Multinational company igot has reportedly launched the first bitcoin exchange in the UAE.
The Australia-based company will operate from offices in Dubai with a Commercial Brokerage Licence approved by the local government, its founder told finance website CoinDesk.
Rick Day was quoted as saying that igot has secured local banking partners for direct deposits and withdrawals in UAE dirhams.
Igot has also hired a small team for business development and customer support for its Dubai office, the report said.
Bitcoin is a digital currency whose value fluctuates according to demand by users. Users can transfer bitcoins to each other over the internet and store the currency in digital "wallets."
Day said the exchange is aimed more at consumers than professional traders, with a simple buy-sell interface, adding that igot is also working with local payment processors to give users more options in the coming months.
Igot said it will also target the UAE’s wealthy native population, as well as its institutional investors.
Day said the company had processed more than $25m worth of trades in the seven months since it launched.
The digital currency, introduced in 2009, is still rare as a form of payment but is growing in acceptance among businesses because it has no transaction costs, compared to 2-3 percent for most credit cards.
It has been criticised for its ties with illicit activity and several governments have acted against it.
China has restricted the use of bitcoin in exchange for the Yuan, while the US FBI last year shutdown an online black market and seized 144,000 bitcoins worth $28.5m.