American cryptocurrency exchange Kraken received the license to operate a regulated trading platform in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on 25 April. Following the approval, Kraken will now set up its regional headquarters in Abu Dhabi.
Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) granted permission to Kraken to operate in the financial free zone. In a statement, ADGM said that Kraken will be able to offer investors the ability to invest, trade, withdraw and deposit virtual assets, including Bitcoin and Ether, directly in Dirhams — the local currency.
More about Kraken getting ADGM nod to operate in UAE
First to receive full financial license in UAE
The ADGM also said that Kraken is the first global virtual assets exchange group in the country to receive a full financial licence.
“Kraken has met all approval conditions from the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) of ADGM to operate as a Virtual Asset Multilateral Trading Facility (MTF) and Custodian in Abu Dhabi and the wider UAE,” the ADGM said.
According to CNBC, Kraken is also the first of its kind to be able to offer direct trading and funding in Dirhams against cryptocurrencies.
Curtis Ting, Kraken’s managing director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, spoke to CNBC’s Dan Murphy following the development.
“We’re incredibly excited to be able to set up our operations right in the ADGM [Abu Dhabi Global Market] itself to operate a virtual asset platform that finally offers Dirham pairs for investors in the region,” Ting said.
Expanding crypto market in the Middle East
The Middle East is one of the largest markets for cryptocurrency. According to a report by Chainalysis, the region received USD 271.7 billion worth of cryptocurrency between July 2020 and June 2021, which was an increase of around 1,500 percent over the region’s total activity during the previous year.
ADGM was the first to introduce a comprehensive virtual asset regulatory framework in 2018. The framework allows companies dealing in cryptocurrencies to make their bases in the financial free zone.
In March, Dubai, too, created the Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA) to oversee the sector.
Kraken was launched in 2011 and operates in over 60 countries.
(Main and Featured images: Kevin JD/@kevinjd123/Unsplash)