New rules for UAE real estate industry for property bought with cryptocurrency
The Ministry of Economy (MoE) and the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), in partnership with the UAE Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), have announced the introduction of new reporting requirements aimed at certain real estate transactions.
The UAE is one of the first countries to implement such a mechanism for real estate transactions involving virtual assets, marking the latest example of the UAE’s global fight against money laundering and terrorist financing.
All real estate agents, brokers, and law firms are obliged to file reports to the FIU for purchase and sale transactions of freehold real estate properties in the UAE that include any of the below three methods of payment, whether for a portion or the entirety of the property value:
- Single or multiple cash payment(s) equal to or above AED 55,000
- Payments that include the use of a virtual assets
- Payments where the fund(s) used in the transaction were derived from a virtual asset.
The reporting mechanism requires real estate agents, brokers, and law firms to obtain and record the identification documents of the parties to the applicable transaction, among other relevant documents related to the transaction.
The rules apply to both individuals and corporate entities that are parties to the above real estate transactions.
The relevant private sector entities have been informed about the specific requirements in regulatory circulators issued by the MoE and MoJ.
Additionally, to ensure preparedness, UAE authorities have collaborated to host three separate workshops with real estate agents and brokers, as well as law firms, helping to guide them through the new reporting requirements and enhance their familiarisation with the FIU’s anti-money laundering system. The MoE and MoJ apply a proactive, risk-based supervisory approach in line with UAE legislation and the international standards set by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
Cryptocurrency terms in the UAE
According to real estate agency OPR, though you can buy real estate with cryptocurrency, it is impossible to pay with it directly. According to the requirements of the UAE Central Bank, all transactions outside the territory of the state must be carried out using the national currency – the dirham (AED).
In this case, it is necessary to transfer the digital currency to the account of the trading company and then get a cheque for the agreed amount of money. Only then can you pay for the purchase.
How to buy and from whom to buy with your virtual assets
FAM Properties has tied up with Singapore exchange company Huobi to facilitate such transactions while Binance and other cryptoexchanges have set up bases in the UAE.
The most well-known Dubai developers are ready to offer real estate to cryptocurrency holders. Among them are Emaar Properties, DAMAC Properties, Select Group, Dubai Properties, Meraas, Fam Properties and MAG Lifestyle Development. But an important condition is the co-operation with only licensed real estate agencies, brokers and trading companies with an impeccable reputation.
The following projects have been listed as of December 2021 that can be bought with cryptocurrency, although the list has widened much more since:
- Emaar Beachfront by Emaar Properties, located between the Palm Jumeirah and Mina Seyahi
- Bulgari Residencies, located on Jumeirah Bay Island, is a complex by Meraas
- Port De La Mer, also by Meraas, in Jumeirah 1 area
- Cavalli Tower, a project by Damac Properties, on Dubai Marina
RAK introduces world’s ‘first free zone’ for Metaverse companies
Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, UAE Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, has issued laws to establish apparently the world’s first free zone dedicated to digital and virtual assets companies.
Established under Law No. 2 of 2023, the Ras Al Khaimah Digital Assets Oasis will be an independent governmental authority. The new law grants RAK Digital Assets Oasis financial, administrative, and legislative independence, allowing it to function as a purpose-built free zone to enable innovation in the virtual assets sector.
The setting up of DAO is in furtherance to Law No 1 of 2023, which outlines the establishment of the Department of the Future. The new department will play a pivotal role in promoting innovation and driving the Emirate’s economic development in the digital age, positioning Ras Al Khaimah as a leader in innovation and entrepreneurship in the digital and virtual assets sector.
Sheikh Saud said: “The Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah has been playing a leading role in national efforts to strengthen the UAE’s diversified, sustainable economy. With the nation’s focus on digitalisation and encouraging enterprises of the future, RAK Digital Assets Oasis will serve as the gateway for global digital and virtual assets companies to establish their operations and grow their business. Our commitment is to provide an inspiring, innovation-centric environment that helps realize bright ideas that have transformational impact on the world.
“The new free zone will further cement Ras Al Khaimah’s reputation as a destination of choice for next-generation business ventures and the economy of the future.”
To lead the initiative, Sheikh Mohammed Al Qasimi has been appointed chairman and Dr Sameer Al Ansari as the CEO. Sheikh Mohammed is the Chairman of RAK International Corporate Centre (RAK ICC) and a Board Member and Managing Director of RAKEZ, while Dr Al Ansari is the CEO of RAK ICC and a member of the Board of Directors of Marjan, Ras Al Khaimah’s flagship master developer.
The DAO will open for applications in the second quarter of 2023, becoming the only free zone in the world exclusively for digital and virtual asset companies that are innovating in new and emerging sectors, such as the metaverse, blockchain, utility tokens, virtual asset wallets, NFTs, DAOs, DApp, and other Web3-related businesses.
Sheikh Saud added: “Ras Al Khaimah’s unique combination of accessibility, agility, and liveability will foster responsible innovation and position the UAE at the forefront in driving the most successful disruptive tech transformations of the coming decades.
“We are focused on promoting entrepreneurship, including the digital and virtual assets sector, which thrives on innovation and speed. The new free zone will encourage young talent to implement their powerful ideas for the digital world, as well as drive global digital players to expand their footprint through our free zone, which will add incremental value to the economy by creating new jobs and promoting inward investment. RAK Digital Assets Oasis will be a key economic growth engine for Ras Al Khaimah and the wider region.”
