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The company is the only Emirati-founded virtual asset exchange in Abu Dhabi

Sep 27, 2021
MidChains, an Abu Dhabi virtual asset trading exchange, has said it completed its first trades on Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash on September 1.

The company, which is fully supervised by the regulatory arm of the Abu Dhabi Global Market and backed by Mubadala Investment Company, says it is the first such regulated platform in the UAE.

MidChains’ current listed crypto assets for trading make up more than 65 per cent of the global market capitalisation of the cryptocurrency market, it said in a statement on Monday.

"We are thrilled to have completed our first trades on the MidChains platform and giving our clients – whether they are institutions or individuals – the ability to trade freely, safely and equally,” said Basil Al Askari, co-founder and chief executive of MidChains.

“ADGM has a robust virtual asset regulatory framework which gives market participants the peace of mind to put their capital to work to trade, store, and withdraw virtual assets."

Cryptocurrencies are not licensed by the Central Bank of the UAE and the UAE dirham is the only legal tender recognised in the country by its banking regulator. The central bank has previously said it is not “accepting [or acknowledging] crypto assets or virtual assets”.

But a number of cryptocurrency exchanges have been given permission to operate within the UAE's financial free zones – Abu Dhabi Global Market and Dubai International Financial Centre – in an effort to provide a regulated environment for investors keen to trade in cryptocurrencies.

MidChains is the only Emirati founded virtual asset exchange in the UAE capital. The platform gained the approval of the regulatory arm of the ADGM in 2019 to operate a crypto asset exchange in Abu Dhabi.

Mubadala Capital, the venture capital arm of Mubadala Investment Company, first took a stake in MidChains in 2019 and later increased its commitment in the company as it participated in a second funding round last year.

Miami International Holdings and DisruptAD, state holding company ADQ’s venture platform, were among the other companies backing MidChains.

MidChains is also the first and only fully-regulated virtual asset trading platform to receive sovereign wealth fund backing in the region, the company said in the latest statement.

“Completing its inaugural trades is a significant milestone for MidChains," said Ibrahim Ajami, head of ventures and growth at Mubadala.

"Mubadala is committed to investing in homegrown entrepreneurs creating innovative new businesses, and we invested in MidChains early in its life cycle based on our belief in its ability to bring virtual asset trading to the region in a secure and regulated way.”



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