a regulated product to allow investment and even staking in Ethereum. Our product simplifies digital asset investment strategies, driving institutional engagement securely.”

Laser Digital was launched by Nomura and was co-founded by Steven Ashley, who previously led Nomura’s wholesale division and Jez Mohideen, who was Nomura’s Chief Digital Officer and Co-Head of Global Markets EMEA. Headquartered in Switzerland, Laser Digital combines the rigor, best practices, and capabilities from global investment banking with the experience of a crypto-native team.

UAE based M2 crypto exchange and investment platform has partnered with UAE crypto mining Group Phoenix, to offer crypt investors with Bitcoin and Ethereum yields that reach up to 10.5%.

The alliance brings together the innovative UAE based entities and will reduce the level of counter party risk and in turn minimize volatility for investors wanting to gain exposure to cryptocurrency.

Stefan Kimmel, M2, CEO, said: “The industry leading collaboration between M2 and Phoenix Group has allowed us to design a product that utilizes Bitcoin mining to offer genuine returns for investors. Most investment platforms that offer yield returns on crypto provide it through one of two routes. The first route is proof of stake, which can result in some modest returns, alternatively the mechanic involves lending it out, and this incurs a considerable amount of counter-party risk. In our case, we are generating our returns predominantly with Bitcoin mining, which underpins the M2 Earn product.”

M2’s financial protocols are capable of reconciling client and M2 funds in near time, providing the highest levels of transparency to regulators and ensuring liquidity remains in place at all times.

The partnership with Phoenix Group empowers M2 to offer investors the assurance of investment yields based on real returns, which are generated via a 725MW Bitcoin mining operation. Founded in 2017 by Bijan Alizadeh and Munaf Ali. Phoenix aims to be the first privately owned crypto and blockchain entity to be listed on a Middle East stock market.

Bijan Alizadeh, Phoenix Group, Co – Founder and Group CEO M2, Founder and Managing Director “Phoenix vision was to set up and build an established UAE Crypto exchange, with full services for both retail and institutional investors and seeing this come to fruition is a very proud moment for us. With this strategic partnership we are in a position to provide unparalleled returns backed by the worlds largest bitcoin mining operations. We are delighted to announce this partnership which further cements the M2 and Phoenix proposition towards a collective vision, building the future of finance on secure and regulated investment products for all investors.”

“M2 has obtained a Bahamas License issued by the Securities Commission of the Bahamas (SCB), which enables it to offer the M2 Earn product to a global audience. M2 is also actively pursuing licenses in several European countries and navigating the Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) licensing process.

M2 Group’s  commitment to the UAE is further showcased by our two other entities: M2 Limited and M2 Custody Limited (M2 ADGM). Both are headquartered in the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM).

M2 is also working towards obtaining the necessary regulatory approvals to allow UAE residents to onboard, in addition to M2, with M2 ADGM which will be regulated by the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) of ADGM. M2 ADGM will be going live at a later date with their ADGM license.

Two new crypto tokens TonCoin (TON), and Ripple’s XRP have joined Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum, and Litecoin as recognized crypto tokens by the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA), the financial regulatory agency of the special economic zone, the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).

One year since the launch of DFSA the crypto token regime and five crypto tokens can now be utilized by virtual asset firms within the DIFC. License firms will be able to incorporate XRP and TON into their virtual asset services. XRP and TON will be available for use by institutions located in the DIFC to accelerate faster, more efficient global value exchange.

Commenting on the acceptance of XRP in DIFC crypto token regime, Brad Garlinghouse, CEO of Ripple,  “Dubai continues to demonstrate global leadership when it comes to the regulation of virtual assets and nurturing innovation. It’s refreshing to see the DFSA encourage the adoption and use of digital assets such as XRP to position Dubai as a leading financial services hub intent on attracting foreign investment and accelerating economic growth. Ripple will continue to double down on its presence in Dubai and we look forward to continuing to work closely with regulators to realize crypto’s full potential.”

The recognition of TON comes a few days after TON set a world record for network speed. The TON team conducted a public test of blockchain speed. The developers reported that in 12 minutes of the experiment about 42 million transactions were performed, and the maximum speed amounted to 108,409 transactions per second.

Under the regime, firms in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) can apply for and obtain a license to provide financial services with Crypto Tokens in or from the DIFC. The DFSA’s regulatory regime is largely technology-neutral, allowing firms to provide a wide range of financial services with Crypto Tokens.

The framework is designed to accommodate firms who want to operate a Crypto Token market, provide custodial services, manage clients’ assets, establish or manage funds, or provide other financial services. The rules cover a wide range of risks relating to financial crime, technology, governance, custody, disclosure, market abuse and fraud.

Since its inception the crypto token regime has received enquiries from 100+ firms have inquired regarding operating a Crypto Token business, 5 Crypto Token variations were issued (a mix of funds and trading business). In addition one license to offer Investment Tokens was issued (to tokenize units of a fund);  and five crypto tokens have now been recognized.

DFSA will be launching its next set of proposals that will focus on custody; financial Crime; Staking for Proof of Stake (PoS) consensus mechanisms; and Fund Management

In a recent survey carried out by Deel, a global HR platform within the GCC and MENA region, the findings found that 51% of employees being paid in crypto prefer Ethereum

Employee cryptocurrency withdrawals within the GCC highlighted a growing level of adoption among individuals, who are now using cryptocurrencies as a viable medium for receiving employer payments. Conducting an extensive survey, Deel engaged with over 1600 employees and over 700 organizations in the UAE to gather valuable insights.

Of the 700 organizations surveyed in the UAE, 87% of employees were using crypto for salary payments. Of the 1600 employees surveyed only 8% were being paid in crypto in KSA while in Qatar it was 4.8%.

Exploring the Deel data beyond the UAE, Egypt places itself in the spotlight by a substantial margin, witnessing over 25,000 employee withdrawals using crypto in the last 12 months. Tracking Egypt’s trajectory, the roster of pioneering nations also includes Morocco, and Lebanon, each carving its path towards cryptocurrency adoption.

Notably, Ethereum (ETH) claims the top spot as the preferred cryptocurrency for withdrawals, commanding 51.2%. The US Dollar backed stablecoin USDC follows suit at 24.5%, while Bitcoin (BTC) controls 20.2% of the landscape. Solana (SOL) and Dash wrap up the top five most used cryptocurrencies with 2.5% and 1.6%, respectively, contributing to the crypto withdrawals landscape.

Tarek Salam, Head of Expansion from Deel, stated, “The Deel research provides an interesting window on the latest trends within the employment sector. It is truly great to witness the rapid surge in cryptocurrency adoption within the UAE and the wider region. The regulators have played a commendable role in encouraging greater participation in the cryptocurrency ecosystem and it’s a trend that we will be watching with interest as adoption continues to grow.”

Deel is a leading global compliance and payroll solution that helps businesses hire anyone, anywhere. Deel’s technology offers unmatched payroll, HR, compliance, perks, benefits, and other capabilities needed to hire and manage a global team.