Popular crypto exchanges FTX and Binance have received new licenses to operate in Dubai and Bahrain. Crypto giants are setting up the stage for a major push in the Middle East.
FTX’s European and Middle East affiliate (FTX Europe & MENA) announced Tuesday it had been licensed to establish and operate Virtual Asset Exchange and Clearing House services in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
“FTX receiving this approval is a continuation of our mission to be at the forefront of licensing and regulation around the world,” FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried said in a prepared statement. “We plan to continue playing a lead role in advancing the digital asset industry in countries that provide a robust regulatory framework, while also operating with the highest security, risk, and investor protection standards.”
Patrick Gruhn, head of FTX Europe, also said that this represents a “major achievement” for FTX, adding that the European affiliate intends to expand its presence in the MENA region and establish a regional headquarters in Dubai.
The exchange’s Dubai license comes after the Dubai Multi Commodities Center (DMCC) announced that it sought to establish its own “crypto valley” in the UAE – designed to promote and embrace the crypto and blockchain industry.
The license follows Dubai’s implementation of a new crypto law, which seeks to establish crypto governance and oversight. The emirate of Dubai, which is one of seven others within the UAE, adopted its first piece of crypto legislation – the Dubai Virtual Asset Regulation Law – and established a watchdog to monitor the budding sector.
That law seeks to establish crypto governance throughout the emirate and its free zones except for the Dubai International Financial Center, which is overseen by another regulator, the Dubai Financial Services Authority.
FTX isn’t the only crypto firm making moves in the Middle East. According to Reuters, rival exchange Binance, the world’s largest crypto platform by trading volume, has also been granted a license to conduct some operations in Dubai, the company said on March 16, from where it plans to carry out regional business.
The awarding of the Virtual Asset Licence from Dubai’s recently formed Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA) comes after Gulf neighbor Bahrain on March 15 awarded Binance a crypto-asset service provider license, its first such license from a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) country, Bloomberg reported. This move became a key milestone for the world’s largest digital-asset exchange, as it sets up the stage for a major push in the Middle East.