SCA Briefs on U.A.E. Regulation of Digital Assets


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The U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council hosted a small, private roundtable discussion on the regulation of cryptocurrencies, utility tokens, and NFTs in the U.A.E. with Khalid Al Zaabi, Executive Director of Licensing, Supervision, and Compliance Operations at the Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) on 16 November 2022 in Abu Dhabi. This roundtable took place on the sidelines of the ‘Crypto Abu Dhabi’ day of ADGM’s Abu Dhabi Finance Week.

Mr. Al Zaabi spoke about the SCA’s role in the U.A.E.’s evolving cryptocurrency regulatory environment and shared details on the SCA’s Crypto Assets Activities Regulation (CAAR) regulating the offering, issuance, listing, and trading of crypto assets at the U.A.E. federal level. 

As the U.A.E. emerges as a global hub for the digital and virtual assets industry, Mr. Al Zaabi shared his thoughts on the ways regulators can strike the right balance between encouraging emerging technologies and promoting the crypto industry, on the one hand, and safeguarding the market and its participants, on the other.  This question has taken on increased importance given the recent tumult in the crypto market. Mr. Al Zaabi encouraged and welcomed greater collaboration with the private sector including U.S. companies in this regard. 

Finally, Mr. Al Zaabi addressed AML/CFT concerns related to crypto, as well as other challenges facing regulators. In addition, he noted the emergence of the Middle East, Africa and Asia Crypto and Blockchain Association and provided an overview of the ways industry can work with the SCA to develop crypto regulations that are in line with global best practices.

For more information on the U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council’s work in fintech or our upcoming events, please contact Graham Reitman at