Huobi Group has announced the expansion of its footprint in the MENA region, launching its white-label digital asset exchange services at its office in Dubai, UAE. Huobi is the latest firm to leverage the blockchain-friendly attitude of the UAE, where the government has committed to a strategic agenda for adopting the technology.
Huobi Cloud enables exchange operators to leverage Huobi’s platform for launching their own exchange. In exchange for a share of the profits, Huobi Cloud partners can stamp their own brand onto a cryptocurrency exchange, with access to Huobi’s desktop and mobile trading platforms, order book, liquidity, and over 450 digital asset trading pairs. It’s part of Huobi’s broader expansion plans, for which it recently raised 500 million Japanese Yen ($4.5m.)
According to the press release accompanying the Huobi announcement, 5.2% of people in the UAE hold some form of cryptocurrency. However, given the rapid pace of blockchain adoption by enterprises and the government, that figure is likely to be growing. This month alone, there has been a slew of blockchain and crypto-related news emerging from the region.
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In early October, enterprise blockchain provider Blocko confirmed it was launching in the UAE, thanks to a partnership with SEED group, a member of the Private Office of Sheikh Saeed bin Ahmed Al Maktoum. Blocko will be working with operating platform Aergo to implement hybrid public-private blockchain for the UAE government and enterprises throughout the nation.
The announcement is the latest news from the UAE government’s strategy to move 50% of its transactions onto the blockchain by 2021. The strategy is aiming to save 11 billion AED (~$3 billion) in transaction and documentation costs each year, as well as 77 million work hours.
Later in the month, the Department for Urban Planning and Municipalities announced it would be moving its land registry records to the blockchain. At the same time, Dubai authorities stated their intention for a similar initiative for business registrations.
Shortly afterward, the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry confirmed it had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with government-owned bank, Emirates NBD. The MoU covers the provision of trade finance solutions for Dubai’s Digital Silk Road, which uses blockchain to digitize trade processes.
Meanwhile, cryptocurrency users in the region recently received good news from regulators. The UAE Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) drafted a resolution that aims to give greater clarity to crypto-related projects, providing confidence to business owners wanting to operate in the space.
Although it’s not clear if this resolution is related to the news of Huobi Cloud’s expansion into the UAE, it’s bound to be good news for the Singapore exchange giant’s growth plans. Huobi recently signified the health of its revenues with an 11 million burn of its HT tokens, worth over $40 million.