Ripple Sets Up Regional Office in Dubai As New Global HQ Plans Loom Large

In brief

  • Ripple continues to consider alternative locations for its global HQ after regulatory troubles in the US over its cryptocurrency, XRP.
  • Meanwhile, the company announced a regional HQ in Dubai.
  • Dubai International Financial Centre, where Ripple will base its MENA office, hosts fintech companies, but they’re unlikely to be Ripple’s next global HQ.

In late October, Ripple, the San Francisco-based fintech company, announced it no longer wants to be based in San Francisco.

A regulatory quagmire around its cryptocurrency, XRP, pushed the $10 billion fintech company away from San Francisco…to London? Singapore? Somewhere in Switzerland or Japan?

Ripple is yet to decide where to base its new headquarters, but the crypto firm today announced that it is to set up a regional HQ in… Dubai!

Ripple will set up shop in the Dubai International Financial Centre, a towering block that Ripple must share with over 100 cafes, three hotels and several art galleries.

The Dubai International Financial Centre: Ripple’s home away from home. Image: Shutterstock.

Ripple will also cohabit the block with others in the “DIFC FinTech Hive,” a co-working space where fintech companies can bounce ideas off of each other. (DIFC’s recently launched “Social Distancing Challenge” may cause some friction).

Navin Gupta, Managing Director for South Asia and MENA at Ripple, said in a statement that the firm’s large client base in the Middle East and in North Africa drew it to the city.

 

“Our regional office will serve as a springboard to introduce our blockchain based solutions and deepen our ties with even more Financial Institutions in the region,” said Gupta.

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Though Dubai is a regional office, Ripple, separately, wants to shift its mother base out of Silicon Valley due to the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s regulation around its cryptocurrency. If XRP’s a security, as allege several lawsuits, Ripple can’t distribute it.

Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse told Bloomberg last month that such regulatory concerns may explain why PayPal didn’t list it among cryptocurrencies it would offer to customers.

Ripple will likely relocate its headquarters in a country whose securities regulator doesn’t consider XRP a security, said Garlinghouse in an interview with CNBC last month. This isn’t a new idea. Binance and OKEx chose Malta after leaving China, for instance.

If all else fails, Ripple can always come and join Decrypt.