Today 21Shares officially announced the launch of the Middle East’s first spot Bitcoin ETP.
Today, @21Shares proudly entered the Middle East with the launch of the first physically-backed bitcoin ETP $ABTC on Nasdaq Dubai. We’re very excited to be serving investors in the UAE! Ya hala! 👋 🇦🇪 pic.twitter.com/KyvLmEZe26
— 21Shares (@21Shares) October 12, 2022
This is ABTC, which is a fund that invests directly in BTC, launched on the Nasdaq in Dubai.
Dubai launches the first ETP on Bitcoin in the Middle East
21Shares is a Swiss company, based in Zurich, which is currently the world’s largest provider of crypto ETPs.
In total, there are as many as 39 ETPs on their website, dedicated not only to Bitcoin and Ethereum, but also to smaller cryptocurrencies, such as, for example, Fantom, Cosmos, and Decentraland. In addition, several of these ETPs are based on cryptocurrency baskets or crypto indices, such as that of Bitcoin Suisse.
Bringing the new ETP onto the Nasdaq in Dubai is subsidiary 21Shares AG. The new Dubai ABTC works in the same way as the existing ABTC tradable in Europe. In other words, although it is a new ETP, it is nothing more than a replica on the Dubai exchange of an ETP that already exists on several European exchanges, including the Zurich and Frankfurt exchanges.
The choice of Dubai was by no means accidental, because the UAE city is trying to become a major crypto hub worldwide.
If in Europe it is Switzerland that has now carved out this role, and in Southeast Asia it is Singapore, in the Middle East in this respect Dubai now dominates unchallenged, so much so that it may come to challenge even other hubs outside the Middle East.
Moreover, according to 21Shares’ Middle East head, Sherif El-Haddad, cryptocurrencies are fast becoming the asset of the future for investors and asset managers around the world.
It is worth noting that the Middle East and North Africa are currently the single regions of the world where cryptocurrencies are growing the fastest, so much so that volumes traded in these areas increased by 48% from January to June, which is at the height of the bear market.
21Shares CEO and co-founder Hany Rashwan said:
“21Shares will continue to support the Middle East’s ambitions to become a global crypto hub.”
21Shares, a leader in crypto ETPs
It is enough to mention that the Swiss company last month raised $25 million in a funding round that brought its total valuation to $2 billion, making it Switzerland’s largest crypto unicorn.
Switzerland is by far the country in the world with the most crypto unicorns, which are companies whose combined value is estimated to be greater than $1 billion. The US-based Coinbase for example has a market capitalization of more than $15 billion, yet despite the US having larger crypto unicorns, there are fewer of them than in Switzerland.
At the end of 2021, for example, there were as many as 14, with a total value of more than $611 billion while Coinbase’s was about $50 billion.
During 2022, due to the bear market, they certainly shrank in both number and value, with Coinbase’s value, for example, being reduced by about 70%, but this is true everywhere else in the world.
It is conceivable that Dubai’s first crypto ETP will be so successful that it is fair to assume that it will be only the first in a more or less long series.
It is enough to consider that as much as $566 billion in cryptocurrencies flowed into the Middle East between July 2021 and June 2022, which suggests that Dubai’s crypto markets could grow further.
Underlying these inflows may have been India’s decision to tax cryptocurrency earnings as high as 30%, and India practically borders the Middle East through Pakistan.
So while there are countries, such as India and China, that are clamping down on investors and crypto companies, there are others instead that are doing business with it. Switzerland was absolutely one of the first, and although the United Arab Emirates was among the last, they are still achieving very significant results in this respect.