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OKX secures conditional license from Dubai regulator

OKX commended VARA's efficient licensing process and effectiveness in governing the crypto sector responsibly.

OKX secures conditional license from Dubai regulator

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Crypto exchange OKX’s Dubai subsidiary has been granted a provisional virtual asset service provider (VASP) license by the Emirate’s Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) today. Though awarded, the license remains non-operational until OKX meets all regulatory requirements.

OKX Middle East general manager Rifad Mahasneh expects the license to become fully functional within months. Once active, the exchange can offer regulated crypto services locally, including fiat trading, local currency deposits/withdrawals, and trading of spot pairs. According to the exchange’s blog announcement, retail and institutional investors would also be granted in-market access through the OKX App and OKX exchange.

“We anticipate the chance to further enhance the already flourishing ecosystem throughout the region. This license marks the beginning of a new era – one where digital assets are not just a part of the financial landscape but are pivotal in shaping its future,” Mahasneh said.

Mahasneh commended VARA’s efficient licensing process and effectiveness in governing the crypto sector responsibly. He believes the OKX-VARA collaboration underscores the importance of clear-cut regulations in enabling accountable growth, adding that this was “crucial in an era where trust and security are paramount.”

The VARA license brings legitimacy and regulatory oversight to OKX’s operations in Dubai. As a global exchange seeking to expand its footprint in the Middle East, abiding by local regulations is key. The VASP tag also signals to users that OKX meets security and consumer protection standards set by Dubai authorities. In June 2023, OKX received an MVP preparatory license from VARA.

Given its business-friendly regulations, Dubai has positioned itself as a crypto hub in the Middle East. In March 2022, Dubai’s prime minister approved a virtual assets law, empowering VARA to regulate digital assets in special zones, although notably sans the Dubai International Financial Centre.

As a regional economic leader, the Emirate is the financial gateway to the Middle East and beyond. Its crypto-progressive stance has attracted several global virtual asset companies looking to tap into substantial investment potential. As of 2021, the UAE held custody of nearly $25 billion in crypto assets.

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