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How to Buy Bitcoin & Cryptocurrency In UAE

A beginners’ guide on how to buy bitcoin and cryptocurrency in UAE. Find out where to buy crypto in UAE, including the best brokers and exchanges. Also, review different secure payment methods including Paypal, bank transfer, and credit cards.

Author: Edith Reads Last updated: 07/12/2021
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Introduction

What is bitcoin, and cryptocurrency in general? Which is the best broker to buy bitcoin instantly in the UAE? This guide will answer these questions.  We will help beginners understand the simple crypto buying process and walk you through how to buy cryptocurrency in UAE. We’ll introduce you to the best bitcoin exchanges in UAE. We will brief you on the legality of owning crypto in the country and tell you what you can do with cryptocurrencies after buying some.

There exists an information gap, especially when it comes to the best places to buy cryptocurrencies. In an environment that has seen an influx of crypto exchanges, we can only attribute this to the growing number of crypto investors. But buying cryptocurrency in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and the larger UAE doesn’t have to be complicated, even for a crypto beginner.

Best 6 exchanges & Brokers to Buy Cryptocurrency in UAE

  • Min Deposit: $200
  • Number of Coins: 20+
  • Supports Multiple Languages
  • Regulated by FCA, ASIC & CySEC
  • Paypal, Debit & Credit Card Accepted
Card CashBankGiro PayMastercardNetellerPayPalSkrillUnionPayVisaWire CardYandex
Visit eToro

Capital At Risk

  • Min Deposit: 20 $£€
  • Number of Coins: 12+
  • Regulated by FCA & CySEC
  • Place Buy & Sell CFDs Orders
  • Low Minimum Deposit
MastercardNetellerPayPalSkrillUnionPayVisaWire Card
Visit Capital.com

78.77% of retail cfd accounts lose money

  • Min Deposit: 1 $£€
  • Number of Coins: 9+
  • Good Education Sources
  • Fast Transactions
  • Multiple Trading Instruments
MastercardNetellerSkrillVisaWire Card
Visit Evest

Capital At Risk

  • Min Deposit: 5 $£€
  • Number of Coins: 60+
  • Private key encryption and 2FA
  • User-Friendly
  • Privacy protection
Card CashBankMastercardPayPalVisa
Visit uphold

Capital At Risk

  • Min Deposit: 1 $£€
  • Number of Coins: 50+
  • Regulated by SEC, & FinCEN
  • Place Buy & Sell CFDs Orders
  • Low Minimum Deposit
Giro PayMastercardNetellerSkrillUnionPayVisaYandex
Visit Coinbase

Capital At Risk

  • Min Deposit: 1 $£€
  • Number of Coins: 1500+
  • High Number of Coins
  • Accepts Fiat Deposits
  • Trade on Spot and Futures
Card CashMastercardSkrillWire Card
Visit Binance

Capital At Risk

A Quick Three-Step Guide to Buying Crypto Instantly

Step 1: Register with the Exchange

Regardless of your chosen crypto trading platform, you will have to begin by creating a user account. You start by filling a simple online registration form and furnishing the exchange with a copy of a UAE government-issued identity verification document. In most cases, completing the registration form takes a few minutes, while identity verification and account approval may take a few days.

Step 2: Deposit Funds

You then need to deposit funds into your approved crypto exchange account. The deposit and withdrawal methods available to you vary from one exchange to another. But the most common payment methods in UAE include debit/credit cards, bank account, PayPal, and eWallets (Skrill, Neteller). These exchanges will also support deposits in form other cryptocurrencies and tokens.

Step 3: Buy Preferred Crypto Instantly

After making the deposit, you can go ahead and start buying Bitcoins and other crypto assets on your exchange. Some exchanges like eToro have the beginner-friendly instant buy option that lets you buy Bitcoins instantly (often directly from the exchange or at the best market rate but without going through the order book). The rest let you access their order book and buy supported cryptocurrencies at the current market rate or by opening a limit order that lets you set a customized buy price.

What is a Cryptocurrency Exchange?

Also referred to as digital currency exchange, a crypto exchange is an online trading platform that lets users buy and sell virtual currencies in exchange for fiat currencies or other virtual currencies. In the UAE, these are also referred to as Bitcoin exchanges and they function as the traditional stock market exchange. They are designed to bring together buyers and sellers and provide them with a platform where they can exchange their digital wares i.e. cryptocurrencies with fiat currency or other digital currencies.

To buy and sell virtual assets at a crypto exchange in Dubai, you will first need to create an investor account. Note that the registration process is indifferent to both the locals and expats. And for linking you with a crypto buyer or seller, most of these exchanges will charge you a small fee in the form of a broker commission or the more common spread (difference between the bid and ask prices).

