Blockchain industry set to flourish in the Middle East

Image source: IDB

Blockchain technology has been the hottest topic in the tech industry for the past few years, and it is now looking to take a leap forward.

A new blockchain and crypto association was recently formed in the Abu Dhabi Free Economic Zone.

It aims to improve the blockchain and crypto ecosystem development in the Middle East, North Africa and Asia.

The association

The Middle East, Africa & Asia Crypto & Blockchain Association (MEAACBA) was established a few days earlier at the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM).

In addition, the ADGM is a free economic zone in the city center.

It is governed by its own civil and commercial laws.

Additionally, the zone aims to promote the growth of fintech businesses in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The non-profit organization aims to facilitate regulatory solutions, create business opportunities and invest in education to support industry growth.


The MEAACBA will be led by CEO Jehanzeb Awan, the founder of an international risk and compliance consultancy based in Dubai.

Other association supporters include:

  • Richard Teng, Binance’s regional head of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA)
  • Stuart Isted,’s general manager of Middle East and Africa
  • Ola Doudin, the CEO of BitOasis, a cryptocurrency exchange in the region

In addition, Awan said he hopes the organization will bring a collective and community-based approach to improve industry growth in the MENA region.

He also hopes to develop far-reaching benefits for the “highly dynamic and exciting” space.

“The industry will benefit from the Association as it provides a coordination mechanism between regulators, government agencies, banks, legal tax, and advisory firms to address the most pressing challenges,” said Awan.

In addition, Ahmad Jasim Al Zaabi, ADGM’s chairman, said that the MEAACBA’s addition would help create a more “progressive financial sector” in the region.

The launch

The launch of MEAACBA comes as the FSRA in November released a set of “guiding principles” in its approach to dealing with the regulatory complexities that the digital asset industry brings.

The Financial Services Regulatory Authority is the financial regulatory body of the ADGM Free Economic Zone.

Additionally, the principles are “crypto-friendly.”

It continues to adhere to the United Nations’ strict international anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-terrorist financing (CFT) standards.

Moreover, recent studies show that the MENA region is the fastest-growing cryptocurrency market.

Additionally, between July 2021 and June 2022, the volume of transactions in the MENA region increased by 48% over the last 12 months.

It reached $566 billion.

The use case for cryptocurrencies in emerging markets comes from holding savings and remittances.

Finally, it curbs inflation in unstable economies.


Middle East, Asia, and Africa blockchain association launches in Abu Dhabi