Binance Gets In-Principle Approval to Operate as Crypto Broker in Abu Dhabi
Deepening its expansion in the Middle East, the crypto exchange intends to deploy world-class virtual asset offerings and services in the region
By Shashank Bhardwaj
Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange by trading volume, has received an in-principle approval (IPA) to operate as a digital asset broker-dealer in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The approval is the third on Binance’s list of regulatory approvals in the Middle East, after Bahrain and Dubai.
Binance received the in-principle approval to operate in the UAE capital from the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), the Financial Services Regulator Authority (FSRA) of Abu Dhabi. The in-principle approval marks a significant milestone in Binance’s vision of operating as a fully-licensed firm. Once the application process is completed for the full license, Binance, via its subsidiary Binance (AD) Limited, will be able to provide virtual asset services to the users across the MENA (the Middle East North Africa) region.
In March, Binance received a virtual asset license to conduct its operations in Dubai. The licensing regulations come in the light of the emirate putting forth clear guidelines to regulate cryptocurrencies and other emerging sectors in lieu of safeguarding investor interest. The regulatory approval from the Central Bank of Bahrain to operate as a virtual asset service provider also came last month.
The Abu Dhabi Global Market has played a significant role as an international financial free zone in the UAE in lending regulatory and supervisory oversight to the financial services being provided within its jurisdiction. The ADGM has reciprocated and recognised Binance's efforts to secure licenses worldwide and considers the IPA as part of Binance’s plan of establishing itself as a fully-regulated virtual asset provider in the MENA region, particularly ADGM.
Dhaher bin Dhaher, the chief executive of ADGM’s Registration Authority, says, “ADGM is the largest regulated jurisdiction of virtual assets in the MENA region, and Binance’s participation will add to its vibrant and trusted ecosystem of virtual asset trading venues, global exchanges, and service providers."
The ADGM intends to provide more such regulatory approvals to local and global crypto companies to further position Abu Dhabi as the ‘fastest-growing virtual assets hub and digital economy’. The virtual asset economy contributes 4.3 percent to the GDP of the UAE, as per the government sources.
On the other side of the equation, the MENA region is grabbing the attention of premier global exchanges as an emerging crypto hub. FTX and Bybit, two of the premier global crypto exchanges, also received virtual asset licenses to set up their virtual asset service business in Dubai last month.
Richard Teng head of the MENA region at Binance, who was previously the chief executive of the ADGM, was quoted saying, “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 seemed optimistic about working closely with ADGM and other key stakeholders in Abu Dhabi to provide world-class services and offerings in the MENA region and beyond.
(The writer is founder at yMedia. He ventured into crypto in 2013 and is an ETH maximalist)