Binance Holdings Ltd. is in talks over a license to operate in Dubai, further bolstering its presence in the Middle East, a person familiar with matter said.
The firm is in discussions with Dubai World Trade Centre free zone for a virtual asset service provider license, the person said, declining to be identified as the matter is private.
For Dubai, the move is part of efforts to attract some of the world’s biggest crypto companies. The United Arab Emirates, of which Dubai is a part, is poised to issue federal licenses for virtual asset service providers by the end of the first quarter, Bloomberg reported last month, and Binance Chief Executive Officer Changpeng “CZ” Zhao has become a fixture in the country’s crypto scene.
Earlier on Wednesday, Dubai adopted a law to regulate virtual assets.
“We welcome this important development,” Richard Teng, head of MENA for Binance, said in a statement, declining to elaborate further. “We continue to work closely with the DWTC to help establish Dubai as a world-class and progressive crypto regulatory environment.”
A spokesperson at Dubai World Trade Centre didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Founded in China in 2017, Binance hasn’t set up a global base yet. In recent months, company executives have held talks with regulators in the UAE about a potential headquarters in the country, Bloomberg previously reported.
Other crypto companies are also looking to expand their local presence.
“The UAE is rapidly developing into a global leader for enabling regulation of virtual assets,” said Ola Doudin, the CEO of BitOasis, the first virtual asset service provider to be recognized in the country. “We are fully committed to playing our role to work with, support and be licensed by regulators across the UAE.”
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.
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