Coinbase Considers Expansion to the UAE
- Brian Armstrong has dimissed previous claims that Coinbase might move its operations out of the United States.
- The UAE has already attracted top crypto companies like Binance and Kraken.
Brian Armstrong, the CEO of crypto exchange Coinbase, renewed his criticisms of Gary Gensler, the chairman of the US Securities and Exchange Commission, on Monday, May 8, but added that the exchange would keep operating in the US despite ongoing regulatory uncertainties.
Armstrong also revealed that Coinbase has its sights set on the United Arab Emirates as a possible destination for its operations in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. Armstrong noted in a blog post that he has already met with officials from the regulators in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) and the Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA).
While speaking at the Dubai Fintech Summit on Monday, Armstrong expressed excitement about collaborating with officials in the UAE to form a “strategic partnership.” He explained that “the UAE is exciting for us as a potential hub to build as well, an international hub for Coinbase that could serve not only the Middle East but parts of Africa or other countries in Asia.
However, Armstrong had little praise for the United States. The Coinbase CEO believes that “the U.S. right now is a little bit behind in terms of regulatory clarity and some of the rhetoric from the top.” Armstrong commended the UK and the European Union for their “thoughtful approach” towards setting up clear policies.
I would say we’re seeing more thoughtful approaches, for instance, in the EU [European Union], they’ve actually already passed comprehensive crypto legislation, the U.K. has been incredibly welcoming, and for us there, that’s been a hub where we’ve decided to serve the U.K. market.
Coinbase recently announced the launch of its crypto derivatives trading platform, the Coinbase International Exchange. The launch came weeks after the SEC issued a Wells Notice to Coinbase for allegedly violating securities laws. Armstrong has remained critical of the SEC’s attack on Coinbase and the crypto industry at large, and reports emerged in April that Coinbase could be moving abroad to more friendly zones.
Armstrong dismissed such claims, adding that Coinbase is “always going to have a U.S. presence.” He added that the US “has the potential to be an important market in crypto,” but the lack of regulatory clarity has left the country behind.
While speaking to CNBC’s Dan Murphy in an interview in Dubai on Monday, Armstrong dismissed the SEC’s claims that crypto companies are offering unregistered securities and violating laws. He explained that the SEC was on “a lone crusade, if you will, with Gary Gensler, the chair there, and he has taken a more anti-crypto view for some reason.”
Sharing his thoughts on Gary Gensler’s attack on crypto, Armstrong said,
I don’t think he’s necessarily trying to regulate the industry as much as maybe curtail it. But he’s created some lawsuits, and I think it’s quite unhelpful for the industry in the U.S. writ large, but it also is an opportunity for Coinbase to go get that clarity from the courts that we feel will really benefit the crypto industry and also the U.S. more broadly.
Coinbase is not the only crypto company expanding its operations in the UAE. Binance and Kraken have already registered their presence in the growing crypto hub.