By Yousef Saba
DUBAI (Reuters) – Crypto investment products firm 21.co said on Wednesday its subsidiary 21Shares AG has listed a bitcoin exchange-traded product on Nasdaq Dubai, making it the Middle East’s first physically-backed bitcoin ETP.
The 21Shares Bitcoin ETP trades, under the ticker ABTC, in the same way as the 21Shares Bitcoin ETP in Europe, 21.co said in a statement.
Dubai has ambitions to become a global cryptocurrency hub and has attracted big industry players to set up shop like Binance, which went on a UAE hiring spree this year and is helping to shape the Middle East commercial hub’s virtual assets regulations.
Following the Dubai listing, 21Shares has 46 listed products in seven countries, 21.co added.
Swiss-based 21.co last month raised $25 million in a funding round that valued it at $2 billion, which it said made it “Switzerland’s largest crypto unicorn”.
The crypto market has suffered a rout that has forced some of its biggest players to lay off thousands of employees to cut costs.
But Sherif El-Haddad, appointed 21Shares head of Middle East in August, was upbeat, saying cryptocurrencies were “fast becoming the asset of the future for investors and wealth managers around the world”.
The Middle East and North Africa is the world’s fastest-growing cryptocurrency region, where the volume of crypto received jumped 48% in the year to June, blockchain researcher Chainalysis said in a report last week.
Hany Rashwan, CEO and co-founder of 21Shares, said in the statement the company “will continue to support the Middle East’s ambitions to become a global crypto hub”.
(Reporting by Yousef Saba; editing by Barbara Lewis)