The Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority has decided to stop all cryptocurrency (i.e. virtual assets) related services via the Qatar Financial Center (QFC). The announcement was publicized by the regulators through a tweet on 26 December.
The tweet specified how even the authorized firms have been notified to avoid any kind of transaction related to digital assets within the Qatar Financial Centre until further notice to them. The center with its own legal and taxation infrastructure has attracted over 500 firms over the years.
The region has long been viewed as a free and stable region for investment by investors from across the world. It is hard to see what effect this decision will have on that image.
A Carpet Ban on Digital Assets
It is speculated that the move is part of broader government policy against money laundering. A local newspaper recently published a story on how the government has released a new law against money laundering. The QFCRA notification defines digital asset-related services broadly in terms of any service involving the exchange of fiat with crypto or crypto with fiat. They also include all other tools which allow and help in the storage or management of cryptocurrencies, like crypto-wallets.
Crypto’s Future Threatened?
Crypto’s fate is as divided as ever. The governments of many countries like China have banned all crypto exchanges on their soil all the while developing their own CBDC. Others like India have made it impossible for crypto-based businesses to operate in the country. In fact, in India, a bill has been introduced in the parliament titled Cryptocurrency Ban and Regulation of Official Digital Currencies Bill. On the other hand, some countries like Switzerland are welcoming new possibilities of digital assets, by promoting it through official policies of the state.