Crypto exchange OKX has acquired a provisional virtual assets license granted by the Dubai Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA), allowing them to offer additional services to qualified investors and financial services providers in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE).
In a statement, the OKX team told Cointelegraph that the license allows them to extend products and services in the region. Following this, the exchange will also facilitate research and knowledge sharing within the VARA regulatory ecosystem. The team underscored that regulatory compliance is a priority for them as it protects users.
According to Tim Byun, government relations officer at OK Group, the compliance framework given by Dubai's VARA reflects UAE’s leadership in nurturing the future's global economy. Byun explained that:
“Dubai is a pioneer when it comes to regulation of the virtual assets sector, and it is swiftly becoming one of the top global hubs for the industry.”
Byun also told Cointelegraph that the VARA license allows businesses to be compliant with mandates such as Anti-Money Laundering (AML), Counter-Terrorist Financing (CTF) and Know Your Customer (KYC). He also mentioned that “at this point, OKX Dubai expects to offer a broad spectrum of virtual asset products and services.”
Lennix Lai, an executive at OKX, also expressed that their team is eager to contribute to the local ecosystem and participate in an exchange of ideas that will be important for the crypto space. With this in mind, the exchange will also create a regional hub in Dubai and will build its team and infrastructure within the country.
In March, the UAE government established VARA to provide a legal framework for crypto in Dubai. The law focuses on protecting investors and creating international standards for governance within the industry. The regulator will have authority within Dubai’s special development and Freezone areas, not including the Dubai International Financial Centre.
Meanwhile, the largest airline in the UAE, Emirates, revealed plans to launch nonfungible tokens (NFT) and implement payments in Bitcoin (BTC) in May. Apart from these, the company is also exploring other blockchain-based technologies like the Metaverse to expand its reach.