Crypto exchange Binance gained a licence to operate in Dubai as a virtual asset service provider, bolstering the United Arab Emirates drive to become a crypto hub.
The Virtual Asset License from Dubai’s Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA) will enable Binance, the world’s biggest crypto exchange by trading volume, to offer restricted exchange products and services to investors and professional financial service providers.
Binance will also anchor a blockchain technology hub at the Dubai World Trade Centre to nurture new talent and build a flourishing blockchain ecosystem, according to the company’s press release.
“Binance is appreciative of being awarded this license in such a progressive regime, targeting uncompromised governance and market security,” said Changpeng Zhao, Binance’s founder and CEO, adding that VARA is creating a “unique operating model” for the global industry.
The United Arab Emirates, the Gulf region’s financial capital, is striving to develop its crypto sector as regional economic competition heats up. Dubai, one of the UAE’s seven emirates, last week adopted its first law governing virtual assets and established VARA as a regulator to oversee the sector.
Binance has been banned by some financial regulators across the world with some warning consumers that it was not licensed to operate in their jurisdictions.
Binance said VARA service providers will be monitored progressively and eventually offered access to the retail sector as well.
Dubai is the first place to set up a specialised regulator for the VA sector, said Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General of Dubai World Trade Centre Authority that houses VARA.
Earlier this week Binance was also granted a licence as a crypto-asset provider by Bahrain’s central bank.