Dubai regulator grants crypto license to Bahrain’s CoinMENA

Dubai’s Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) has awarded a virtual asset service provider (VASP) license to Bahrain-headquartered cryptocurrency exchange CoinMENA to operate and offer services in and from the emirate.

The license acquired by CoinMENA FZE, the Dubai subsidiary of CoinMENA B.S.C., permits the platform to offer virtual asset broker-dealer services, the Dec. 12 announcement shared with Cointelegraph said. It comes a year after the platform obtained a provisional license from the Dubai regulator.

The permit also allows CoinMENA to provide retail and institutional customers in the United Arab Emirates with the ability to deposit and withdraw in UAE dirhams to make trades faster without foreign exchange factors.

CoinMENA co-founders Dina Sam’an and Talal Tabbaa said in a joint statement that regulatory clarity from VARA has made Dubai an emerging global hub for crypto and digital asset financial services, with Sam’an adding that building “strong relationships” with local regulators has been a priority for the firm. Her fellow founder added:

The exchange said it is already in partnership with digital banking platform Zand.

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CoinMENA has been a regulated entity licensed by the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) since 2021. Specifically, CoinMENA holds a category-3 crypto asset service provider license from the CBB, which allows it to offer its services to users across the member countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council.

A spokesperson for CoinMENA told Cointelegraph in an email response that the new license will only affect users based in the UAE and that their Bahrain entity will continue serving the rest of their customer base.

CoinMENA joins a growing list of active VASP licensees for crypto broker-dealer services comprised of crypto investment platform Fasset and digital asset firm Laser Digital, among others.

“The competitive landscape is only going to get more competitive,” the spokesperson said. “We are under no illusions that Dubai aims to become a global crypto hub, and as such, we expect many global players to come in.”

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