Before we go on, we must mention that there are multiple types of crypto exchanges operating in the UAE with the three most common being:

Centralized Exchange

A centralized exchange (CEX) is an online trading platform owned and run by an individual or entity that oversees the smooth interaction of buyers and sellers. To trade on a centralized exchange, you first need to deposit your coins to a third party (the exchange) that will in turn send you the fiat currency received from whomever you wish to sell your cryptocurrency. It is a trust-based system that involves trusting the third with your crypto coins and fiat currency.

Centralized exchanges are the more common types of crypto trading platforms in the UAE, which effectively makes them liquid. They are preferred to other types of exchanges in the UAE because they are easy to use, they process fiat deposits, and they are relatively faster in crypto transaction execution. The only downside to using a centralized exchange when buying crypto in Sharjah or Abu Dhabi is the accompanying loss of privacy that comes with identity verification. They also charge relatively higher transaction fees than their decentralized exchange counterparts.

Decentralized Exchange

Decentralized Exchanges (DEX), on the other hand, refer to trustless online trading platforms that don’t rely on a third party to oversee the exchange’s operations. Instead, most of these utilize automated escrow services and smart contracts to facilitate trades. Unlike centralized exchanges that have an intermediary at the center of a transaction, DEX’s match buyers and sellers directly.

The benefits of using a decentralized exchange include the ability to buy cryptocurrency anonymously (without ID verification) in UAE. DEX’s also maintain relatively low transaction fees and are considerably safer than CEX. On the flip side, though, most DEX’s will only process crypto-to-crypto transactions, they are considerably less liquid, and list fewer crypto trading pairs.

Hybrid Exchange

Hybrid exchanges (HEX), as the name suggests, combine aspects of centralized and decentralized exchanges. They are online trading platforms that provide you with the liquidity and fast transaction speeds of a CEX and the confidentiality of a DEX. When using a hybrid exchange, you will have the option of choosing when to trade with or without an intermediary. Note, however, that Hybrid exchanges are not as common as DEX or CEX.

What is the Difference Between a Crypto Exchange and a Brokerage

We start by pointing out that both a cryptocurrency exchange and brokerage are online trading platforms where you can buy and sell digital currencies. But while a crypto exchange is often characterized as a platform where you can buy and sell actual crypto coins (and acquire their ownership by possessing their private keys), brokerages are viewed as crypto derivatives markets. In place of buying and selling actual digital assets, brokerages let you trade crypto derivatives – with CFDs (Contracts for Differences) being the most common.

Here are the other key differences between the two:

Storage of assets: Most exchanges will store the digital assets on your behalf or provide you with a free digital wallet where you can store your crypto. Brokerages, on the other hand, don’t provide wallets or provide custody services since they do not sell actual crypto coins.

Safety and security: Crypto exchanges are considered less secure as they are prone to constant attacks from hackers and other cybercriminals looking to crypto assets stored therein. Brokerages on the other hand are considerably safer as they do not handle actual digital assets.

Product pricing: A crypto exchange can only add a spread to the crypto prices determined through the force of demand and supply on the open market while brokerages get to set the price of the derivatives offered on their platform – which is often higher than the market rate of the actual crypto asset.

So, which one should you be using? You should consider registering with a crypto exchange if you intend to buy and assume ownership of a digital asset by taking possession of its private keys. Additionally, most exchanges have integrated features that make it possible for their clients to trade crypto derivatives.

How to Invest in Digital Currencies in UAE

You now understand the crypto buying process and the different types of exchanges where you can buy these digital currencies. But before we tell you of the top choices for crypto exchanges, you first need to decide on a crypto investing strategy. Pick one of these four most popular cryptocurrency investing strategies in the UAE.

Buy and Hold (HODLing)

Buying and holding is an example of long-term crypto investing strategy that involves buying bitcoin and other digital currencies in Dubai and holding on to them for a long time. Also referred to as HODLing, it is the most common and most beginner-friendly investment strategy. As a holder, you are simply buying the altcoin, hoping and believing that its price will continue rising and eventually reach unprecedented heights, effectively earning you massive ROI on your investment.

HODLers are, therefore, not worried about the short-term volatilities of their favorite cryptocurrency because they are confident it will always rebound and set an aim for higher prices. The biggest benefit of going long-term with digital currencies is that the crypto industry is still young and data suggest that it will continue growing and posting massive gains for investors over the long term. The downside, however, is that digital assets are highly volatile investments and there is no guarantee that their prices will perpetually rise.

Active Trading

Active trading is, on the other hand, a short-term trading strategy that involves ‘timing’ the market by buying when the price of an asset is low and selling it as soon as this price rises. It may take the form of day trading where an investor opens multiple trades throughout a trading session, holding on to a digital currency for a relatively short period. It may also take the form of swing trading where traders buy bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies at a price dip, riding their price rally and selling at its price peak.

