Binance Holding Ltd, the largest crypto exchange by traded volume, received in-principle approval from Abu Dhabi Global Market to commence operations in virtual assets.
An in-principle approval means that Binance can go ahead to offer its virtual assets services but have to receive a final approval or licence at a later date after completing the application process.
Speaking to Bloomberg, Richard Teng, the exchange’s regional head for MENA, stated that if Binance completes the full licencing for Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirate capital, then it would begin offering virtual assets services to customers across the MENA region (countries situated in and around the Middle East and North Africa) via its subsidiary, Binance (AD) Ltd.
“Binance has been actively engaging global regulators, such as ADGM, as part of its ongoing commitment to uphold global standards and collectively foster the developments and sustainable growth of the crypto ecosystem,” Teng said.
The approval comes after Binance was awarded a specialist licence by Dubai’s virtual asset Regulatory Authority on March 16, enabling it to operate within Dubai’s ‘test-adapt-scale’ virtual asset market model as a base for expansion into the region. In the recent past, Binance has been pushing to expand operations in the Persian Gulf, with CEO Changpeng Zhao, “CZ”, making several visits to the region to woo officials.
In a recent interview with Bloomberg, CZ was quoted saying that Dubai will be his base for the “foreseeable future” and that by “any common interpretation”, it’s the company’s headquarters.
With talk of regulation heating up and as more crypto firms often find themselves caught up in the crosshairs, the UAE is fast emerging as the preferred destination for crypto exchanges. It is partly due to the region’s accommodative financial laws and commitment to embracing innovation.
For instance, in December, the Dubai government announced that the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) would become a comprehensive zone and regulator for virtual assets and crypto, including digital assets, products, operators and exchanges. As per the announcement, this was to develop further Dubai’s virtual assets and markets, including creating a framework for innovative financial products and adopting new trends that rely on advanced underlying blockchain technology, such as non-fungible tokens (NFT) and cryptocurrencies.
In the recent past, crypto exchanges FTX, ByBit and Crypto.com have also received operating licences in Dubai, with some seeking to establish physical headquarters in the region.