Saxo Bank, the multi-asset trading and investment specialist, has shared that Bitcoin and Ethereum are the most popular currencies in crypto trading among clients in the MENA region, in line with global volumes, as it celebrates a milestone year of regulated trading on the Crypto FX platform.
57% of trading of the Crypto FX offering from the MENA region was seen on Bitcoin, and Ethereum at 40%. Globally, Bitcoin-USD made up 45% of crypto forex trading volumes on the platform, just ahead of 44% volumes of Ethereum-USD, with more minor fiat currencies making up a minority of trades.
Trading volumes on the Crypto FX offering approached 400 million USD in the MENA region in the year since its launch, with global trading volumes exceeding 3.4 billion USD.
The Crypto FX offering enables clients to trade between crypto and the fiat currencies of USD, EUR and JPY, and the introduction of the platform last May saw a significant uptick of demand and trading in crypto among the MENA client base, with records showing January 2022 as the busiest month for both client figures and volumes within a consistent increase in crypto assets held month by month.
The findings come amid volatile times for crypto markets globally, with Bitcoin and Ether down 50% from last year’s peak.
Stanislav Kostyukhin, Commercial Owner, Trader, Saxo Bank, said: “These figures show the high interest in this nascent asset class within the region while also highlighting the confidence that investors have in our framework as the market continues to evolve. Our crypto offering ensures clients have a fully compliant product, with best execution and best practice – an important framework in a space that is otherwise extremely volatile and unregulated.”
The UAE is a major player in this Crypto-Virtual asset space, driving interest among MENA region and international clients. Damian Hitchen, CEO of Saxo Bank MENA, highlighted some of the major developments regionally which are helping to increase demand. He said: “There is no doubt that the UAE is a leading global player in this space. We are seeing high levels of interest and trading from our own clients in this nascent asset class, and we understand the need to balance this increased demand for access with the regulatory and investor protections that are commonplace in more mature asset classes.
“On a wider picture the UAE has seen significant developments in both its regulatory landscape and new entrants/service providers in the last 2 years. In the last six months the Dubai/Abu Dhabi regulators have approved more than 30 licenses for crypto-service providers, including two globally significant players in Binance and Kraken who are setting up home in the UAE.
“On the regulatory side, in Dubai there is a new ‘virtual asset’ regulator in “VARA” who is not only covering more mainstream crypto services but also looking beyond into NFT’s and the Metaverse, all of which suggests that the UAE will continue to grow in the digital / crypto landscape at a pace”