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Dubai grants crypto exchange Binance a virtual asset licence

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The world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange Binance has been granted a licence to conduct some operations in Dubai, the company said on Wednesday, from where it plans to carry out regional business.

The awarding of the Virtual Asset Licence from Dubai’s recently formed Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA) comes after Gulf neighbour Bahrain on Tuesday awarded Binance a crypto-asset service provider licence, its first such licence from a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) country.

“Binance will be permitted to extend limited exchange products and services to pre-qualified investors and professional financial service providers. All licensed VARA service providers will be monitored progressively to open access to the retail market,” Binance said in a statement.

The crypto company will also anchor a blockchain technology hub in the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), it said.

Financial regulators across the world have targeted Binance, with some banning the platform from certain activities and others warning consumers that it was not licensed to operate in their jurisdictions.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE), the Gulf region’s financial capital, has been pushing to develop the virtual asset sector and regulation to attract new forms of business as regional economic competition heats up.

Dubai, one of the UAE’s seven emirates, last week adopted its first law governing virtual assets and established VARA as a regulator to oversee the sector.

Binance said in December it was working with DWTC to help set up an international virtual asset ecosystem in Dubai and assist with the development of virtual asset regulations.

“Binance will be able to operate its regional business from Dubai in the newly announced regulatory ecosystem that is subject to comprehensive legislation and internationally applicable policy frameworks,” DWTC Authority Director General Helal Saeed Almarri said.

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