Crypto firms in the United Arab Emirates are reporting that they’ve been overwhelmed by requests from high net worth individuals to liquidate their crypto assets. According to Swiss brokers, since sanctions against Russia have been levied by western countries, they’ve seen 5-6 requests (they normally do ~1/month) for billions in crypto to be moved out of fear that Switzerland will freeze their assets. None of these requests have been for less than $2B.
An executive out of a UAE firm said:
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'.
Much of the movement of Russian money to the United Arab Emirates is due to the UAE’s choice to abstain from a United Nations vote to condemn Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine. Between this geopolitical stance, and the fact that the UAE hasn’t replicated the West’s sanctions, many are taking this as a hint that UAE will be more welcoming to Russian citizens. A broker in UAE said that Russians and Belarusians have been buying real estate in Dubai with cryptocurrencies due to their relatively loose regulations and authorities on cryptocurrencies.
Dubai adopted laws aimed at regulating cryptocurrencies, and other virtual assets, last week. The regulatory office said it would be issuing regulations soon.