Bitget Eyes Middle East for Crypto Expansion, Plans to Hire 60 New Staff

Bitget, a leading crypto derivatives and copy trading platform, has announced plans to expand its operations into the Middle East, as reported on July 20, 2023. The Seychelles-based exchange is set to hire 60 new staff members as part of its global scaling strategy, aimed at increasing crypto adoption across new audiences.

The Middle East region, known for its burgeoning crypto activity, is a prime target for Bitget’s expansion. The exchange is considering launching initiatives in countries such as Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), including the crypto-friendly emirates of Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Ras Al Khaimah. The expansion plan includes setting up a regional headquarter and recruiting new team members for various mid-office and back-office roles.

Recent data on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region’s crypto adoption reveals a rapidly growing industry. The region accounted for 9.2% of global crypto transactions from 2021 to 2022. The UAE alone saw a 400% growth in registered crypto businesses between 2020 and 2022, contributing to a surge in global digital asset trading, which accounted for 10% of the global volume. The region also experienced a 300% increase in blockchain-related educational programs and contributed to 8% of all mining hash rates.

Gracy Chen, Managing Director of Bitget, stated that the company hopes to scale its Middle East team rapidly to support business growth. The plan includes hiring 30 to 60 new team members over the next two years or more across the Middle East region. Bitget is also considering Dubai as a potential operational hub for the Middle East market.

Bitget has already started exploring license applications to operate in target Middle East markets. Gaining proper licenses and regulatory approval is a top priority for the company to support its expansion and open regional offices.

The Middle East expansion plan follows Bitget’s recent global scaling efforts, including its registration as a Virtual Asset Service Provider (VASP) in Poland and similar crypto registration in Lithuania. Earlier this year, Bitget also launched in Turkey, now boasting a fully localized Turkish website, Bitget TR, to cater to users in the country.

Founded in 2018, Bitget serves over 8 million users in more than 100 countries and regions, offering secure, one-stop trading solutions. The exchange is known for its collaborations with notable partners, including Argentinian footballer Lionel Messi and official eSports events organizer PGL.

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Kraken Closes Abu Dhabi Office

A cryptocurrency exchange known as Kraken has decided to close its headquarters in Abu Dhabi less than a year after receiving approval from local authorities to do business there.

According to an article that was published by Bloomberg on February 2, it was announced that Kraken had shuttered its office in Abu Dhabi, which resulted in the dismissal of around eight members of the team that specialised in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Since April 2022, when the licence to operate in the Abu Dhabi international financial hub and the Abu Dhabi Global Market was granted, the exchange has been permitted to perform services there. This occurred before the market drop that caused a lot of crypto firms to suffer losses.

The rumoured move in the Middle East occurred after Kraken said in November that it planned to downsize its workforce by more than 30 percent, which is equivalent to more than 1,000 people, in an effort to survive the crypto winter. According to Kraken co-founder Jesse Powell, the layoffs are returning the size of the exchange back to where it was in 2021, before it witnessed considerable growth. Powell came to the conclusion that he should step aside from his post as CEO, but he will continue to serve as board chair, as he indicated back in September.

As of the 31st of January, Kraken withdrew entirely from the Japanese market. This is the second time since April 2018 that the exchange has abandoned a major economy in Asia. The firm said in December that the decision had been reached as part of the process of resource allocation, citing “current market conditions in Japan” and a “weak crypto market globally” as the reasons for the move.

This page was revised on February 2 to reflect a statement that was issued by Kraken. The revision can be seen here.


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Dubai Sees Crypto as Stepping Stone Towards Global Tech Hub

Dubai is reaping the dividends of new tech investments because it has laid the grounds for a post-pandemic boom through a business-friendly and low-taxes environment, according to CNBC.


The city has become a global tech hub, with crypto being a major catalyst. 

