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Bitcoin Regulation In UAE: Abu Dhabi Regulator Considers A Possible Framework



The United Arab Emirates have been in the focus regarding cryptocurrencies lately, especially after some talks about potential regulations for the industry. This move could see many exchanges, intermediaries and crypto companies to move into the big financial zone of Abu Dhabi, the capital of UAE.

Another announcement has been making news lately – this time by the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) of Abu Dhabi Global Market. According to him, the country is reviewing the development of a regulatory framework containing many industry firms and relevant authorities.

This regulatory move, if established, could potentially make the UAE a shore for many cryptocurrency exchanges and firms. According to the Abu Dhabi regulator:

“We are reviewing and considering the development of a robust, risk-appropriate regulatory framework to regulate and supervise activities of virtual currency exchanges and intermediaries. In considering such a framework, the FSRA intends to consult and work closely with industry participants and relevant professional bodies.”

Obviously, this development will come within months of guidelines and regulations issued by the Abu Dhabi government regarding cryptocurrencies and ICOs. There is no doubt that some of these regulations will be strict – however, the financial markets already separated ICOs (as securities) from cryptocurrencies (as commodities) in the market.

What’s also interesting is that at the time, central banks of the UAE and Saudi Arabia have joined forces, working on the development of a cryptocurrency that could see cross-border transactions all thanks to a cryptographic token.

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Crypto Regulation In UK May Take Up To 2 Years To Be Drafted

A new legal report is in the news on our DC Forecasts crypto news site today - centered around the market in the United Kingdom and the potential regulation of cryptocurrencies. Issued by a UK-based law firm, the report shows that it may take up to two years for such regulations to be introduced. According to James Kaufmann who is the Legal Director at Reynolds Porter Chamberlain UK (RPC) commented on the subject in a statement published by his company, saying that the main reason for such delay is the approval that needs to be given from several legal bodies within the country. Meanwhile, RPC is active in UK and Asia, as a firm which has over 80 partners and has been named 'Law Firm Of The Year' three times in a row since 2014. According to Kaufmann, the process of regulation needs to move bills that are "lengthy" given that the recent proposals sent to the House of Commons Treasury Committee (HM Treasury) have just begun moving forward. As Kaufmann said:
“Bringing a complex and fast-evolving area like cryptocurrencies into a regulatory framework is going to be a difficult and lengthy process. Added to this, big issues like Brexit are already occupying a lot of regulator’s time,”
He also pointed out to the past precedents in the release, stating:
“Past precedents show it can take years to make relatively minor regulatory changes to the financial regulatory regime. For example, it took two and a half years from the Treasury’s original announcement (10 May 2004) for the regulation of home reversion plans to come in force (6 November 2006).”
In order to regulate cryptocurrencies, the Treasury Committee will need time to study the industry and know which "specific activities related to cryptocurrencies" would require monitoring, certain proposed regulations, consultation periods and changes.  
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ICO Legality In South Korea To Be Confirmed This November

The latest news around regulation on our DC Forecasts crypto news site shows that South Korea will be deciding whether initial coin offerings (ICOs) will be approved or rejected again in the country, according to a statement from a top-level official. According to Hong Nam-ki who is head of the office for government policy coordination first addressed this issue during the National Assembly's annual audit on government actions, telling lawmakers that the topic must be reviewed in the coming months. Hong also added that the Financial Services Commission (FSC) which is South Korea's market watchdog has been conducting surveys on ICOs since September. As CoinDesk Korea then reported, he stated the following:

"We are going to form the position of the government in November based on the results of the investigation at the end of October."

The official was also responding to the question regarding ICO permission that was raised by Jeon Haecheol, a lawmaker from the ruling Democratic Part, voicing the support for lifting the current ICO ban. As he said during the questioning:

"If we waste time, the blockchain industry could face huge difficulties. We need to look at very realistic and specific ways to nurture the blockchain industry, and I think permitting ICO is one of them."

He concluded:

"Many people say ICO should be allowed, but ICO's uncertainty remains, and the damage is too serious and obvious."

In May this year, lawmakers from the National Assembly, which is the country's legislative arm, pushed for a removal of the ICO ban. According to recent reports, the FSC is actively investigating token sales projects with a questionnaire that seeks information on extensive project details as part of its efforts to review the ICO ban case.
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A State-Issued Cryptocurrency Is ‘Evaluated’ By India’s Government

A new state-issued cryptocurrency is in the rumors and the crypto news lately in India, after a panel under the country's finance ministry tasked to propose certain regulations for cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. The panel is reportedly set to recommend a state cryptocurrency that will be backed by the government. As Quartz reported while citing one of the senior officials, the group is set to suggest the development of a state crypto token on a blockchain that will be developed by the government. The 'senior government official', as cited by Quartz, stated that the government is “evaluating the government-backed cryptocurrency and crypto-token." What's interesting is the fact that the central bank of India already admitted that it is interested to issue a central and bank-issued cryptocurrency. Even though many reports by internal units dedicated to crypto and blockchain research have been refuted by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the central bank confirmed the creation of an 'inter-departmental group' that will be tasked to study the "feasibility of issuing a central bank cryptocurrency (CBDC)" in its Annual Report this year. As the executive director of RBI Sudharshan Sen hinted in September 2017:

“Right now, we have a group of people who are looking at fiat cryptocurrencies. Something that is an alternative to the Indian rupee, so to speak. We are looking at that closely.”

According to some rumors from the officials, the cryptocurrency might be named "Lakshmi" inspired by Hindu's goddess of wealth and prosperity.
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Blockchain News

UAE To Boost Capital Markets Financing By Recognizing ICOs As Securities

New regulation information is coming in today’s crypto news after the United Arab Emirates pushes ahead to start recognizing initial coin offerings (ICOs) as securities for more efficient fundraising for startups in 2019. The UAE will allow domestic companies to gather more money by offering crypto tokens to all investors as a plus method besides the traditional funding as investing in shares. ICOs will be considered as securities and will be regulated. The draft regulation is now ready and will be implemented in early 2019. Chief Omar Saif al-Zaabi, the securities market watchdog, explained the plan on a seminar by saying:
“The board of the Emirates Securities & Commodities Authority [ESCA] has approved considering ICOs as securities. As per our plan, we should have regulations on the ground in the first half of 2019.”
Last year, Abu Dhabi issued a strategy on initial coin offerings, regulating them as securities. However, cryptocurrencies were not classified as a legal tender but are still considered as commodities by the Abu Dhabi government. In the past several years, domestic companies have gone through a very hard period by having difficulties raising finances because of the low oil prices within the UAE and the broader Gulf region. This is why this new law is seen as a major boost for domestic companies by making it easier for them to obtain funds and run the business smoothly. If this law is approved by the United Arab Emirates’ prime minister, it will take effect in early 2019 and there will be a mandated place for women on the board by minimum 20% in publicly listed companies.
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