Reuters reported on Friday that cryptocurrency firms in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have been inundated with requests from Russian clients to liquidate billions of dollars worth of digital assets
Over the past few days, one crypto executive claims to have received several requests from Swiss brokers looking to liquidate billions in bitcoin (BTC), none of which were for less than $2 billion because their clients are afraid Switzerland will freeze their assets.
“We have one guy – I don’t know who he is, but he came through a broker – and they’re like, ‘We want to sell 125,000 bitcoin.’ And I’m like, ‘What? That’s $6 billion, guys.’ And they’re like, ‘Yeah, we’re going to send it to a company in Australia.'”
According to the report, other Russians were buying property in Dubai, using crypto as a way of getting their money out of other jurisdictions and into the Gulf state. For years, Russians have been among the top visitors and real estate buyers in Dubai, long before the Ukraine invasion began.
Aspurv Trivedi of Healy Consultants, which advises on setting up companies, including crypto companies, said they had definitely gotten more interest from Russian clients recently.
“They’re basically trying to protect themselves against the inflationary pressures that are happening against the Russian currency. So crypto has been a very good exit for them to manage the risks that they’re facing,” Trivedi said. “It’s a good liquidity provider for them.”
In the past, the UAE has insisted it is not taking side with either Western allies or Moscow. The UAE’s presidential adviser Anwar Gargash said late last month that the Gulf state “believes taking sides will only lead to more violence,” and that the UAE will encourage all participants to resort to diplomatic action.