Ola Doudin, the co-founder of cryptocurrency platform BitOasis, noted:

“We’re definitely seeing Dubai leading that race, competing with other financial hubs and really positioning itself as a global crypto hub.”

Dubai has already set the ball rolling as a significant blockchain hub. For instance, the Dubai economy got powered by the UAE KYC (Know-Your-Customer) blockchain platform in July 2020. This prompted instant bank accounting functionality, secure digital customer onboarding, and sharing of verified data between financial institutions and licensing authorities. 

Doudin pointed out how Dubai handled the pandemic is paying off because more people want to move to the city. He stated:

“Dubai, and the UAE overall, is a world-class example of dealing with a pandemic. Now you see talent internationally, from all parts of the world, wanting to move to Dubai.”

This correlates with the fact that Dubai welcomed 7.12 million overnight visitors in the first half of 2022, recording at least 183% growth compared to a similar period in 2021, according to Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET).

Government agencies in the city are also jumping on the crypto bandwagon. For instance, the Dubai Police recently revealed plans to roll out the second bunch of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) after the first collection attracted approximately 23 million people globally, Blockchain.News reported. 

The Dubai police released the first NFTs in late March as part of a campaign to showcase its security, innovation, and communication values. They comprised 150 free digital assets.

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Crypto Exchange Kraken to Launch in UAE

U.S.-based cryptocurrency exchange Kraken expands to the UAE, and open a regional office in Abu Dhabi.

Kraken will be the first cryptocurrency exchange in the UAE to be able to trade cryptocurrencies directly, after obtaining full licenses from ADGM, Abu Dhabi Global Market, and the UAE to operate regulated trading platforms, the company said.

According to Chainalysis, the Middle East is currently one of the fastest-growing regions for the cryptocurrency business, with an annual transaction volume of up to $25 billion.

In the next five years, 67% of residents in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are interested in entering the crypto space, according to a survey by British market research and data analytics firm YouGov.

Kraken’s managing director Curtis Ting said it would make sense to offer a dirham pair of virtual asset platforms to investors in the region and added that:

“For us, it’s really important to facilitate access to global markets and global liquidity by making sure that investors and traders in the region have access to local currencies.”

Having set its eyes on becoming a blockchain capital, the UAE is setting the ball rolling by establishing a legal framework to aid the operation of crypto-based and blockchain companies.

Kraken provides crypto to fiat trading pairs. On December 24, Kraken announced that it is developing a marketplace for NFTs where users can trade digital art and collectables and organize loans using the tokens as collateral.

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UAE to Strive for Virtual Service Provider Licenses before Q2

In a bid to become a global crypto hub, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is gearing up to issue federal licenses to virtual asset service providers (VASPs) by the end of Q1 2022. - 2022-02-18T110358.787.jpg

The Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) is finalizing the amendment of legislation needed for VASPs to set base, according to a UAE government official. 

This is deemed a strategic move to attract the top global crypto companies to set base in the UAE as the race to become a prefered crypto destination continues to gain steam worldwide.

The globe’s biggest crypto exchange, Binance Holdings Ltd, is among the large crypto players eyeing to have a significant presence in the nation. 

The licensing system will be instrumental in making the UAE ideal for crypto firms as other financial hubs like Hong Kong and Singapore eye to be centres of crypto trading through full regulation

On the other hand, Puerto Rico is showcasing itself as an ideal crypto location based on friendly taxation and an island lifestyle. 

Interests in the Middle East region have been shifting from oil to crypto and the metaverse, with the UAE among the nations leading the pack. 

With a transaction volume of approximately $26 billion, the UAE trails Turkey and Lebanon as the third-biggest crypto market in the Middle East, according to data shared by blockchain research firm Chainalysis from July 2020 to June 2021.  

Over the years, the UAE has established multiple free zones spread across Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Therefore, crypto companies got the go-ahead to set up business in the Dubai Multi-Commodities Centre (DMCC) free zone last year. 

