Crypto Companies Can Now Apply for Licenses Under UAE’s Securities Regulator

The UAE says that virtual assets “may not be traded in the country” unless accepted by its federal securities regulator


Allexxandar/Shutterstock modified by Blockworks


The United Arab Emirates said Monday, April 17 that its federal securities regulator will be accepting applications from companies that want to provide crypto services in the country with the exception of virtual asset companies that are already operating in financial free zones. 

There are over 40 free zones within the UAE that allow full foreign ownership as well as exemptions from corporate and income taxes. 

Last November, the Council of Ministers defined the services that would fall under the license requirement from the securities regulator. 

This included virtual asset platforms, which list, trade, or transfer ownership of virtual assets, as well as platform operators and services providers. Also listed were distributed ledger technologies, including digital databases that track and share virtual assets, and stored value facilities–meaning “non-cash facilities that are purchased by a user as a mean of payment for commodities and services.”

The cabinet also clarified requirements for licensed virtual asset companies, which include efficient technical systems that can protect investor data.

However, companies that want to operate in Dubai will also have to obtain a license from the Dubai Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority, in addition to the necessary approval from the Securities and Commodities Authority.

Dubai, which has become a home for hundreds of crypto start ups, launched VARA in March 2022 to oversee crypto trades as well as product issuances. 

Some firms have also been granted provisional licenses following plans to enter the UAE. Binance,, OKX and Komainu have all revealed plans to enter the UAE.

Don’t miss the next big story – join our free daily newsletter.


Upcoming Events

Hilton Metropole | 225 Edgware Rd, London

Mon - Wed, March 18 - 20, 2024

Crypto’s premier institutional conference returns to London in March 2024. The DAS: London Experience: Attend expert-led panel discussions and fireside chats Hear the latest developments regarding the crypto and digital asset regulatory environment directly from policymakers and experts.

Salt Lake City, UT

WED - FRI, OCTOBER 9 - 11, 2024

Pack your bags, anon — we’re heading west! Join us in the beautiful Salt Lake City for the third installment of Permissionless. Come for the alpha, stay for the fresh air. Permissionless III promises unforgettable panels, killer networking opportunities, and mountains […]

recent research

Research report - cover graphics (1).jpg


In this report, we dive into crypto private market data to gather insights on where the future of the industry is headed. Despite a notable downturn in private raises, capital continues to infuse promising projects that aim to transform payments, banking, consumer experiences, community, and more, with 2023 being the fourth-largest year for crypto venture capital.


BUZZ holds shares of Coinbase, Robinhood and MicroStrategy


Opinion: Even though I didn’t pay for my “Diamond Hands” burger with BTC, don’t let that fool you into thinking that crypto’s development is futile


The results mark “a major positive inflection point,” one analyst says, as the exchange carries net income momentum into a crypto rally


While the slate of 10 US spot bitcoin funds have tallied $4.6 billion of net inflows thus far, half of the field is lagging the leaders


Trading volumes totalled $154 billion in Q4, including $125 billion in institutional volume


DeFi on Bitcoin is all the rage right now and Stacks is positioned to benefit