Major global cryptocurrency exchange FTX is expanding operations in the United Arab Emirates by receiving a virtual asset exchange (VAX) license in Dubai.
The license is granted under a new cryptocurrency law adopted last week in Dubai, with Dubai Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA) becoming a major crypto regulator in the Emirate’s special development and free zones. The VAX license allows FTX to operate within Dubai‘s crypto market model, which operates in compliance with global standards established by major regulators like the Financial Action Task Force.
According to FTX founder and CEO Sam Bankman-Fried, FTX has received the “first and so far only” digital exchange license from Dubai. “FTX is proud to be the first licensee under Dubai's prudential supervision regime,” Bankman-Fried said.
Binance has also obtained a crypto license in Dubai under the same program, according to a report by Bloomberg. The world‘s largest crypto exchange by trading volumes was reportedly working to receive an operational license in Dubai last week.
As part of its push in Dubai, FTX plans to establish a regional headquarters in the city and offer crypto derivatives products with centralized counterparty clearing to institutional investors, Bankman-Fried said.
FTX’s European and Middle Eastern division FTX Europe is among anchors in the Dubai World Trade Centre, which became a comprehensive zone and regulator of cryptocurrencies, products and operators in December 2021. As previously reported, Binance was among the first crypto exchanges to join a new crypto hub established by the Dubai World Trade Centre Authority last year.
“The certainty and credibility that Dubai assures in its adherence to these commitments allows FTX to safely pursue its overall strategy of scaling towards becoming the first virtual-asset service provider to enter global markets in a fully regulated manner,” FTX Europe head Patrick Gruhn said.
Cointelegraph reached out to Binance, FTX and Dubai authorities for further information but didn‘t receive any comments at the time of publication.
The UAE emerged as one the most crypto-friendly countries as authorities in its capital city of Dubai have been ramping up the efforts to enable the crypto industry’s development. As previously reported, UAE regulators came up with multiple arrangements to allow crypto trading in several free economic zones in Dubai last year.