View of city center after sunset, Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Rasto SK/Shutterstock
Cryptocurrency exchange OKX has been granted a provisional virtual assets license by the Dubai Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA), the company said in a press release on 14 July.
According to the announcement, the newly acquired license will enable OKX to extend its list of products and services in the region, and provide trading services to qualified investors in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The exchange underlined the importance of this license by pointing out that the MENA region (Middle East, North Africa) is “one of the fastest growing markets for our industry”. The global government relations officer of OK Group, Tim Byun, said in a statement:
“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. We at OKX are thrilled to be participating in the sound compliance framework that Dubai’s Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority has established, and which reflects the UAE’s leadership as far as nurturing the global economy of the future.”
In order to expand its reach in the region, the crypto exchange plans to establish a regional hub in Dubai, as well as expand its team and infrastructure in the UAE. OKX will also participate in VARA’s regional ecosystem by facilitating research and knowledge sharing. In its announcement, OKX highlighted that regulatory compliance was a priority for the exchange as it protects users.
Dubai’s legal framework for crypto was established back in March with the goal of protecting investors, and creating international industry standards. At the time, the UAE also created the VARA agency, which was put in charge of regulating crypto exchanges, custodians, asset managers, and any other services connected to crypto.
Shortly after the crypto regime was established in the UAE, exchanges rushed to apply for a license in the region. FTX became the first to acquire a license from VARA, only days after the agency was established, and was quickly followed by Binance, ByBit, and Crypto.com.