Trading, unlike HODLing, carries more risks and is, therefore, not suitable to beginner investors. But with the right tools and enough trading experience, pro traders can book massive profits within a relatively short period of time.

Staking

Staking is an investment strategy that involves locking your crypto holdings in a Proof of Stake powered blockchain network to assist in verifying and confirming crypto transactions. It also involves depositing your crypto assets in a decentralized Finance protocol that invests them on your behalf or lends them to other investors and pays you interest.

To start staking, however, you first need to buy these crypto coins – which makes them suitable for long-term investors. You then find a DeFi protocol that supports the staking of your coins, deposits the funds, and decides on the lock-up period – as you would with a traditional fixed bank account.

The upside of staking is that it is less risky than active trading and it earns you double incomes because even as you receive interest for the holdings, they are also appreciating in value. The downside, however, is that DeFi apps are unsafe as they have become an easy target for hackers and other cybercriminals.

Mining

You could also choose to mine cryptocurrencies operating on the Proof of Work consensus algorithm, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoins, Zcash, Dogecoin, Bitcoin Cash, etc. Mining, in this aspect, involves contributing computational power towards verifying and confirming transactions on a blockchain. For every block generated, you earn free digital currencies. At the moment, for instance, Bitcoin rewards validators with 6.25 BTC for every mined block while Litecoin rewards them with 12.5 LTC coins.

To start mining, you will need to start by investing in powerful computing hardware, especially graphics cards. You will also need a wallet where the mined crypto is to be delivered and access to an exchange where you can sell them. The upside to mining is that you are getting highly valuable crypto assets for free. The downside is that setting up a profitable crypto mining facility is quite expensive, not to mention that power bills rack up fast.

What are The Pros and Cons of Investing in Cryptocurrencies Today?

Pros

Cons

What Factors Should Investors in UAE Look for When Buying Cryptocurrency in UAE

The sheer number of cryptocurrency exchanges operating in major cities across the UAE as well as international exchanges processing UAE resident applications is overwhelming. And this complicates the process of choosing a good crypto exchange. To help you get started, however, we will be highlighting some of the factors that you should consider when deciding on the best exchange to buy crypto in the UAE. These include:

Are Bitcoin Cryptocurrencies Legal in UAE?

As is the case with most other countries across the world, there is no national legislation authorizing the use of cryptocurrencies in the UAE. Similarly, there is no national legislation expressly prohibiting the use of digital currencies in the country. The banking industry regulators, especially the Financial Services Regulatory Agency (FSRA) and the Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) have taken up the role of policing the crypto industry in the country.

To operate a cryptocurrency exchange or process crypto payments in the country, therefore, you will need an operating license from FSRA or SCA, depending on the crypto coin in use and the place of operation (noting that companies on the economic free zones operate under different terms from the local establishments). Additionally, the companies involved in the crypto transaction must also abide by the anti-money laundering policies developed by the Central Bank of UAE (CBUAE).

The bottom line, however, and with the lack of clear crypto legislation notwithstanding, is that UAE has positioned itself as one of the most crypto-friendly nations in the world. Several blockchain-based companies have even set up shop here, including the all-popular DubaiCoin (DBIX) whose price appreciated by more than 1000% within 24 hours of launch.

How to Buy Bitcoin in UAE Guide

There is a wide range of payment methods that you can use to buy digital currency in the UAE. In this section, we look at some of the most commonly used deposit and withdrawal methods and how they work.

But before that, we need to answer the question of why you need to invest in crypto in the UAE.

Why Buy Cryptocurrency in UAE

The government, through the CBUAE, has already expressed interest in venturing into the crypto industry. Multi-national crypto companies have set bases in the country and banks are looking to create blockchain-related programs. Millions across the country are also investing in Bitcoins and other popular cryptocurrencies, and so should you.

Still not convinced? Here are five more reasons every UAE resident (citizens and ex-pats) should consider investing in cryptocurrencies:

Pro Tip: Due to the untamed volatility that characterizes most cryptocurrencies, we advise you to start small and add on to the investment as you learn more about the crypto asset and the crypto industry.

How to Buy Cryptocurrencies at an Exchange or a Broker in UAE

Now that you understand the process of buying virtual currencies in Abu Dhabi and understand the reasons why you too should be hoarding some of these digital assets, let us now look at how you can pay for crypto on these exchanges.

How to Buy with Crypto Credit/debit Card in UAE

A 2017 World Bank report indicated that more than 45.44% of UAE residents above 15 years had access to a credit card and as much 82.66% owned a debit card. This makes bank cards one of the most popular payment methods in the country and one of the most convenient ways of buying bitcoins and other digital assets on such exchanges as eToro.

