Dubai developer Damac Properties starts accepting Bitcoin and Ethereum

Move is aimed at leveraging growing use of cryptocurrency among investors

Damac has been in the Middle East's property market since 2002. Duncan Chard / The National
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Dubai developer Damac Properties will accept certain cryptocurrencies for property transactions as part of efforts to offer more flexibility to investors, the company has announced.

The developer will enable the conversion to fiat and the sale of property to holders of Bitcoin and Ethereum, it said. Fiat money is government-issued currency that is not backed by a commodity.

“This move towards customers holding cryptocurrency is one of our initiatives at Damac to accelerate the new economy for newer generations and for the future of our industry,” said Ali Sajwani, general manager of operations at Damac.

“Offering yet another transactional mode is exciting and we are glad to recognise the value this technology brings to our customers.”

The move will bolster efforts to provide convenience and optionality to property investors, the company added.

Dubai has been accelerating the adoption of digital currencies as it looks to regulate the sector. Last month, the emirate adopted a new law to regulate virtual assets.

The Dubai Virtual Asset Regulation Law is aimed at creating an advanced legal framework to protect investors and provide international standards for virtual asset industry governance that will promote responsible business growth in the emirate, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, said.

Virtual assets include cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

The Dubai Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA) has been established under the new law to regulate the sector throughout the emirate, including special development zones and free zones, but excluding the Dubai International Financial Centre.

Following the announcement, Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, and FTX Europe secured virtual asset licences to operate in Dubai.

Cryptocurrency exchange Bybit also said it had received approval to conduct virtual assets business in Dubai and initiated plans to set up its global headquarters in the emirate. BitOasis, one of the earliest cryptocurrency exchanges to set up in the UAE, said it, too, had applied for a new licence from VARA.

Damac Group, the parent of company of Damac Properties, also announced this week that it plans to invest $100 million to build “digital cities” in the metaverse.

The initiative forms part of the company's ambition to move into digital assets and NFTs, it said.

Dubai's property market has already recorded the adoption of cryptocurrencies.

Brokerage Fam Properties sold more than 400 properties last year with Bitcoin for Emaar in Dubai Creek Harbour, its website said.

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Updated: April 29, 2022, 3:10 PM
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