FTX Europe becomes the first crypto exchange licensed under Dubai’s regulatory framework


FTX Europe & MENA (FTX Europe) recently announced that it has obtained a license to establish and operate its virtual asset exchange and clearing house services in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE). 

With its holding company in Switzerland, FTX Europe is a recently established FTX division that enables the crypto exchange to cater to clients in the European Economic Area and the Middle East.

By obtaining the VA Exchange (VAX) license within Dubai’s “prudential supervision regime,” FTX became the first provider of regulated trading and clearing services for crypto derivatives. 

Setting a new bar for crypto regulation

FTX CEO, Sam Bankman-Fried, commented on the news:

“It’s an honor to be one of the first approved applicants in such a specialized category and we are excited to be able to introduce complex crypto-derivatives products with centralized counterparty clearing to institutional markets,” 

Under its newly announced Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA), Dubai is the only global economy with an independently regulated environment for crypto.

While having “legal personality and financial autonomy,” VARA, which is linked to the Dubai World Trade Centre Authority (DWTCA), was established to oversee the virtual asset sector throughout Dubai.

VARA will “oversee the development of the best business environment in the world for virtual assets in terms of regulation, licensing, governance, and in line with local and global financial systems,” Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum tweeted following the announcement.

According to Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General of DWTCA that houses VARA, licensing FTX within this specialist regime reflects the authority’s “focus on enabling only the most credible global players that demonstrate a consistent commitment to future-proof the sector.”

Crypto exchanges expanding their footprint in the Middle East

With VARA, Dubai is establishing an advanced legal framework that will protect investors and solidify international standards to govern the crypto industry.

Patrick Gruhn, Head of FTX Europe, commented on the news:

“I’m excited to expand our presence in the MENA especially as countries like the United Arab Emirates continue to set a new bar when it comes to crypto regulation,”

While FTX Europe became the first approved VAX to offer complex crypto derivatives dedicated to professional institutional investors within the jurisdiction, another crypto exchange giant, Binance, is also reportedly in discussions over a license to operate in the Gulf city-state.

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