FTX Granted Crypto License With Dubai HQ in Sights

The license follows Dubai’s implementation of a new crypto law which seeks to establish crypto governance and oversight


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key takeaways

  • FTX has been granted approval to operate crypto derivatives products to large clients within the emirate of Dubai
  • The exchange provider is also looking to set up a headquarters within the emirate’s capital city of Dubai

Major cryptocurrency exchange FTX has been granted a license to operate within the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and will now seek to establish a regional headquarters within the city of Dubai.

FTX is now clear to begin offering crypto derivative products to institutional clients in the city, leveraging a progressive virtual asset licensing regime overseen by the Dubai Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority.

Bloomberg first reported the news Monday. In a statement published by the news outlet, FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried said his company would offer “complex crypto-derivatives products” with “centralized counterparty clearing to institutional markets.”

It’s another major win for the exchange provider which is attempting to broaden its services outside the US. Last week, FTX consolidated its European operations under its FTX Europe umbrella to serve clients on the continent and across the Middle East.

At the same time, the emirate of Dubai, which is one of seven others within the UAE, adopted its first piece of crypto legislation — the Dubai Virtual Asset Regulation Law — and established a watchdog to monitor the budding sector.

That law seeks to establish crypto governance throughout the emirate and its free zones with the exception of the Dubai International Financial Center, which is overseen by another regulator, the Dubai Financial Services Authority.

Previously, obtaining a license for crypto services in Dubai required filing an application to the government entity Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC). Established in 2002, the DMCC is a free zone aiming to boost commodity trade flows into the city.

Certain benefits for setting up shop within the DMCC include zero corporate income tax for the first 50 years, no limits on the transfer of income of a company and no limits on foreign employment. It is unclear where the proposed headquarters will be established in the city. FTX did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Rival exchange Binance, the world’s largest crypto platform by trading volume, has also been pushing to establish a foothold in the Middle East and has reportedly been green-lit to begin offering its products under the newly established law.

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