MENA Region Crypto Report: UAE Leads the Way in Supporting Regulatory Clarity for Digital Assets

The MENA region reportedly has the sixth largest crypto economy of any region studied this year, “with an estimated $389.8 billion in on-chain value received between July 2022 and June 2023,” according to an update from Chainalysis.

Chainalysis also mentioned that this “represents nearly 7.2% of global transaction volume during the period studied.”

As noted in a blog post, MENA is also “home to three of the top 30 countries in this year’s index: Turkey (12), Morocco (20), and Iran (28).” However, Turkey dominates “in terms of raw transaction volume,” the Chainalysis report added.

Overall, MENA transaction volumes are “similar to other regions in terms of breakdown by transaction size and platform type.”

However, Chainalysis sees significant differences “between countries within the region. Check out the heat map below, which compares some of MENA’s top crypto economies’ activity by platform type over the last year.”

The biggest standout is “the UAE, which sees a much higher share of crypto activity taking place on DeFi protocols compared to its regional neighbors, apart from Israel.”

One reason for this may be “that the UAE has turned itself into a world crypto hub by passing innovation-friendly regulatory frameworks that allow groundbreaking crypto platforms to develop with oversight that keeps consumers safe.”

Those regulatory frameworks “have attracted many crypto entrepreneurs and enthusiasts to the region, which may be why DeFi — which represents the cutting edge of blockchain technology in many ways — sees more usage there.”

Turkey, on the other hand, “puts more of its activity into centralized exchanges, as its users appear more focused on acquiring crypto to counteract currency devaluation.”

The Chainalysis report concluded:

“Our data and interviews with MENA-based cryptocurrency companies illustrate that the region embraces crypto for a variety of reasons. In countries with unstable currency or inflation, crypto is useful to safeguard wealth, while users in more economically stable countries like the UAE may be more inclined to explore more investment-focused, cutting edge use cases. The UAE also provides a valuable example of how regulatory clarity and rules designed to allow innovation can enable countries to establish themselves as crypto hubs, bolstering the local economy.”

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