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Beginners guide to getting started on Crypto in the UAE
One of the main perception barriers to getting involved is that, at a casual glance, it can all seem a bit nebulous.
To do almost anything in the crypto world, you’ll need a virtual wallet of some kind. That’s where you’re going to store your cryptocurrency. There are several different types of wallet available to you, but for those starting out — it’s worth noting that most crypto exchanges offer wallets as part of their trading platform.
These exchanges are places where you can swap real world currencies for cryptocurrencies or, once you have amassed those stacks of e-cheddar, trade one type of crypto coin for another. These trading platforms are live and feature up-to-the-moment prices for each coin (with their current value displayed against a range of Fiat currencies (like USD or AED for example).
The apex crypto currency is Bitcoin (BTC), all others coins, including the headline snatching Ethereum (ETH), are known as ‘altcoins’. These (altcoins) digital drip tokens are the wild west of cryptocurrency, fortunes are won and lost here through activities like shorting and speculative hedging, but (with the exception of Ethereum) unless you’ve really done your research, we’d recommend newbies steer clear of dropping any serious cash on them.
So, orientation over, you’re now ready to treat yourself to some crypto. The easiest way-in that we’ve discovered so far, for those based in the UAE, is with CoinMENA. It’s a Middle East-based company that’s fully licensed by the Central Bank of Bahrain and has recently signed a deal with DWTC to establish a crypto hub in Dubai. It’s available on most smart devices via a handy app that lets you transfer money in AED directly from your bank account and exchange it (with a small transactional fee) for BTC or a small collection of other altcoins (including ETH).
The account set up is not instantaneous. To help preserve the integrity of the crypto market, the service operators need to make sure you are who you say you are, to protect you from fraud and so that there’s an audit trail just in case you’re planning any sort of grand crypto heist. You’ll need to upload a few documents, including the front page of a bank statement, a utility bill and ID. Verification takes at most a couple of days, then you’re free to start collecting coins.
But remember, the golden rule of any speculative investment, is to never put down more than you can afford to lose. Whether that’s Dhs5 or 5 Bitcoins (currently around Dhs136,068). You will not become the wolf of Al Khail street overnight, crypto markets are volatile and there’s every chance you’ll take some knocks on your investment journey. But if you’re prepared to stay in it for the long HODL, it certainly doesn’t look like crypto is going to be a passing fad.
Use a regulated exchange (Like CoinMENA): This is very important because with a regulated exchange you can deposit in your local currency and withdraw your money to your local bank account anytime. With unlicensed international exchanges, you can only deposit your money, but can’t withdraw.
Start small: Only invest what you can afford. Start with a small allocation to have “skin in the game” and start paying attention and learn. The best way to learn about something is to participate in it.
Think long term: The best investors in the world think in years, not days or months. Warren Buffet once said “Do not take yearly results too seriously. Instead, focus on four or five-year averages.”
Do your homework: There are established cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum, and there’s “meme coins” like Doge and Shiba. They are not the same. While you are at it, google what “Dollar Cost Averaging” means.
Be patient, not greedy: “Rome wasn’t built in a day” Cryptocurrency gains can be exciting, but the volatility works both ways.