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Kraken gets licence to operate crypto exchange

Abu Dhabi Global Market licensed the Kraken group to operate a regulated virtual asset exchange platform in the financial-free zone.

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Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) said on Monday it has licensed the Kraken group to operate a regulated virtual asset exchange platform in the financial free zone.

Kraken, one of the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchanges, received a license to operate its virtual asset trading platform in Abu Dhabi and has set up its regional headquarters in the United Arab Emirates capital.

The firm is expected to start operations during the second or third quarter, according to Dhaher bin Dhaher, Chief Executive Officer of Abu Dhabi Global Market’s Registration Authority.

Kraken will allow clients to invest, trade, withdraw and deposit virtual assets directly in dirhams.

With countries around the world taking a tough stance on crypto regulation, virtual asset service providers are looking to expand their presence in the UAE due to its “progressive approach, Dhaher said in an interview.

Oil-rich UAE has ramped up efforts to attract the world’s largest crypto firms. Abu Dhabi’s ADGM adopted a virtual asset regulatory framework in 2018. While Dubai passed a law to regulate virtual assets last month.

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Binance Holdings Ltd. is the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume. It has in-principle approval from ADGM to operate as a broker-dealer in virtual assets. That came a month after the firm got a license to operate in Dubai.

FTX, one of Binance’s top competitors, received a virtual asset service provider license in Dubai last month. And said it plans to set up a regional headquarters in the city. BitOasis is the first VASP to be recognized in the country. It also secured provisional approval from the regulatory body. While Bybit and Crypto.com are also expanding their presence.

The UAE is the Middle East’s third-largest crypto market, trailing Turkey and Lebanon. (With a transaction volume of about $26 billion.) (According to data compiled by Chainalysis from July 2020 to June 2021.)

Changpeng Zhao, Binance’s co-founder, and CEO told that Dubai will be his base for the “foreseeable future and that by “any common interpretation it’s the company’s headquarters.

Few firm’s employees will follow his lead in relocating to the skyscraper-studded city in the months ahead, he said.

The Kraken group, founded in 2011, serves more than 9 million customers across 60 countries.

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