Two out of the top 10 largest cryptocurrency exchanges by volume will expand into new markets, with Crypto.com obtaining a provisional crypto license in Dubai and FTX launching in Japan.
Crypto.com announced on Thursday that the Dubai Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) provided the exchange with provisional approval of its virtual asset license, giving the company the go-ahead based on initial compliance checks.
The exchange said that VARA will carry out further due diligence and other mandated requirements before its full operating license is issued, which it expects to happen in the “near term.”
Crypto.com said in March it would create a regional office in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) largest city after it enacted new laws for crypto and created VARA with the goal of making Dubai a global hub for crypto.
The UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade, Thani Al Zeyoudi, said in the announcement that the country believes “cryptocurrencies, virtual assets and blockchain will revolutionize the financial services sector.” He added it's “attracting companies to the UAE to build on this vision and enable technologies of the future to flourish here.”
FTX Japan launches
FTX — which has overtaken Coinbase to become the second-largest centralized exchange in terms of volume — has launched FTX Japan to service its Japanese customers after it acquired the local Liquid crypto exchange in February.
Japan has strict rules for crypto exchanges wanting to operate in the country with the commissioner of the crypto regulator, the Financial Services Agency (FSA), even admitting it makes things “rather tough” for exchanges.
FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried said that “Japan is a highly regulated market with a potential market size of almost $1 trillion” for crypto trading.
Related: Leading centralized exchanges extend market share in 2022
The expansions are in stark contrast to other major crypto firms that are having to cut staff due to the ongoing bearish conditions.
Gemini exchange reportedly plans to cut 10% of its employees due to the unfavorable market conditions, while Coinbase also announced in mid-May it’s slowing hiring to ensure it can weather the dampened market.
At the end of April, the crypto-friendly trading platform Robinhood fired 9% of its workforce, with its stock price at an all-time low as part of a wider market downturn.