05 June 2023
Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, the billionaire founders of cryptocurrency platform Gemini, are weighing the UAE as a potential center for their crypto exchange operations in the Middle East. The identical twins are reported to be on the brink of filing an application for a virtual asset license within the country.
The Winklevoss twins, recognized for their significant contribution to the crypto sphere and their individual net worth of approximately $1.2 billion as per Forbes, have yet to finalize the location for their business within the UAE. They are considering either Abu Dhabi or Dubai, or possibly both cities, as potential options.
Speaking recently, Tyler Winklevoss expressed optimism about their interactions with UAE regulators. He highlighted the drive to make the UAE a nucleus for cryptocurrency and lauded the introduction of regulation that can safeguard consumers while still allowing companies to innovate.
The UAE’s reputation as a hub for virtual assets has been on the rise. Last year, Dubai introduced the Dubai Virtual Asset Regulation Law, an advanced legal framework aimed at protecting investors and setting international standards for the governance of the virtual asset industry. This move also saw the establishment of the Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority, which oversees the sector throughout the emirate.
The Financial Services Regulatory Authority, the regulatory arm of the ADGM, also issued guiding principles last September concerning the regulation and supervision of virtual assets. These principles are meant to clarify expectations for the asset class and service providers.
These developments come in the backdrop of the Winklevoss twins' global tour to engage financial regulators and key stakeholders in the crypto world. This tour aims to make Gemini a global entity. Stops on this tour have included Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Ireland, the UK, Switzerland, and Singapore.
In May, IDA Ireland, the Irish agency responsible for attracting foreign direct investment, announced that the twins had selected Dublin to house Gemini’s European headquarters. Additionally, Gemini disclosed plans in April to establish an engineering center in Gurugram, India, and is currently recruiting personnel for the region.
Optimism remains high, especially for Bitcoin. The Winklevoss twins express their belief that Bitcoin is set to remain a robust investment in this decade. They’re confident that Bitcoin’s resilience.
“Bitcoin is like a honey badger. Whatever doesn’t kill it, makes it stronger. And it’s been through a lot,” said Cameron Winklevoss.
Tyler Winklevoss added: “In our bull case for it, it will disrupt gold.”
This move to set up a hub in the UAE aligns with the twins' vision of creating a more expansive and inclusive global crypto environment. It would establish the UAE as a significant player in the global crypto market, while offering Gemini a base to navigate the challenges faced in more stringent regulatory environments.
“The US… the best way to characterise it is that it’s hostile to crypto right now,” Cameron Winklevoss told The National.
Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA)Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA)
The Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) stands as a pioneer in the world of virtual asset regulation, impacting areas far beyond its home base in Dubai. The groundbreaking institution’s influence notably extends to Abu Dhabi, where numerous startups are capitalizing on the benefits provided by VARA’s intricate regulatory framework and supportive environment. Established as the world’s initial independent regulatory authority for virtual assets, VARA is a beacon of trust and transparency in the emerging domain of virtual assets.
How do you start a business in Abu Dhabi?How do you start a business in Abu Dhabi?
Starting a business in Abu Dhabi, particularly within the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), involves several stages. ADGM, like the DIFC in Dubai, is an international financial center that provides an efficient and secure platform for businesses and financial institutions. It extends over the entire 114-hectares of Al Maryah Island and also includes Al Reem Island, making it one of the largest financial districts in the world. To start a business in ADGM, you first need to determine the nature of your business.
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