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Kraken secures regulatory approval to set up shop in Abu Dhabi

Kraken has become the latest crypto exchange to secure regulatory approval for a regional HQ in the UAE.

Kraken secures regulatory approval to set up shop in Abu Dhabi

Cover art/illustration via CryptoSlate

Another leading crypto exchange, Kraken, will begin operations in the United Arab Emirates, having secured a license to set up regional trading headquarters in Abu Dhabi, Bloomberg News reported.

Kraken gets Abu Dhabi license

Abu Dhabi Global Markets Registration Authority (ADGM) CEO Dhaher bin Dhaher confirmed that the firm will start operating in the region by the second or third quarter.

Kraken, which has about 8 million users worldwide, is one of the top crypto exchanges in the world. With its new license, clients can now trade, deposit, withdraw and invest in digital assets using dirhams — the UAE’s national fiat currency.

Abu Dhabi attracts other top crypto exchanges 

Kraken is joining a growing list of crypto exchanges that have secured licensing in Abu Dhabi or Dubai. 

Binance recently secured an in-principle approval from the ADGM to operate as a broker-dealer for digital assets. The exchange also has a license to operate in Dubai.

Meanwhile, FTX has secured a virtual assets service provider (VASP) license to operate in Dubai in March. The company has said it will set up regional headquarters in the emirate.

Other exchanges such as BitOasis, Crypto.com, and Bybit have also secured approval to expand into the country. 

UAE’s pro-crypto stance

UAE’s pro-crypto policies have made it one of the biggest markets in the Middle East.

Per data from Chainalysis, the country’s residents, as of 2021, had a transaction volume of around $26 billion, which is just behind that of Turkey and Lebanon.

The country has also embraced a pro-regulation status to bring more clarity to the space.

Dhaher said in the interview with Bloomberg News that UAE was adopting a progressive approach toward the nascent industry.

Part of that approach is nationwide crypto licensing regulation, which means that exchanges can set up business in other areas besides Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Even with national licensing law, each region could still have control over the operations of crypto businesses within its zone. So, with several exchanges setting up shop in Abu Dhabi, one can expect the country to be at the forefront of crypto adoption in the Middle East in the near future.

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