Dubai World Trade Centre Authority (DWTCA) announced on Wednesday that it would support the regulation, offering, issuance, listing, and trading of crypto assets and related financial activities within its free zone as part of its drive towards innovation and digital-led economy.


The announcement on this initiative came in the wake of an agreement to this effect signed by the Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) and the DWTCA. Under the agreement, the SCA will oversee, monitor, and inspect entities operating within DWTCA’s free zone.


In May, the Dubai Airport Free Zone Authority signed a similar agreement with the SCA. Dubai’s DMCC Freezone opened a blockchain-based exchange for sugar trading last year and the Bitcoin Fund was listed on the Nasdaq Dubai exchange in June — the first of its kind to trade in the region.

“The agreement establishes a framework that allows the DWTCA to issue the necessary approvals and licenses for the conduct of financial activities relating to crypto-assets,” the Dubai entity said in a statement.


Dr. Maryam Al Suwaidi, acting chief executive officer of SCA, and Helal Saeed Almarri, director-general of the DWTCA and Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), signed the agreement.


“The DWTCA has signed the agreement to expand its existing business licenses, services, and incentives. In collaboration with the DWTCA, the SCA will handle the regulatory oversight of the issuance, offering, listing, and trading of crypto assets as well as the licensing of the associated financial activities that fall under DWTCA’s jurisdiction,” said the statement.


He said the SCA would be responsible for the regulatory supervision of offering, issuing, trading, and listing crypto assets and the licensing of financial activities related to them within the limits of the DWTCA free zone. “The SCA will also supervise, control, and investigate the licensed entities that operate within the free zone.”


Almarri said the DWTCA is committed to expanding its services as a free zone of choice for the international investment and entrepreneurial community. “As Dubai continues its drive towards innovation and digital-led economy, the DWTCA is looking to support businesses underpinned by blockchain and cryptographic technologies. Our agreement with the Securities and Commodities Authority will allow the DWTCA to broaden its regulatory, licenses, and services capabilities, in addition to extending the centralized supervision of the crypto market to our free zone.”


He said with the rise of new technologies such as non-fungible tokens set to play an important role in the future of commerce, and building on the Future Blockchain Summit, the DWTCA is also pursuing ways to offer a sustainable home for this ecosystem, in order to stay future-ready. “The UAE has been at the forefront of blockchain research and implementation and our ambition is in line with the Emirates Blockchain Strategy,” said Almarri.