Dubai’s crypto regulator grants BitOasis a virtual asset license

    02 Apr 2022

    BitOasis, a Middle East-focused crypto exchange based in the UAE, has received provisional approval from Dubai’s new crypto regulator (VARA), while the UAE pushes to become a global hub for the virtual asset sector.

    Earlier this month, Dubai enacted its first law governing digital assets, establishing the Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA) to oversee the burgeoning sector. BitOasis said the authority would allow it to continue operations in Dubai while it applied for a full VARA license.

    Founded in Dubai in 2015, BitOasis serves English and Arabic-speaking customers in the MENA region, will continue operations in Dubai while it applies for a full VARA license, the company said.

    Prior to coming under VARA, BitOasis had been registered with the central bank and was reporting on anti-money laundering issues to the bank’s financial intelligence unit, the company said.

    This move is the latest in a line of approvals as the UAE pushes to become the global hub for the digital asset sector. Earlier this week, both Bybit and said in separate statements that they had received similar approval from the local regulator and would be expanding into Dubai. also announced that it is establishing a regional office in Dubai, as part of its long-term commitment to the UAE.

    In addition to receiving provisional approval to conduct business with virtual assets in Dubai, Bybit also confirmed that it plans to set up its global headquarters in the city by next month.

    Before these announcements, Dubai also granted virtual asset licenses to Binance and FTX Europe. “Binance will be permitted to extend limited exchange products and services to pre-qualified investors and professional financial service providers,” the company said.

    Binance also plans to base a blockchain technology hub out of the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), with whom it started working last year to develop an international virtual asset ecosystem in the city.

    Meanwhile, CEO Sam of FTX Europe Bankman-Fried revealed it plans to establish a regional headquarters in Dubai and offer “crypto-derivatives products with centralized counterparty clearing to institutional markets.”


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