• Abu Dhabi grants Kraken a license to run a cryptocurrency exchange

  • The Middle East has emerged as a popular site for cryptocurrency exchanges, with Kraken the most recent to be awarded a license by the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM).

    According to the firm, Kraken is the first global virtual asset exchange organization to receive a full financial license from the ADGM in the United Arab Emirates.

    The objective of Kraken MENA (Middle East and North Africa) is to provide access to virtual assets via regulated funding, trading, and custodial services in UAE dirhams.

    Curtis Ting, Kraken’s managing director for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, stated:

    “We’re ecstatic to be able to establish our operations directly within the ADGM [Abu Dhabi Global Market] to operate a virtual asset platform that will finally offer Dirham pairings to regional investors.”

    Improving the Integration of Local Banks

    Ting underlines the importance of diversifying trading pairings in global markets to local currencies rather than relying just on the US dollar or British pound.

    Kraken plans to use its new Abu Dhabi operating license to improve its interaction with local banks and payment service providers. Ting believes that this will help the crypto exchange deliver global liquidity to the United Arab Emirates market.

    According to Dhaher bin Dhaher, Chief Executive Officer of the Abu Dhabi Global Markets Registration Authority, Kraken, which presently has over 8 million members globally, would begin operations in the second or third quarter of this year.

    With countries around the world taking a hard line on cryptocurrency laws, Dhaher stated that virtual asset service providers are eager to expand their business in the UAE because of the country’s “progressive posture.”

    The Expansion Strategy of Kraken

    Kraken, one of the world’s oldest cryptocurrency exchanges, was formed in 2011. It operates in over 60 countries, but its recent entry into the UAE exemplifies the company’s regional expansion strategy.

    Binance made a similar move a few weeks ago when it received preliminary approval from Abu Dhabi authorities to operate as a digital asset broker-dealer.

    This comes on the heels of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange receiving a restricted crypto asset license in Dubai earlier this year.

    FTX has also set its sights on the oil-rich country, recently announcing plans to open a regional office in Dubai.

    Meanwhile, after passing its first law regulating digital assets and establishing the Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA) to supervise the sector last month, Dubai, the UAE’s key economic hub, has been courting bitcoin companies.

    What's your reaction?