Heavily sanctioned Russians are now eyeing the United Arab Emirates or UAE to offload several billions of dollars of digital currency. According to a report, Crypto firms have been bombarded with a flurry of requests from individuals based in Russia seeking a ‘safe haven’ for their fortunes.
One executive from these firms told how they have been flooded with queries from several Swiss brokers asking to liquidate bitcoin worth billions of dollars fearing Switzerland would freeze their assets. The exec went on to add that each of the inquiries was for transactions of at least $2 billion.
“We’ve had like five or six in the past two weeks. None of them have come off yet; they’ve sort of fallen over at the last minute, which is not rare – but we’ve never had this much interest. We have one guy; I don’t know who he is, but he came through a broker and they’re like, ‘we want to sell 125,000 bitcoin’. And I’m like, ‘what? That’s $6 billion guys’. And they’re like, ‘yeah, we’re going to send it to a company in Australia.”
As per sources, some clients are even resorting to using cryptocurrency to invest in real estate in the UAE, while others want to turn it into fiat and stash it elsewhere. This comes at a time after the EU blacklisted 160 Russian oligarchs in response to Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine.
Besides that, UAE’s close ties with Russia and its neutral stance in the ongoing crisis despite the majority siding with the western allies might have driven the increasingly isolated Russians to seek refuge for their fortunes in the West Asian nation.
UAE aiming to be a global crypto magnet
UAE has built its reputation as a growing crypto hub that has attracted the world’s ultra-rich individuals. Recently Dubai, the emirate’s financial center introduced crypto asset regulation joining the list of nations like Singapore, the US, the UK, El Salvador, etc.
Its ruler, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid announced on 9th March that the emirate has enacted its first law on digital assets and has also formed an independent regulator to regulate the cryptocurrency sector.
The regulatory authority, the Dubai Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority [VARA] would be responsible for the growth of the virtual asset business environment in terms of regulation, licensing, and governance.