We refer to it as convenient because transaction processing is almost instantaneous and all the exchanges we have featured on this guide don’t maintain a deposit-processing fee. They also have low minimum deposits – starting from $200 on eToro. Most exchanges will also process card withdrawals instantaneously.

How to Buy Crypto with PayPal in UAE

PayPal has also morphed into one of the most popular digital payment methods available to UAE residents. Most crypto exchanges operating here will, therefore, let you deposit and buy cryptocurrencies in Dubai using PayPal. Most crypto investors instantaneous, exchanges prefer it to other payment methods because the payment processing does not charge a deposit-processing fee, and PayPal transaction fees are incredibly low.

How to Buy Crypto With eWallets (Skrill, Neteller) in UAE

UAE’s rapidly growing finance landscape has also caught the eye of numerous digital payment processors, chief among them being Skrill and Neteller. And you can use either to buy your preferred cryptocurrency on such exchanges as eToro. Like PayPal, eWallet deposits and withdrawals are instantaneous, the payment processors maintain attractively low transaction fees, and eToro doesn’t maintain deposit processing fees.

How to Buy Crypto with a Bank Transfer in UAE

The 2017 World Bank also reported that 87.39% of UAE residents operated a bank account. This in effect, makes banking the most accessible and one of the most common payment methods of buying cryptocurrencies in the country. Additionally, all the crypto exchanges we have featured in this guide let you buy crypto assets via bank wire. Where all other payment methods fail, therefore, you can always make a bank deposit.

We must, however, mention that bank deposits are not as popular when buying virtual currencies in Dubai as PayPal, eWallets, and cards. First, they carry relatively higher transaction processing fees. Secondly, they have rather extended deposit and withdrawal processing times – between 3 and 7 business days on eToro for instance.

Lastly, they carry higher minimum deposits. On eToro, for instance, all other payment methods can make a minimum initial deposit of $200 while banks can only deposit a minimum of $500. On the upside, however, bank deposits don’t have a maximum deposit.

How to buy Cryptocurrencies Anonymously (without ID verification) in UAE

The Central Bank of UAE requires that all crypto exchanges verify their platform users’ identities by subjecting them to KYC and AML verification processes. Exchanges like eToro, however, let you buy cryptocurrencies anonymously (without ID verification) in UAE, albeit temporarily. It lets you deposit and buy crypto for up to $2250 anonymously.

How Much Do You Need to Start Trading Cryptocurrencies in UAE?

There is no standard minimum on how much you need to start investing in digital assets in Sharjah or the larger UAE. How much you can invest in cryptocurrencies is a personal choice. In most cases, however, the minimum investment will be determined and have to be in line with the minimum trading limit set by your preferred crypto exchange. On eToro, for instance, you will need a minimum of $25 to buy crypto.

The maximum crypto investment amount will, however, need to be a personal decision. And in making this decision, experts advise you to consider several factors, including your disposable income, crypto investment experience, investing strategy, and risk tolerance. Ideally, inexperienced traders, individuals with low disposable income, and short-term traders are advised to go slow on how much they dedicate to crypto investing.

Nevertheless, everyone is advised to have at least 1% of their investment portfolio converted to cryptocurrencies. But such a low figure is reserved for the skeptics. The rest of you are advised to consider holding between 5% and 40% of your portfolio in crypto assets i.e. around 5% for conservative traders and around 40% for highly experienced and more risk-tolerant crypto maximalists.

Pro tip: The secret in determining how much to invest in cryptocurrencies, as is the case with virtually any other asset class, lies in not investing more than you can afford or are willing to lose.

Where Can You Buy Cryptocurrency in UAE

As we have mentioned above in this post, United Arab Emirates has positioned itself as one of the friendliest crypto jurisdictions in the world. The CBUAE and regulatory agencies (FSRA and SCA) have come up with crypto-friendly policies that are aimed at attracting digital currency trading platforms to the country. Right now there are three primary places where you can buy Bitcoins and other virtual assets in UAE. Let us go through each of these and list the type of crypto assets they provide:

Crypto Exchanges

We have already said that an exchange is an online crypto trading platform that brings together buyers and sellers. We also mentioned that crypt prices on an exchange are determined by the natural forces of demand and supply, but different exchanges add varied spreads – that serves as their income. In UAE, exchanges specialize in selling you actual crypto tokens. This means that you gain access to the coin’s private keys.

Crypto Brokerages

Brokerages are similar to crypto exchanges in multiple ways as they too are online platforms that let you buy and sell cryptocurrencies. But while exchanges provide a platform that links buyers and sellers, crypto brokerages users trade against the broker, not the market. Most brokerages also get to determine the price of their supported assets, which as we mentioned is often higher than the asset’s actual market rate. Further, most crypto brokerages in UAE specialize in crypto derivatives, especially CFDs, which do not give you ownership of the crypto being traded.

