The Middle East arm of cryptocurrency exchange OKX reported that the Dubai Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority had granted the firm a minimum viable product preparatory license as part of its expansion plans in the region.
In a June 15 announcement, OKX said that, amid the regulator’s license approval, the exchange planned to increase its staff to 30 people in Dubai and had already opened an office in the city’s World Trade Center building. VARA granted OKX a provisional operating license in July 2022 that allowed it to offer products and services in the region.
“Licensing in Dubai is a critical element of OKX’s global compliance strategy,” said Tim Byun, OKX’s Global Head of Government Relations. “In today’s uncertain market environment, it is of paramount importance that VASPs are highly secure, transparent, compliant, and backed by strong and clear regulation.”
OKX has received an MVP Preparatory License from Dubai’s VARA, marking a pivotal step in our strategic UAE expansion.
New hires, new office & extended partnerships—we’re proud to shape the Web3 & crypto landscape in the Middle East.
Learn more: pic.twitter.com/HmHd8CMq4y
—OKX (@okx) June 15, 2023
According to OKX, the preparatory license gave the exchange the regulatory leeway to meet certain requirements before it could operate. The firm said it planned to offer spot, derivative and fiat services, as well as spot deposits, withdrawals and pairs in US dollars and UAE dirhams.
Global cryptocurrency firms, including Coinbase, have been scrambling to explore the United Arab Emirates as a potential new market at a time when US regulators and lawmakers are cracking down on digital assets. In June, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission filed separate lawsuits against Coinbase and Binance, and New York Attorney General Letitia James announced a ban on CoinEx from operating in the state.
The entry into the Middle East came after OKX announced in March that it planned to cease operations in Canada on June 22, although he added that it was something “temporary”. Other cryptocurrency exchanges, such as Binance and Paxos, have announced similar exits from Canada, citing guidance from the country’s regulators.
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