Binance and FTX gain licenses in the middle east

Cryptocurrency exchanges Binance and FTX have announced new operating licences in Bahrain and Dubai.

FTX Europe and MENA, FTX’s European company, confirmed this week it had been licenced in Dubai to establish and operate clearing house services and a virtual asset exchange.

In a statement, FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried said: “FTX receiving this approval is a continuation of our mission to be at the forefront of licensing and regulation around the world.

“We plan to continue playing a lead role in advancing the digital asset industry in countries that provide a robust regulatory framework, while also operating with the highest security, risk, and investor protection standards.”

Dubai Multi Commodities Center (DMCC) recently announced it was to establish its own “crypto valley” aimed to promote the crypto and blockchain industry in the UAE.

Patrick Gruhn, head of FTX Europe, also commented on the move, calling it a “major achievement” for the company. He voiced the firm’s aim to expand its presence in the MENA region all the while setting up a regional headquarters in Dubai.

Binance has also made the decision to move into the Middle East. As the largest exchange in the industry, it has created a road map into the Kingdom of Bahrain.

Last year, the company proclaimed it has received “in-principle approval” to establish itself as a crypto asset service provider in the Kingdom and was given the go-ahead from the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB).

This week the announcement was made that the company had indeed been granted a crypto-asset service provider licence.

It hasn’t been as smooth sailing for the company to obtain licences elsewhere in the world. Regulators in Holland and Japan issued consumer warnings about Binance, with those in the Cayman Islands and Italy stating the company wasn’t licenced in its jurisdictions.

Malaysia even sought enforcement action on Binance for its illegal operation in the country. Singapore placed the cryptocurrency exchange on its Investor Alert List, which in turn led the company to withdraw its application only months after. And, the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority issued a consumer warning last summer against Binance’s UK entity, Binance Markets Limited.

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Updated: 03/16/2022 — 11:00