21Shares, one of the world’s largest issuers of cryptocurrency exchange-traded products, has listed the region’s first physically backed bitcoin ETP on Nasdaq Dubai.
The listing of 21Shares Bitcoin ETP on the emirate’s bourse is part of company's expansion into the broader Middle East, a key region on its global road map, 21Shares said on Wednesday.
The ETP listing provides investors in the local market with access to the rapidly growing asset class through Nasdaq Dubai. It will trade in the same way as the 21Shares Bitcoin ETP in Europe.
With the addition of Nasdaq Dubai, 21Shares, part of Switzerland-based 21.co, has listed more than 46 products across 12 exchanges in seven countries, it said.
“Our expansion into the UAE is a major milestone in 21Shares’ international growth plans … we are committed to providing regional investors with safe and secure access to cryptocurrency-backed products,” said Hany Rashwan, chief executive and co-founder of 21Shares.
“Our partners Nasdaq Dubai and the Dubai Financial Market share our vision to provide investors with access to new and exciting asset classes.”
The company will support the region in its ambitions to become a global crypto hub, he added.
The listing of 21Shares' ETP underpins efforts by Nasdaq Dubai to streamline investors’ access to diversified asset classes, a key pillar in the bourse’s endeavour to attract further investments, Hamed Ali, chief executive of Nasdaq Dubai and DFM, said.
“Nasdaq Dubai’s world-class infrastructure, broker network and regulatory-focused approach offers fund managers the right environment to bring their products to market.”
The Middle East and North Africa is the fastest-growing cryptocurrency market in the world, accounting for 9.2 per cent of global digital currency transactions from July 2021 to June 2022, according to a report by blockchain data platform Chainalysis.
Individual investors in the Mena region received $566 billion in cryptocurrencies during the period — an annual increase of 48 per cent, Chainalysis said in its 2022 Global Crypto Adoption Index, which was dominated by emerging markets.
Bitcoin, the world’s largest digital currency, plunged from a record high of about $68,000 last year to trade at around $19,000 on Wednesday, while the cryptocurrency sector’s market capitalisation has fallen below the $1 trillion mark.
The sector's rollercoaster ride is far from over, dragged down by this year’s equity bear market, global economic uncertainty, higher interest rates and a sharp rise in the cost of living around the world, according to analysts.
However, investor appetite for crypto products remains strong in the Emirates.
In the July 2021 to June 2022 period, the Arab world’s second-largest economy accounted for 37.2 per cent of total transactions and $38bn in cryptocurrency activity, up from $28bn a year earlier, according to Chainalysis data.
“The UAE, and broader GCC, is a market of significant strategic importance to our business, and we are excited about the opportunity this market opens to us,” Sherif El Haddad, who joined 21Shares in August as head of Middle East, said.