Bitcoin News: UAE Gets First Bitcoin Exchange

Multinational bitcoin exchange igot will today launch the first bitcoin exchange in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), to capitalize on the unique opportunity posed by the market.

The Australia-based company’s founder Rick Day told the new exchange will operate with a Commercial Brokerage License, approved by the local government. It has also secured local banking partners for direct deposits and withdrawals in UAE dirhams (AED).

Igot has hired a small team for business development and customer support for its Dubai office. Day added that igot will continue to offer the same flat 1% trading fee to all its customers worldwide, with no additional fees for deposits or withdrawals in either bitcoin or fiat currencies.

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The exchange is aimed more at consumers than professional traders, with a simple buy-sell interface. However, it recently implemented a feature called ‘Future Trade’ which functions like limit orders on a more advanced exchange, giving customers the option to set their price and wait for bitcoin’s value to rise or fall to that level before executing the trade.

As well as bank access, igot is also working with local payment processors to give users more options in the coming months. As well as having a concentration of high net-worth individuals among its citizens, about 60% of the UAE’s workforce consists of expat Indian workers, both professional and manual, who often send their money back home.

In fact, foreign citizens make up a staggering 91% of the UAE’s population of 9.2 million, with 1 million Indians representing the country’s largest overall group. Day said that, given that India is currently igot’s largest market outside Australia, its presence in the UAE puts the company in a very interesting position. “Our strategy to expand igot is based on a pairing system. India is one of our best performing markets. In terms of trade volumes, I think we’re the biggest local exchange there. Indians sent $70bn home in 2012.”

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Igot uses the same homepage and interface internationally, but users can connect directly to bank accounts in Australia, India, UAE, Hong Kong, Singapore and New Zealand. There is also the option to use other international bank accounts via the SWIFT network.

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