According to the government official, plans are also underway to build a regulated crypto-mining ecosystem in the nation. 

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Crypto Market Expanding in the Middle East, Says HashCash CEO

A paradigm shift is being witnessed in Middle East, especially the United Arab Emirates (UAE), because the region’s interests are changing from oil to crypto and metaverse, among other blockchain innovations.

Having set its eyes on becoming a blockchain capital, the UAE is setting the ball rolling by establishing a legal framework to aid the operation of crypto-based and blockchain companies.

Raj Chowdhury, the CEO of blockchain development company HashCash Consultants, welcomed the Middle East’s quest to propel blockchain-based business options. He stated:

“One of the biggest market disruptors in modern-day innovations, blockchain technology will soon become omnipresent owing to its wide scope of applications. Market forecasts indicate similarly, and the rising demand for blockchain solutions will soon transform into a necessity.” 

As early as 2018, the Middle East had already set up a regulatory body called the Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) as it had seen the potential of the crypto sector. 

This move has been instrumental in establishing multiple free zones across the UAE in places like Abu Dhabi and Dubai. For instance, crypto companies got the green light to set up business in the Dubai Multi-Commodities Centre (DMCC) free zone last year. 

The Dubai economy also got supported by the UAE KYC (Know-Your-Customer) blockchain platform, prompting instant bank accounting functionality, secure digital customer onboarding, and sharing verified data between financial institutions and licensing authorities possible in 2020. 

Therefore, Chowdhury believes that the UAE is attracting global attention as a hub for blockchain innovation. 

The Middle East has also shown interest in the cryptocurrency market, given that the first Bitcoin fund in the region was listed in Nasdaq Dubai in June 2021.

While crypto has gradually penetrated the Middle East, the high degree of volatility in the cryptocurrency market has also drawn the attention of investors and relevant authorities.

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Swiss BSV to establish blockchain academy in the Middle East

The first blockchain school in the Middle East will open in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, according to an announcement by the BSV Blockchain Association. The new institution will reportedly provide training and development tools for government organizations and enterprises interested in adopting or experimenting with blockchain technology.

Per the announcement, the Saudi Blockchain Academy (SDA) will work with the Swiss-based Bitcoin SV (BSV) Blockchain industry association to educate experts about new technologies, assisting in implementing Saudi Vision 2030.

The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia established the SDA as a major national project to develop both human capital and digital skills for the future and prepare its youth for employment in communications and information technology sector.

The BSV association and SDA will collaborate through Riyadh’s new blockchain academy to provide learning and development resources for various audiences, including developers, students, startup entrepreneurs, business executives, and government agency officials.

Blockchain technology has seen a wide range of potential applications in many areas such as financial services, healthcare, and telecommunications, among others. Many big tech companies, including Google and IBM, are actively participating in developing blockchain-based applications.

Per the announcement, the school will focus on the BSV blockchain and is part of a growing number of sector-specific educational programs launched by the SDA. Eng. Faris AlSaqabi, Deputy Minister for Future Jobs & Capabilities at MCIT said:

“Since the initial academies announced at our launch event in October 2021, we continually look to add new fields of learning. Given the high interest in blockchain technology, we are proud to work with BSV’s team to bring world-class blockchain training to Saudi Arabia in this landmark initiative for the Middle East.”

Related: Crypto firms ignore Africa at their peril as continent set for major adoption

Several nations have embraced blockchain technology and digital assets in the Middle East with a more progressive perspective. Several regulators have pushed for a slew of crypto-friendly laws in various countries in the region.

In Sept. 2021, the UAE’s local authorities unveiled a new regulatory framework that encourages cryptocurrency trading and related activities in Dubai’s economic free zone, potentially laying the groundwork for wider adoption and innovation throughout the country. As reported by Cointelegraph, the Emirates Postal Group, or EPG for short, announced that it was the first postal organization in the Middle East and North Africa to issue digital-collectible stamps.