Coinbase Eyeing UAE as Web3 Hub Amid U.S. Regulatory Crisis

Coinbase Eyeing UAE as Web3 Hub Amid U.S. Regulatory Crisis

Global crypto exchange Coinbase, amid ongoing difficulties with US regulators, is considering establishing an international hub in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong believes the UAE is well positioned to expand and serve markets in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia, and praised the country for its forward-thinking approach to crypto regulation.

The crypto exchange firm has expressed interest in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as a potential location for an international hub. In an interview with Bloomberg TV, CEO Brian Armstrong stated that the company is exploring options for a hub that could serve a variety of countries worldwide. He added that the UAE's strategic location makes it an ideal choice for expanding and catering to markets in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia.

“We are looking for a home to set up an international hub that could serve the long tail of countries in the world,” Armstrong shared.

At the Dubai FinTech Summit 2023, Armstrong commended the UAE for its progressive stance on crypto, highlighting that the region serves as a "strategic bridge" between Asia and Europe, two of Coinbase's existing focus areas. He acknowledged the UAE's regulatory environment as being more forward-thinking compared to the US, which has been a source of frustration for Armstrong due to the lack of clear regulation surrounding the crypto industry.

Despite the regulatory challenges in the US, Armstrong made it clear that Coinbase has no intention of leaving its home market. However, the company has been exploring alternative financial hubs, such as Dubai, Singapore, and Hong Kong, which have become increasingly attractive to crypto entrepreneurs and investors due to their welcoming regulatory landscapes.

The UAE has rapidly become a center for web3 innovation, boasting over 500 startups in Dubai, while Hub71 in Abu Dhabi offers funding and access to blockchain and virtual asset infrastructure. Furthermore, over 11% of the UAE's population owns cryptocurrency, making it a prime location for Coinbase to expand. The country serves as a strategic bridge between Asia and Europe, two of Coinbase's existing international focus areas, and contributes to the company's global growth.

Regulatory progress in the UAE also aligns with Coinbase's objectives. The country is working to establish a comprehensive retail framework for virtual assets, emphasizing economic sustainability and cross-border financial security. Additionally, the UAE's crypto regulations aim to be business-friendly, protect consumers, project regional leadership as a center for the fourth industrial revolution, and ensure compliance with Financial Action Task Force money laundering guidelines.

Coinbase is actively engaging with regulators in the UAE, including working with Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) regulators to expand the licensing and availability for Coinbase International Exchange. The company is also collaborating with Dubai’s Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) as they develop a comprehensive regulatory framework. The UAE's commitment to fostering a web3 ecosystem makes it an attractive location for investment and expansion for companies like Coinbase.

Coinbase's interest in establishing an international hub comes at a time when the company is grappling with a market downturn and a difficult US regulatory environment. In March, Coinbase received a notice from the US Securities and Exchange Commission threatening to sue the company over several business lines. This followed a 20% staff reduction in January as Coinbase navigated these uncertain times.

In response to the growing demand for crypto-friendly jurisdictions, Coinbase recently launched an international derivatives exchange under a license from Bermuda. By considering the UAE as a potential location for its first international hub, Coinbase demonstrates its commitment to adapting and growing its presence in an evolving global market, even as it faces regulatory hurdles in its home country.

Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.



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