Cryptocurrency trading platform Binance will now be able to expand its services in Dubai, as the emirate continues to ramp up efforts to draw in companies working with digital money.
The body that regulates companies providing digital asset services in Dubai – the Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority – has granted a new license to Binance which will allow it to offer its services to retail and institutional investors, state press agency WAM reported on Tuesday.
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The license comes in part thanks to a new regulation set up in March this year by UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid which created the regulatory body, with the “legal framework established to protect investors and promote growth in the virtual asset industry,” WAM reported at the time.
Dubai in March granted a virtual asset license to Binance which allowed it to “extend limited exchange products and services to pre-qualified investors and professional financial service providers,” the business said in a statement at the time.
The new license now allows the company – which buys, trades and holds more than 350 digital currencies, according to its website – to “open a client money account with a domestic bank and benefit from new services,” according to WAM.
According to a recent report by accounting giant PwC, the UAE’s share in the global crypto market increased by 500 percent between July 2020 and June 2021, and there are reportedly more than 400 crypto businesses in the country.
The UAE’s crypto hub Dubai doesn’t actually accept cryptocurrency payments for goods, which means that if a buyer wants to purchase something using digital money, they must go to a so-called exchange house which converts it into Fiat currency – such as UAE Dirhams, or US dollars. Crypto exchanges in the UAE also include e-Toro, Coinbase and OKX.
But despite this, in a sign that the country’s efforts to draw in crypto-based business is working, companies involved in crypto payments are still moving over to the UAE to set-up shop.
“We’ve heard of businesses [and] we’ve heard of businesspeople traveling and moving to UAE because of these favorable regulations,” Kim Grauer Director of Research at Chainalysis – a platform that provides data on blockchain – the technology used to process and record crypto payments, told Al Arabiya English in a previous interview.
In March this year both Crypto.com and Bybit announced plans to open offices in Dubai. Crypto.com moved its regional headquarters to Dubai while Bybit moved its global headquarters to the emirate.
“Positioning itself as a global digital hub, authorities have been making efforts to transform its economy, embracing the latest fintech innovations while creating the necessary regulatory frameworks,” the company said in a blog at the time.
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