The number of transactions in digital currencies nearly tripled in Saudi Arabia between July 2021 and June 2022, a recent report by Chainalysis showed.
During this period, more than $50 million worth of payments were made in cryptocurrency payments in the Kingdom, according to the platform that provides data on blockchain – the technology used to process and record crypto payments.
“Saudi Arabia is a major crypto counterparty, right up there with the UAE in terms of excitement around investment in cryptocurrency,” Kim Grauer one of the researchers who headed the report told Al Arabiya English.
During the same period, the UAE received around $40 million in crypto currency payments, according to Chainalysis.
A recently passed UAE law is making it easier and more attractive for people to work with digital currencies in Dubai and to protect investors using digital currencies.
In March this year, UAE Vice President and Dubai Ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid set up the regulation in the emirate in a bid to make the UAE more attractive to people using virtual assets.
Sheikh Mohammed also announced that Dubai would set up a Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority that will work with the Central Bank of the UAE, which should make paying in crypto currencies easier and safer.
“In the UAE there’s been an attraction of international businesses because of the clarity that's being set up around the regulatory regime and so people have been moving and setting up businesses in the UAE,” said Grauer.
Between July 2021 and June 2022, the biggest cryptocurrency market was Turkey, according to the report, but this could mainly be down to the size of the country, rather than because it has a competitive edge over countries such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
“Countries like the UAE [have] huge [cryptocurrency] markets but they have tiny populations,” Grauer said.
According to the latest data from the World Bank there are currently 84.3 million people living in Turkey, compared to 34.8 million in Saudi Arabia and just under 10 million in the UAE.