Peer-to-peer Crypto Trading Platforms

Peer-to-peer crypto trading platforms, as the name suggests, are online trading platforms that link crypto buyers and sellers within a certain geographical space. They can then agree to meet physically to exchange the crypto or settle the transaction offline through the escrow service provided by the platform. Like exchanges, P2P platforms specialize in the trade of actual crypto tokens.

P2Ps, however, stand out because they cut out the middleman. They allow traders to settle the trade using a wide variety of payment options not available to exchanges users such as gift cards, cash payments, and virtually any conceivable payment option available to the involved parties.

1. eToro – Best Overall and Great for Social Trading

Number of Coins: 20+
Margin Trading: YES
Minimum Deposit: $200
Visit eToro

Capital At Risk

eToro tops our list of the best exchanges to buy Bitcoin and other cryptos in the UAE because of its social trading features and user-friendly platform.

Through its social and copy trading tools, eToro allows novice crypto traders to gain mentorship from more experienced traders. And as they learn how to trade, they get to earn from copying winning crypto and portfolio trading strategies used by PRO traders.

Other factors that inform our decision to rank eToro as the best place to buy crypto in UAE include its solid reputation, competitive, and highly transparent trading fees, the fact that it is regulated by top tier financial agencies across the world, safety assurance for client deposits, and straightforward onboarding process. When using eToro you will be able to buy, sell, swap, and store your tokens either on the main exchange or in the free non-custodial mobile wallet app provided to all platform users.

The account creation process on eToro is rather straightforward and starts with completing a user registration form online. You will then be required to furnish them with a copy of a government-issued ID if you wish to deposit and buy crypto for more than $2250 (approximately 8626 AED. The minimum you can deposit into an eToro account is $200 (approximately 735 AED) and the minimum trade limit is $25 (approximately 92 AED).

eToro screenshot 1

Note: eToro has only one base currency i.e. the USD. You might, therefore, want to convert your Dirham into USD before depositing if you do not wish to pay the 0.1% currency conversion fee that eToro charges for all AED deposits.

The supported payment methods include bank cards, bank wire transfers, and eWallets (Skrill, Neteller, and even PayPal). While here, you get to interact with over 30 cryptocurrencies and 70+ crypto to fiat and crypto to crypto trading pairs.

The supported cryptos include Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), Ripple (XRP), Cardano (ADA), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Chainlink (LINK), Uniswap (UNI), Stellar Lumens (XLM), Ethereum Classic (ETC), Iota (MIOTA), Dash (DASH), EOS (EOS), Neo (NEO), Binance Coin (BNB), Tron (TRX), Tezos (XTZ), Maker (MKR), Compound (COMP), Dogecoin (DOGE), Algorand (ALGO), Aave (AAVE), Decentraland (MANA), Yearn. Finance (YFI), Shiba Inu (SHIB), Spark (FLR), Polygon (MATIC), Basic Attention Token (BAT), and Enjin (ENJ).

Some of the fees that you have to contend with when trading crypto on eToro include a variable spread that starts from 0.75%, a withdrawal fee of $5 for a minimum $30 withdrawal, and a 20% commission for copied trades (goes directly to PRO traders not eToro).

What are the Pros and Cons of Buying Cryptocurrency on eToro UAE?

Pros

Cons

2. Capital.com –  Best for CFD Trading

Number of Coins: 12+
Margin Trading: YES
Minimum Deposit: 20 $£€
Visit Capital.com

78.77% of retail cfd accounts lose money

Capital.com features on our list of top places to buy digital currencies in the UAE because of its solid reputation as a crypto CFD brokerage.

Starting in 2016 as a pure derivative trading platform, Capital.com has gone on to become one of the best crypto CFD trading platforms in the world. But it is even more popular for its AI-powered trading tool that has not only made the platform more user-friendly but also assists with both pre-and post-trade analysis.

Other factors that informed our decision to include Capital.com here include the fact that Capital.com is a zero-commission broker, maintains some of the fastest order execution speeds, integrates 70+ technical indicators, educational resources, and guarantees the privacy of your user data and security of your deposited funds. Even more importantly, we appreciate the highly effective range of risk management tools integrated into the platform.

Like all the other exchanges we have featured here, Capital.com is registered with and regulated by some top-tier finance regulatory agencies in the world. It is also ranked highly as a reputable CFD trading platform on such review platforms as TrustPilot.

Capital.com screenshot 2

The trading process on the platform is also easy and straightforward. It starts with creating a trader account in less than 3 minutes, verifying your identity, deciding on the crypto you wish to trade, depositing cash, and becoming a crypto investor. The minimum deposit on Capital.com for UAE residents is $20 (approximately 74 AED). Crypto traders will also have access to leverage of up to 2X their trading capital.

