Is Bitcoin legal in Dubai

Bitcoin, the world’s first and most famous digital currency, has gained more popularity among Generation Z as an investment asset class than any other. Investors have earned higher returns from Bitcoin in 10 years compared to any other investment sector.

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have faced and continue to face several challenges, with regulatory problems being the most significant. The West, including the USA and Europe, has not provided clear regulations for Bitcoin, and the United States Securities and Exchange Commission is aggressively fighting against the crypto industry.

Amidst this scenario, the country that has seized the opportunity is the UAE, particularly the state of Dubai. So, is Bitcoin legal in Dubai? Yes, Bitcoin is welcomed throughout the UAE, and the government is continuously providing clarity in regulations and upgrading policies to keep up with this rapidly evolving industry.

Overview of Bitcoin’s Legal Status in Dubai

Bitcoin is widely accepted and welcomed in the UAE, particularly in Dubai. The government-owned licensing firm KIKLABB in Mina Rashid enables crypto payments for various trade licenses and visas, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, and USDT, on behalf of the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA).

A significant recent development in Dubai is the passing of the Virtual Assets Regulation Law (VAL) on February 28, 2022, which marks the city’s first crypto law which has allowed many crypto companies to start working like the crypto desk which is now the most trusted crypto exchange in Dubai. Additionally, the United Arab Emirates has established the Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA), an independent regulatory body responsible for overseeing and regulating the cryptocurrency sector in the region. 

These initiatives reflect the wide acceptance and appreciation of virtual assets and digital currencies in Dubai.

Legal Regulations and Guidelines 

Understanding the regulation of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in Dubai necessitates recognizing that each emirate has its own regulations in areas without federal laws. Taking a broader view of Dubai’s cryptocurrency regulation, it is worth noting that the Central Bank of UAE (CBUAE) took the lead in regulating cryptocurrencies in 2017.

The 2017 law mandated the following for all transactions involving these digital assets:

  • Authorized exchanges must be utilized.
  • Compliance with the Anti-Money Laundering regulations set forth by the CBUAE is required.

In 2022, the Dubai government established the VARA Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority under the Virtual Asset Law (VAL). VARA assumes the responsibility of regulating, overseeing, guiding, and licensing Bitcoin and other crypto-related businesses.

Licensing and Compliance for Bitcoin-related Businesses 


The Virtual Assets Law (VAL) led to the establishment of the Dubai Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA). VARA, an autonomous regulator, oversees and licenses Bitcoin and other crypto-related businesses, NFTs, and virtual assets in Dubai. As per the Virtual Assets Law, VARA has various objectives and features.


  • Aims to boost Dubai’s regional and global standing in the virtual assets sector.
  • Provides regulations, rules, and standards for effective control, supervision, and regulation of virtual assets.

In this regard, VARA aims to enhance investor understanding and attract investments and virtual asset companies to Dubai. 

Additionally, VARA can take actions, such as suspending authorizations and activities of virtual asset service providers. In collaboration with the CBUAE, VARA also ensures financial system stability and protection.

Taxation and Reporting Requirements for Bitcoin Transactions in Dubai

Dubai leads the way in crypto-friendly laws, including tax regulations and attracting foreign investments. Tax residents in Dubai benefit from zero percent taxes on capital gains, business income, and salaries for individuals earning under 102,000 annually. 

Bitcoin is treated on par with other assets under Dubai’s tax laws, allowing investors to avoid taxes on their crypto profits. This favorable tax treatment contributes to Dubai’s appeal as a destination for investors and businesses in the crypto industry. The city’s progressive legislation and supportive environment position it as a frontrunner in embracing cryptocurrencies. Which makes visitors to buy Bitcoin in Dubai with cash or card hassle-free.

Government Initiatives and Support for Bitcoin and Blockchain Technology 

In April 2018, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) unveiled the Emirates Blockchain Strategy 2021, aiming to become the world’s first blockchain-powered government. By the end of 2021, the UAE sought to migrate at least fifty percent of government transactions to the blockchain platform. This strategic move aimed to enhance efficiency, transparency, and security in governmental processes.

In 2020, the Central Bank of UAE (CBUAE) and the Saudi Arabia Central Bank (SAMA) collaborated on “Project Aber: Joint Digital Currency and Distributed Ledger Project.” The project explored the viability of a dual-issue digital currency for domestic and cross-border settlements. 

The successful results affirmed that central banks could leverage distributed ledger technology for payment systems, similar to pilots conducted by other central banks.

Dubai has been at the forefront of embracing crypto assets and blockchain technology. The Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) established a Crypto Centre, supporting companies involved in crypto asset development, trading, and blockchain-enabled platforms. This initiative reflects Dubai’s commitment to fostering innovation with the support of the national government.

These initiatives highlight Dubai’s open support and welcoming behavior towards cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, a testament to the approach driven by the Royal family’s interest in transformative innovation.

Potential for Bitcoin Users in Dubai

The crazy part is that approximately 30% of Dubai citizens have invested in Bitcoin at least once. Moreover, over 18% of UAE residents place their trust in cryptocurrencies.

Dubai offers immense potential for Bitcoin users, encompassing the following:

  • Allowing Bitcoin usage for shopping and daily groceries.
  • Providing opportunities to engage in crypto communities.
  • Facilitating easy buying and selling of Bitcoin at favorable exchange rates.
  • Providing a regulated work environment in the crypto industry while being fully protected under Dubai’s laws.

Dubai provides a secure and safe environment for living, trading, and working in the crypto industry. It offers various options ranging from Bitcoin ATMs and legal centralized exchanges to the most effective transaction method, OTC exchanges like CryptoDesk, which ensure the best exchange rates against AED.

Due to these reasons, crypto enthusiasts worldwide are relocating to Dubai to launch their businesses, work as digital nomads, and enjoy the freedom of spending their Bitcoin in the city.

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