For more information, please visit www.rakdao.com or follow them on Twitter at @RAK_DAO
Sharjah Accelerator eases access for Dubai businesses with office in DIFC
Companies and entrepreneurs who want to straddle the best from both Sharjah and Dubai together now have a single-stop solution to set up their business. The Sharjah Research and Technology Innovation Park Accelerator, established to incubate businesses in certain focus areas, has opened an office in Dubai to cater to growing demand.
SRTIP is a free zone mandated to set up companies with a special research-based focus in six areas: water management, renewable energy, environmental technology, transport and logistics, digitalisation, and smart manufacturing.
“SRTIP Accelerator provides more than 650 business activities ranging from technology, research, innovation, trading, consultancy, and services. It is a concierge of services which is now at the doorstep of those in Dubai who wish to start or extend their operations in certain focus areas,” said Kallol Ghose, General Manager at SRTIP Accelerator’s new office near DIFC.
For budding female entrepreneurs, there is further incentive this month when the world celebrates Women’s Day. The SRTIP Accelerator has launched the Women Entrepreneur package starting from AED 5,500 only. Other packages include a ‘one-visa all-inclusive’ offer of AED 13,990 while two visas will cost AED 17,795.
“The SRTIP Accelerator Dubai office has been set up to provide a comprehensive and supportive environment for entrepreneurs, startups and women with the goal of facilitating their growth and success. We also provide payment plans to ease their initial investments,” Kallol informed.
Sharjah is the only emirate that shares borders with all six emirates, and is the third largest after Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Sharjah has been the culture hub of the UAE. An estimate from the Ministry of Economy says small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the UAE constitute up to 94 percent while providing jobs for 86 percent of the private sector workforce.
The coveted Sharjah Advanced Industry Accelerator programme from SRTIP last year saw a green hydrogen startup, REBOOZ, win the third cohort in December. The super-stringent screening saw seven finalists get into the programme from more than 1,500 applications from 45 countries. The latest SAIA edition had the support of Google, Intel, Amazon as well as UAE Ministry of Advanced Technology and Ministry of Climate Change and Environment.
The SRTIP Accelerator office in DIFC now brings the crucial growth ladder for startups and tech companies to those in Dubai. “Sharjah is transforming and with the right approach in blending environment, culture and the right mix of technology. Dubai has always been at the forefront in promoting startups and innovators. That is why we are well-positioned as the SRTIP Accelerator Dubai office to address this interesting juxtaposition.
“Our priority is to provide cost-effective business packages for startups and entrepreneurs and reduce their initial investment. We provide service of high quality, faster processing of licensing and also access to a networking community that inspires growth through innovation and collaboration,” Ghose said.
APLF returns to Dubai to exhibit leather industry’s finest and best
The world’s leading leather trade fair APLF is returning to the UAE for a successive year when it will be held at the Dubai World Trade Centre from March 13-15. Considered as the industry’s most important trade fair, the APLF will cover a gross exhibition area of 16,000 square meters and host 14 national pavilions from countries globally including Brazil, China, Egypt, France, India, Italy, Pakistan and more in the Sheikh Saeed Halls.
Commenting on the announcement of the trade fair, David Bondi, Senior Vice President, Informa Markets Asia, said: “Dubai is a melting pot of cultures and nationalities. Following the success of last year’s exhibition, it was a natural gravitas to hold the fair in UAE. Being the hub for businesses, Dubai is easily accessible from the American, European as well as the Asian subcontinents and will be a contributing factor to the international nature of the trade show.
“APLF has continually dedicated years to organising leather and fashion trade shows, attracting 60,000 participants annually and providing suitable venues for top-notch businesses, manufacturers, tanners, buyers, designers & suppliers. We look forward to a successful edition again this year.” he said.
The three-day exhibition will bring to the emirate over 300 plus exhibitors as well as the participation of regional associations from China along with others from Brazil, Egypt, France, India, Italy, Pakistan and Türkiye. For a second time in a row, the prime leather fair will take place in Dubai, with this year adding on the long-awaited Chinese suppliers and buyers. and be able to take full advantage of the business platform traditionally offered to the leather and fashion sectors by APLF since its inception in 1984. The APLF Leather fair covers the whole supply chain of the leather making industry and offers hundreds of finished leathers for all applications possible, from footwear and leather goods to garments and upholstery, making APLF Leather a unique sourcing event in the Middle East and North African region (MENA).
APLF’s sister fair, Fashion Access, will be held concurrently at the DWTC and is also supported by national and regional associations from Botswana, China, India, Pakistan, South Africa and Vietnam, A wide selection of footwear and leather goods will be on display highlighting the future trends and colors that will populate the fashion scene in upcoming seasons.
While APLF is a trade fair for businesses to come together and form partnerships, running simultaneously during the fair are several other activities integrating color, fashion and material trends which are of great interest to designers and artists alike. Notably this year sees the third edition of the Global Footwear Executive Summit (GFES) and seminars organised by Leather Naturally. A total of four workshops will take place at this year’s edition of APLF, which include two on leather foundation and two on footwear design.
|Dates:||13 -15 March 2023|
|Opening Hours:||10:00am-6:00pm on Day 1 & 2, 10:00am-5:00pm on Day 3|
|Venue:||Sheikh Saeed Halls 1-3, Dubai World Trade Centre|
|Concurrent Events:||APLF Leather, Materials+, Fashion Access|