While here, you get to interact with more than 200 cryptocurrency pairs including BTC/USD, ETH/USD, XRP/USD, SIB/USD, DOGE/USD, ADA/USD, LTC/USD, BCH/USD, MIOTA/USD, TRX/USD, VET/USD, etc. Check out other trading pairs on our Capital.com full review page.

We also liked the CFD broker’s straightforwardness when it comes to fees and charges. There are no deposit or withdrawal fees or other non-trading charges. You only have to pay the highly variable spread charged on different pairs.

What are the Pros and Cons of Buying Cryptocurrency on Capital.com?

Pros

Cons

3. Evest – Best for Sharia Compliant Accounts

Number of Coins: 9+
Margin Trading: No
Minimum Deposit: 1 $£€
Visit Evest

Capital At Risk

Evest makes it here because it offers crypto traders in UAE access to a Sharia-compliant trading account on what it refers to as the Evest Halal trading platform. The account is 100% free to open and doesn’t charge rollover/overnight fees on open CFD trades.

Headquartered in Port Vila, Vanuatu, Evest has become one of the fastest-growing online CFD trading platforms in the Middle East and the Pacific. Much of this growth can be attributed to its innovative approach to the online trading niche as the broker has oversimplified the trading process and introduced multiple trading products. It has also embraced transparency and maintains highly competitive trading fees.

Here, you get to interact with 1000+ investment products including such crypt assets as Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), and Ripple (XRP).

Note that, like Capital.com, Evest is a derivative-only trading platform and you will therefore not get to own cryptocurrencies traded on this platform.

The registration process is straightforward and begins with completing the online user registration form. Because Evest complies with the guidelines set by the CBUAE and FSRA, residents from the emirates wishing to join the platform will need to verify their identity before they can start trading.

The supported deposit and withdrawal methods include Visa/Master/American Express cards, eWallets (Skrill, Neteller), and bank transfers. The broker doesn’t charge a deposit processing fee, but the minimum you can withdraw is $25 and it attracts a $5 processing fee. When using the Islamic trading account, you won’t be charged the overnight fees and your trades will therefore only be subjected to a variable spread.

What are the Pros and Cons of Buying Cryptocurrency on Evest?

Pros

Cons

4. Uphold – Best for Product Diversity

Number of Coins: 60+
Margin Trading: YES
Minimum Deposit: 5 $£€
Visit Uphold

Capital At Risk

Uphold makes it here because of its highly unique, ultra-fast, and inexpensive anything-to-anything trading model. This allows you to exchange virtually any of their supported assets with another without having to convert one investment product to cash first. For instance, you could buy Bitcoins in UAE with a Facebook stock directly i.e. without having to convert the FB stock to cash and then using this cash to buy BTC.

Launched in 2015 and currently headquartered in the USA, Uphold has quickly turned into one the most popular crypto trading platforms in 100+ countries, including here in the UAE. We attribute this growth and popularity to its revolutionary platform, especially the direct cross asset-trading feature. Others include its support for a wide range of investment products, chief among them being over 60 cryptocurrencies.

These include Bitcoin (BTC), Ripple (XRP), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), Dash (DASH), Basic Attention Token (BAT), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Chain Link (LINK), Polkadot (DOT), Polygon (MATIC), Uniswap (UNI), and Stellar Lumens (XLM). You can visit our full review page for the full list.

Creating an account with Uphold is simple and straightforward. Start by completing the online registration form then provide Uphold with a copy of your UAE government-issued ID. The approval takes a few days, after which you can fund your trader account with debit/credit cards, via bank transfer, or other cryptocurrencies.

Deposits and withdrawals on Uphold are free (safe for wire transfers below $5000 that are charged a $30 processing fee). Crypto withdrawal fees are quite variable depending on the preferred crypto coin and the amount of crypto network activity on its blockchain. Trading fees, on the other hand, are highly variable and start from 0.8% for Bitcoin and Ethereum and 0.65% for every other crypt asset.

What are the Pros and Cons of Buying Cryptocurrency on Uphold

Pros

Cons

5. Coinbase – Best for Beginners

Number of Coins: 50+
Margin Trading: No
Minimum Deposit: 1 $£€
Visit Coinbase

Capital At Risk

 

Coinbase also features on our list as the best place to buy virtual currencies in UAE for beginners because of its easy onboarding process and intuitive trading platform.

First established in the US in 2012, Coinbase is the oldest and most reputable crypto trading platform on this post. It is also one of the most regulated crypto exchanges in the world seeing that it is registered with several top-tier finance regulatory agencies. It is available as a web trader and a mobile app and both are highly navigable, which makes it appealing to novice traders. Importantly, you only need 2AED to start buying and selling Bitcoins and other cryptos in the UAE.

Here, UAE residents get to interact with 50+ cryptocurrencies including Ripple (XRP), Cardano (ADA), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), Ethereum Classic (ETC), and Cardno (ADA).

