On Monday, Kraken, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, received approval to operate in Abu Dhabi. The exchange joins a rising number of companies expanding into the Middle East, thanks to the region’s growing cryptocurrency popularity.
The move was announced by Abu Dhabi’s market registration authorities in a statement. The exchange is the first to get a licence from the Abu Dhabi Global Market financial centre to operate a regulated digital asset exchange, the regulator said.
The move comes as the United Arab Emirates (UAE) intensifies its ambitions to become the next crypto capital. Abu Dhabi implemented crypto-friendly legislation in 2018, welcoming ventures from numerous big cryptocurrency businesses.
Kraken establishes a Middle East headquarters in Abu Dhabi
Kraken, which has more than 9 million users worldwide, has established its Middle East headquarters in Abu Dhabi, according to the markets regulator.
The exchange has obtained the necessary approvals from Abu Dhabi’s financial regulator and will “soon” enable investors to trade cryptocurrency directly in UAE Dirham.
Curtis Ting, Kraken’s Managing Director of EMEA, welcomed the UAE’s crypto-friendly legislation and stated that the exchange expects to expand further in the Middle East and North Africa region “in the months and years ahead.”
Kraken’s clearance also surpasses that of Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, which already operates in Abu Dhabi under an in-principle licence.
UAE entices cryptocurrency investors
However, both Binance and Kraken recently obtained licences to operate in Dubai, the UAE’s second largest financial centre. Additionally, the city recently established crypto-friendly legislation in order to attract additional investment.
Binance’s global headquarters are located in Dubai. Additionally, it is one of the few exchanges newly licenced to operate in Bahrain.
FTX, the world’s second largest cryptocurrency exchange, just obtained a licence to operate in Dubai and intends to establish a regional headquarters in the city. Bybit and Crypto.com, two smaller exchanges, have both just obtained licences to operate in Dubai.
According to a 2021 research by blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis, the UAE ranks third in the Middle East in terms of crypto usage, after Turkey and Lebanon.
Disclaimer: These are the writer’s opinions and should not be considered investment advice. Readers should do their own research.