FTX obtains full approval to operate in Dubai with a crypto license from VARA

    30 Jul 2022

    FTX, a Bahamas-based crypto exchange, has received approval to operate as an exchange and clearinghouse in Dubai. The company will build a headquarters in Dubai through a subsidiary. Also, FTX subsidiary operating in Europe and the Middle East will facilitate product offerings in the region.

    According to a report by Reuters, FTX will begin offering services exclusively to institutional investors in Dubai through operating a digital asset marketplace, custodial services, and facilitating trading services for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. It will also offer access to derivatives.

    “Our license expands to retail customers as well, however, it will be a gradual scale-up to ensure that we approach the retail market within the guidelines set by the Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA),” head of FTX Middle East and North Africa Balsam Danhach said.

    In Dubai, the cryptocurrency services will be handled by FTX Exchange FZE, a subsidiary of FTX operating in the European and Middle Eastern markets.

    H.E. Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General of Dubai World Trade Centre Authority (DWTCA), stated in a press release: “We are pleased to onboard FTX as the first VASP to enter the operational phase of the VARA MVP Programme. VARA’s operating model, based on our unique test-scale-adapt principle designed for secure and sustainable growth, is reflective of Dubai’s commitment to creating a globally interoperable model for the ‘future economy.’ The MVP Phase, exclusive to select, responsible international players like FTX, will allow VARA to prudently structure guidelines and risk mitigation levers for secure commercial operations. We look forward to FTX’s active participation in this next stage of collaborative global VA innovation.”

    In March, FTX received provisional approval as the company agreed to set up a regional headquarters in Dubai eventually.

    Also, institutional cryptocurrency custodian Komainu, a Japanese banking giant Nomura subsidiary, was granted the same provisional acceptance earlier this week. The firm will build a headquarters in Dubai as well, as the region continues working toward becoming a digital assets hub.

    Dubai also granted a virtual asset license to Binance to conduct some operations in the region, following which the crypto exchange has stepped up hiring in the city.

    Lately, FTX has made headlines in the past few months amid the market contagion that has wiped out many financial services companies in the cryptocurrency space. Among the proposed acquisitions from FTX, both Voyager Digital and BlockFi were initially under consideration after the exchange passed on acquiring Celsius.

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