Dubai awards crypto licence to Binance

Licensing of crypto exchange Binance comes after crypto licence approval for FTX Europe

Bitcoin, ethereum, dogecoin, ripple and litecoin coins are displayed seen in front of the Binance company name and logo                                 
Financial authorities have licensed the crypto exchange Binance to operate in Dubai – Photo: Alamy

Binance, currently the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume, has been granted a virtual asset licence by Dubai’s financial authorities.

This licence means Binance will be able to operate within Dubai’s virtual asset market model. The crypto exchange also plans to use this approval to form a base for expansion into the region.

Dubai is the only economy to have an independent regulated crypto environment, following the recent foundation of the Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA). An independent body operating under the Dubai World Trade Centre Authority, VARA oversees the regulation, governance and licensing of cryptocurrencies, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and other virtual assets.

A blockchain technology hub

Binance will also establish a blockchain technology hub in the Dubai World Trade Centre, “to seed new talent and build a vibrant blockchain ecosystem”.

The licence allows Binance to extend limited exchange products and services to pre-qualified investors and professional service providers.

In addition, all VARA licenced service providers will be monitored by Dubai in order to open “access to the retail market”.   

FTX Europe gains a crypto licence from Dubai

On the 15 March, FTX Europe the European affiliate of cryptocurrency derivatives exchange FTX, was also granted a licence by Dubai to establish a virtual asset exchange and clearing house.

This made FTX Europe – which operates in both Europe and the Middle East – the first fully regulated digital currency exchange to trial crypto derivates “dedicated to professional institutional investors within a reputed international jurisdiction” in Dubai.

Progressive crypto attitude

Founder and CEO of Binance Changpeng Zhao acknowledged Dubai’s progressive attitude towards crypto and blockchain. “Binance is appreciative of being awarded this licence in such a progressive regime, targeting uncompromised governance and market security,” said Zhao. “The collaborative way in which Binance has been engaged to bring proven industry compliance leading experience to the Dubai ecosystem is indicative of the unique operating model that VARA is creating for the global industry.”

He added: “High standards of regulation and compliance are critical to the development and maturing of the global crypto and blockchain industry, which is why our team has been working tirelessly to demonstrate how we meet and exceed the requirements of regulators, such as VARA.”

Helal Saeed Almarri, director general of the Dubai World Trade Centre Authority which houses VARA, said: “The new VARA is symbolic of Dubai's confidence in the potential of this future economy driver – if introduced with prudence and legitimacy.

”To this end, our regime is structured to catalyse collaboration, foster innovation, and most critically secure public interest. Onboarding Binance within VARA is reflective of its commitment to the Dubai agenda – to provide the global industry the certainty of governance, enabled by ‘shared industry responsibility’ and legislative security for society.”

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