Visit our comprehensive Coinbase review to view all the cryptocurrencies supported on the exchange.

Coinbase screnshot 5

The account creation process on the platform is quick and straightforward and starts with completing the registration form online and verifying your user identity (mandatory). You can then deposit funds via either the debit card or bank transfer. Bank transfers are free but take up to 7 business days to process. Debit deposits, on the other hand, are instantaneous but attract a 3.99% processing fee. Additionally, you will have to part with a 1.49% exchange commission if you use the instant buy platform.

What are the Pros and Cons of Buying Cryptocurrency on Coinbase UAE?

Pros

Cons

6. Binance – Best for Low Fees

Number of Coins: 1500+
Margin Trading: YES
Minimum Deposit: 1 $£€
Visit Binance

Capital At Risk

Binance isn’t just one of the most reputable and most popular cryptocurrency exchanges available in UAE but also one of the most affordable. It doesn’t charge deposit or withdrawal fees and trading fees can drop to 0.1% which is further discounted by up to 25% when you pay using BNB coins.

But the low fees aren’t the only reason we feature Binance on our list of top crypto exchanges in UAE. Other factors that we considered include its solid reputation, friendly and readily available support team, low minimum trade and deposit limits, deep liquidity, and support for a wide range of crypto assets and trade pairs. We are also appreciative of the exchange’s straightforward onboarding process and commitment to the security of client assets and personal information.

On Binance, UAE residents get to interact with 1000+ cryptocurrencies and an even larger number of crypto pairs and derivatives (futures and options contracts) on its Binance and Binance Smatchain trading platforms. Some of the supported digital currencies and tokens include Binance Coin (BNB), Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), Solana (SOL), Polygon (MATIC), Chainlink (LINK), Ripple (XRP), and Uniswap (UNI).

Binance screenshot 6

Check out our comprehensive Binance review to view all the cryptocurrencies supported by the exchange.

To get started on Binance UAE, you first need to complete the user registration form online. You will also need to verify your identity if you wish to deposit or withdraw more than 0.6 BTC (or its cash equivalent) per month.

You can then proceed to deposit a minimum of $15 (approximately 55 AED) via such supported payment methods as bank cards, eWallets, bank transfers, and even other cryptocurrencies/tokens. The minimum trade amount is $1, which means that a beginner trader can buy BTC worth 4 AED on the platform. Unlike on most other exchanges, UAE resident deposits into Binance are insured.

What are the Pros and Cons of Buying Cryptocurrency on Binance?

Pros

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Alternatives Ways of Getting Cryptocurrencies in UAE

For the better part of this post, we have looked at the different exchanges in UAE from whence you can buy Bitcoins and other virtual currencies. But getting crypto doesn’t always have to involve buying from an exchange. There are several alternative ways through which you can acquire virtual currencies and here are a few.

 Peer-to-peer Crypto Trading Platforms

There are multiple peer-to-peer trading platforms operating in the UAE where you can buy and sell cryptocurrencies. As is the case with crypto exchanges, P2P platforms are primarily designed to facilitate the trade of actual Bitcoin and crypto-assets. They, however, differ from exchanges on how they work seeing that P2P websites/apps connect you to crypto traders around you or in your city.

Further, unlike exchanges that have fixed payment options, P2P platforms let you exchange crypto with virtually any other medium of payment or asset acceptable to you two including cash, other cryptos, and non-cash items like gift cards, vouchers, tickets, etc.

Investing in ICOs

Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) are to the crypto industry what Initial Public Offers (IPOs) are to the stock markets. They let crypto enthusiasts in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Sharjah buy a crypto asset during its launch. To participate in an ICO, you start by identifying crypto projects that are about to launch, going through their white papers and setting their design to ensure they aren’t a scam, and applying to buy the coins.

Mining

In the ‘how to invest in cryptocurrencies’ section above, we explained that you could take up crypto mining as an investment strategy. And since it helps you earn free cryptocurrencies, we feel obliged to include it here also as an alternative way of acquiring digital currencies in the UAE.

How Can You Use Cryptocurrencies in UAE?

Now that we have exhausted the different ways through which you can acquire digital assets in Abu Dhabi and other UAE cities, let us go over the ways through which you can put these assets into use.

Pay for Goods and Services

UAE is yet to recognize Bitcoins or any other cryptocurrency as a legal tender or a generally accepted medium of exchange. But as we have mentioned earlier in this post. The country is very lax with its crypto regulation. This, therefore, has encouraged businesses and individuals, especially in the big cities across the country, to start accepting Bitcoins as payment for goods or services.

Invest

The majority of UAE residents view cryptocurrencies as investments. You too could choose to invest your crypto holdings by simply letting them sit in a hardware wallet or staking them in a lending pool within the DeFi ecosystem. If you choose to stake your crypto assets, we advise that you exercise caution and vet these platforms carefully to avoid losing the investment to scammers.

