Just-In: Crypto Exchange Kraken Gains Abu Dhabi License

By Ambar Warrick
April 25, 2022 Updated April 25, 2022
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Kraken first among peers to land Abu Dhabi license

Kraken, one of the largest crypto exchanges in the world, gained approval to operate in Abu Dhabi on Monday. The exchange joins a widespread push into the Middle East, amid growing crypto adoption in the region.

The move was revealed in an announcement by Abu Dhabi’s market registration authority. The exchange is the first to receive a license to operate a regulated, digital asset exchange from the Abu Dhabi Global Market financial centre, the regulator said.

The move comes amid increased efforts by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to become the next crypto capital. Abu Dhabi had in 2018 passed crypto-friendly regulation, inviting ventures by several major crypto players.

Kraken sets up Middle East HQ in Abu Dhabi

Kraken, which has over 9 million users globally, set up its Middle East headquarters in Abu Dhabi, the markets regulator said.

The exchange received all the required clearances from Abu Dhabi’s financial regulator, and will “soon” allow investors to trade crypto directly in UAE Dirham.

Curtis Ting, Managing Director of EMEA at Kraken lauded the UAE for having crypto-friendly laws, and said the exchange plans to expand further in the Middle East and North Africa region “in the months and years ahead.”

Kraken’s approval also beats out that of world’s largest crypto exchange Binance, which only holds an in-principle license to operate in Abu Dhabi.

UAE attracts crypto investors

But both Binance and Kraken recently secured licenses to operate in Dubai, another major financial hub in the UAE. The city had also recently passed crypto-friendly laws to attract more investment.

Binance established its global headquarters in Dubai. It is also among the few exchanges recently authorized to operate in Bahrain.

World no.2 crypto exchange FTX recently gained a license to operate in Dubai, and plans to set up its regional headquarters in the city. Smaller exchanges Bybit and Crypto.com also both recently gained licenses to operate in Dubai.

The UAE is ranked third in crypto adoption in the Middle East, behind Turkey and Lebanon, according to a 2021 report by blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis.

With more than five years of experience covering global financial markets, Ambar intends to leverage this knowledge towards the rapidly expanding world of crypto and DeFi. His interest lies chiefly in finding how geopolitical developments can impact crypto markets, and what that could mean for your bitcoin holdings. When he isn't trawling through the web for the latest breaking news, you can find him playing videogames or watching Seinfeld reruns. You can reach him at [email protected]
The presented content may include the personal opinion of the author and is subject to market condition. Do your market research before investing in cryptocurrencies. The author or the publication does not hold any responsibility for your personal financial loss.

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