Abu Dhabi Approval Sees Binance Expand Further Into Middle East

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In Brief
  • The world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume has received in-principle approval to operate in the capital of the United Arab Emirates.

  • Once the company is fully licensed by the authority, a subsidiary could offer virtual asset services throughout the region.

  • The move marks a further expansion into the Persian Gulf for the global crypto exchange, following approvals in Bahrain and Dubai.

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The world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume has received in-principle approval to operate in the capital of the United Arab Emirates.

Despite receiving initial approval to operate as a broker-dealer in virtual assets by Abu Dhabi Global Market, Binance Holdings will still have to complete the application process. 

However, Richard Teng, the former ADGM executive and head of Binance in the Middle East and North Africa said that once the company is fully licensed by the authority, a subsidiary could offer virtual asset services throughout the region.

“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 move to Abu Dhabi marks a further expansion into the Persian Gulf for the global crypto exchange, following approvals in Bahrain and Dubai, the commercial capital of the UAE. After the latter approval, CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao said that Dubai would serve as his base for the “foreseeable future.” 

He also added that by “any common interpretation” Dubai would act as the company’s headquarters, saying that many of the firm’s employees intend to relocate there themselves. 

Dubai is regional crypto capital

Last year, Binance started working with Dubai World Trade Centre in order to establish an international virtual asset ecosystem in Dubai, as part of the UAE’s effort to become a global crypto hub. 

To facilitate these ambitions, there has been a flurry of approvals for other cryptocurrency exchanges in the Persian Gulf federation over the past few months. 

In addition to Binance, FTX received a virtual asset service provider (VASP) license in Dubai last month. However, the distinction of receiving the first approval went to BitOasis, who also secured provisional approval from the city’s regulatory body. 

Meanwhile, crypto platforms Bybit and Crypto.com each announced that they had received approval on the same day last month.

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Nick is a data scientist who teaches economics and communication in Budapest, Hungary, where he received a BA in Political Science and Economics and an MSc in Business Analytics from CEU. He has been writing about cryptocurrency and blockchain technology since 2018, and is intrigued by its potential economic and political usage.

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