Middle East gets physical Bitcoin ETP listed on Nasdaq Dubai


21Shares, a major global provider of cryptocurrency exchange-trading products (ETP), is debuting a physical Bitcoin (BTC) ETP in the United Arab Emirates.

The new 21Shares Bitcoin ETP has started trading on the international financial exchange Nasdaq Dubai under the ticker ABTC, the firm announced on Oct. 12.

The newly launched crypto product is physically backed, which means that it’s fully collateralized by the underlying Bitcoin assets they track with 1:1 leverage, 21Shares co-founder and CEO Hany Rashwan told Cointelegraph. The ETP’s underlying crypto assets are deposited in an offline wallet to ensure better security, he noted.

21Shares’ expansion into the UAE is a major milestone in the company’s international growth. Including Nasdaq Dubai, 21Shares’ ETPs are listed across 12 exchanges, including SIX Swiss Exchange, Deutsche Börse, EuroNext, BXSwiss, Wiener Börse, Quotrix, Gettex, Börse Stuttgart, Börse München, Börse Düsseldorf and Nasdaq.

According to Rashwan, Germany and Switzerland are currently the two of the biggest markets for 21Shares’ crypto ETPs in Europe.

“In terms of MENA, we expect strong interest given the crypto-friendly nature of the region,” Rashwan said, adding that the UAE received more cryptocurrency than any other Arab country in 2021.

The CEO also mentioned that the MENA region has become a hub for crypto companies and major exchanges like FTX, Kraken and Blockchain.com, attracting even more investors following India’s decision to tax crypto earnings at 30%. “The Middle East’s level of interest and crypto-friendliness made it a prime market for expansion for 21Shares,” Rashwan stated.

21Shares is not the only firm that has listed crypto investment products on Nasdaq Dubai. Last year, Canadian investment fund manager 3iQ listed a Bitcoin ETP on Nasdaq Dubai as well. The product is trading under the ticker QBTC and offers indirect exposure to Bitcoin. “The 3iQ Bitcoin Fund is not physically-backed,” the 21Shares CEO stressed.

Related: Middle East and North Africa are fastest-growing crypto markets: Data

The news comes soon after 21.co, the new parent firm of 21Shares, appointed Sherif El-Haddad as head of the MENA in August. The former head of asset management at Dubai-based Al Mal Asset Management, El-Haddad previously attempted to launch a physically-backed crypto exchange-traded fund at Al Mal, but his proposal was not approved.