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Crypto Adoption Surges 166% In Middle East As UAE Leads: Bitget

Andrew Throuvalas
Last updated: | 1 min read
UAE Records $25B Crypto Transactions in 2022: DMCC

Crypto adoption is heating up in the Middle East, with the average daily number of crypto traders in the area surpassing 500,000 in February 2024, according to Bitget Research.

The surge represents a 51% increase from February 2023, based on data from centralized crypto exchanges (CEXs). The region mostly depends on global crypto platforms for trading, due to poor market depth and available tokens on local exchanges.

Rising Crypto Adoption In the Middle East

Of the region’s nations, the United Arab Emirates leads adoption per capita, with peak daily active users reaching 106,111 in 2024. By comparison, Saudi Arabia had a marginally higher 129,397 peak daily active users, despite its population size being roughly three times larger than the UAE.

Year over year, the UAE specifically saw a 68% increase in the growth of daily traders. Morocco experienced the highest yearly growth, rising 148% year over year.

According to Bitget, part of the region’s crypto adoption growth relates to evolving views on how crypto intersects with Muslim beliefs – around transactions facilitating gambling or other immoral behavior.

“Due to the high volatility and uncertainty previously experienced in the cryptocurrency market, traditional Islamic rules do not recommend Muslims participate in highly volatile cryptocurrency transactions,” Bitget’s report stated. “However, as cryptocurrencies, especially assets like Bitcoin, have become more regulated in recent years, Muslim countries’ attitudes toward cryptocurrencies have begun to change.”

DEX Adoption

Though CEXs have been on the rise, Middle Eastern users are also fans of decentralized finance (DeFi), taking advantage of decentralized exchanges (DEXs) like Uniswap, PancakeSwap, and Raydium. The most used crypto wallets in the region are Trust Wallet, MetaMask, Phantom, Coinbase Wallet, and Bitget Wallet.

Bitget expects the number of daily active crypto users in the Middle East to rise to 700,000 by the end of 2024.

“The UAE will become the central hub for cryptocurrency talent, capital, and enterprises in the Middle East while increasing its global crypto influence,” it added.

The recent conflict in the Middle East concerning Iran and Israel has swung crypto markets in recent weeks, briefly driving Bitcoin back below $60,000 last week.