Donate/Tip/Gift

You could also choose to donate your crypto or give it out as tips to charitable organizations or service providers. Most of these organizations (both local and foreign) currently accept digital currency donations. Most creatives online have also added a tipping basket that accepts crypto donations on their platforms. Similarly, you could gift cryptocurrencies to your friends, family, and acquaintances in place of traditional gifts on such special days as anniversaries or birthdays.

What do Reddit & Quora Users Say About Buying Cryptocurrency in UAE?

Reddit

There is a lot of chatter about the state of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies in the UAE on Reddit. In most of the discussions on the platform, Redditors are asking for help on how to buy Bitcoins in Dubai, the different ways they can invest in crypto in UAE cities, seeking views on the emirates government involvement in cryptocurrencies, and discussing some of the most popular crypto exchanges in the region.

Reddit UAE Screenshot

We read a lot of enthusiasm from the responses about UAE’s crypto adoption and the future of cryptocurrencies, blockchain technology, and the largest crypto industry in the UAE. Though the UAE hasn’t officially adopted Bitcoins or other cryptos as a medium of exchange some Redditors point to the fact that the government is looking to launch its own CBDC and the fact that cities like Dubai are already using blockchain technology as indicators that crypto adoption and acceptance will only continue to grow in the region.

Quora

There is an equally significant level of chatter about cryptocurrencies and the state of the crypto industry in UAE on Quora as there is on Reddit. Most of the platform users want to know about the best place to buy digital assets in Dubai and other major cities across the UAE, they want to know if cryptocurrency is a halal investment, the level of adoption and acceptance of bitcoin and virtual assets in the region, and the UAE government’s view of the cryptocurrencies.

The responses have been overwhelmingly helpful and we can read the optimism with which responders speak of cryptos in the gulf state. Most believe that while the UAE has not officially recognized crypto as a medium of exchange, it is strides ahead of most global economies in crypto and blockchain adoption. They point to incidences where the Emirate’s government has made deliberate efforts in facilitating the smooth setup of crypto exchanges and crypto-related companies in their country. These, some people believe, marks the first steps to crypto adoption.

Bottom Line

Though the UAE government is yet to officially recognize Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency as a national legal tender and medium of exchange, it remains one of the most crypto-friendly jurisdictions in the world. It has not only welcomed companies operating around the crypto industry to set up a base in the region but has also announced plans to join the space by launching a CBDC before 2026.

With such a welcoming environment, numerous crypto exchanges have set base in the country and there now is no shortage of places to buy crypto in UAE. But, you will only want to trade with the most reputable platforms. And to help you get started we have introduced you to the six best places to buy Bitcoins and other virtual currencies in B=Dubai and other UAE cities.

We have also talked about the investment strategies that you can use when investing in crypto investing and highlighted the different ways in which you can put your crypto to use. Get started by choosing a strategy, registering with one of the recommended exchanges here, buy crypto, and you are well off your crypto investing journey.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Yes, cryptocurrencies are considered Halal investments because they conform with Islam and Sharia. Anyone in the UAE, both local citizens and ex-pats can therefore openly buy, sell, and exchange cryptocurrencies. Some quarters have even termed crypto as being more Halal than fiat currencies.

There are numerous reputable and highly reliable platforms that allow you to buy and engage with cryptocurrencies in Dubai and the larger UAE. In this post, we have highlighted the top six of what we consider to be the best crypto exchanges in UAE. Pick one, create an account, fund it and start your investing journey.

You will need access to one of the reliable crypto exchanges we have reviewed above, you will also need investment capital and a crypto wallet – where purchased crypto will be delivered. We recommend getting a hardware wallet as they are considerably safer.

Well, Bitcoin and crypto trading platforms in the UAE operate within a legal grey legal because there isn’t a law in the gulf country authorizing crypto operations or banning them. But given that most of the emirates, especially Dubai, are already using crypto and blockchain technology as well as the fact that CBUAE is looking to launch a CBDC in 2026, we remain optimistic that they will legalize it in the near future.

Yes, it is possible to buy such crypto assets as Bitcoins with Dirhams (AED). Note, however, most of the exchanges operating in the region only have their base currencies denominated in such international currencies as USD, GBP, and EUR. You may therefore want to convert your AED to the base currency of your preferred exchange to avoid being charged a currency conversion fee by the exchange.

Given the hugely dynamic nature of crypto assets and varying crypto investor preferences, the popularity of crypto changes with time. The most popular coin today may therefore not be the most popular next month or next year. At the moment, however, the most popular cryptocurrencies in Dubai and UAE at large are Bitcoins, Ethereum, Litecoin, Ripple, Bitcoin Cash, and Dogecoin.