Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund shuns cryptos while Dubai moves in opposite direction

By: Daniela Kirova
Daniela Kirova
Daniela was born in Bulgaria, grew up in Chicago, and then moved to Michigan to attend the University of… read more.
on Jun 23, 2021
  • Qatar's sovereign wealth fund has no intention of buying cryptocurrencies.
  • Qatar already banned all activity involving cryptos in May.
  • Nearbye Dubai on the other hand is moving in the other direction with the launch of a Bitcoin Fund

The Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) manages more than $350 billion and ranks as one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds. Yet despite its large size, its investment managers have no interest in exposure to cryptocurrencies, Bloomberg reported.

Cryptos need to mature

QIA CEO Mansoor Bin Ebrahim Al Mahmoud said this week at the Qatar Economic Forum that cryptocurrencies “need a bit of maturity” before it can invest in the space. Extreme volatility in Bitcoin (BTC/USD) and other cryptos are lowering their appeal for the Qatar Investment Authority among other institutions. Most notably, Bitcoin has fallen from its peak of around $65,000 in April to recently trade near $30,000.

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Instead, the fund will continue to focus on increasing investments in the US and Asia as it aims to balance its portfolio with some European assets. It will also invest more into warehouses in response to the impact of COVID-19 on commercial real estate.

Another move against crypto

The QIA’s decision to avoid exposure to cryptocurrencies shouldn’t come as a surprise to close observers. The Qatar Financial Centre banned all activity involving cryptos in May. The Middle Eastern country implemented nationwide laws on digital assets. Specifically, it’s trying to combat terrorist financing and money laundering through digital currencies.

Qatar’s deputy prime minister and foreign minister also said in early June the future of digital currencies is “unclear.”

Dubai has a different policy

Coinciding with the QIA’s public comments, Dubai is moving in the opposite direction according to another Bloomberg report. The emirate launched a Bitcoin fund on the Nasdaq Dubai exchange on Wednesday. This is the first fund of its kind to be traded in this geographical region.

The Dubai listing is aimed at trading 24/7 worldwide. It’s important to point out that the Bitcoin Fund makes no speculation in terms of short-term BTC price movements. Rather than deal with direct investments in the coin, it favors long-term holdings as a safer alternative.

The fund’s Canada-based manager, 3iQ, expects to list similar Bitcoin funds in Singapore, Taiwan, Sweden, and the United States so investors have better exposure to cryptocurrency products throughout an entire day.

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