Dubai's first licensed Bitcoin trader: 'It's a commodity not a currency'

Ksenia Kiseleva of DMCC-licensed Regal RA talks regulation, storage and eliminating the dark side of cryptocurrencies
By Eddie Taylor
Tue 13 Feb 2018 01:38 PM

Regal RA is, it claims, the first company in the Middle East to be awarded a licence to trade in cryptocurrencies.

The licence was issued by the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) under a new regulatory framework it revealed back in November last year, and it allows companies such as Regal RA to buy, sell and store a range of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and Ripple, as well less well known alt-coins such as Neo and Stellar Lumens.

Regal RA, founded in Texas, US, is primarily a trader in gold and precious metals and is using the exact same principals to offer its customers this new asset class – from the over-the-counter purchase to the secure vault storage.

Arabian Business spoke to Ksenia Kiseleva, manager of the Regal Assets Dubai office, to talk about why they made the move from physical to virtual assets.

Can you explain what the license you now have for trading cryptocurrencies?
We have a license for Proprietary Trading in Crypto-commodities, issued by the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre. It’s important for us as a company to work in a field that is regulated and to have full compliance with those regulations.

DMCC is the first authority in the region to offer a license to trade in crypto-commodities – and we were the first licensee. There are still no licenses for online exchange available in the UAE right now.

You’re saying “crypto-commodities”, not “cryptocurrencies”. Is that how you and DMCC see these assets?
We do. It’s a commodity, a store of value, and we see it the same way as we do gold bullion. It’s not money or a unit of exchange. In that way, we’re following the lead of the US.

Why is licensing important to you?
We are big believers in crypto-commodities and we want the space to be regulated and to help eliminate what might be called the “dark side” of it. We have seen so many hacks and scams in the sector, so regulation is important. We want our customers to be able to buy or sell crypto-commodities in a safe, secure way and with full confidence.

How does your service work, then?
At the moment, it’s an over-the-counter service that works in exactly the same way as buying or selling gold. Clients need to set up an account and go through the full anti-money laundering (AML) and know-your-customer (KYC) processes, including proof of source of funds.

Then they can buy Bitcoin or specified range of alt-coins, which can be sent to their dedicated cold storage wallet and vaulted until client is looking to sell. It’s really for people with large sums who are storing it over longer periods – again, just as they would with gold.

How do you store them?
We take the crypto-commodities offline and put it in a cold wallet we generate then put it in cold storage in a vault – right where we store our gold.

Do you own any Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies yourself?
Of course! We love them. Both on a company and a personal level. It’s exciting to be in this asset class, and we really hope that we create a more regulated environment to be fully compliant and audited for the benefit of the customer.

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