OKX gains entry into Dubai through VARA licence approval

credit: Shutterstock
credit: Shutterstock

OKX is the latest cryptocurrency exchange viewing Dubai as a potential burgeoning hub for digital assets after receiving a licence approval from the Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA). 

The crypto exchange’s Middle East division, OKX Middle East Fintech FZE, confirmed the licence approval from the country’s regulator which will enable OKX to be fully operational in the country. 

OKX will now be able to launch the ability to process fiat transactions in the country, as well as its range of sport services and pairs to customers through the exchange and the OKX app. 

Rifad Mahasneh, OKX General Manager for the MENA Region, commented: “This allows us to offer services to UAE residents, which we’re going after, including spot trading and fiat-related services, which means deposits and withdrawals of local currency, United Arab Emirates dirham (AED). 

“In addition to that, we’ll be offering local currency trading pairs, so AED/BTC, AED/ETH, and the others, which is something new that we’re doing.”

Dubai is quickly establishing itself as one of the world’s most viable landing destinations for crypto companies to set up shop in, as the VARA recently granted Crypto.com the opportunity for a full licence application last November. 

OKX had initially been granted a preparatory licence similar to Crypto.com last June but by completing three out of three licence applications, VARA has now approved full operational clearance. 

According to statistics from Chainalysis, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is the sixth largest crypto economy in the world, with an estimated $389bn on-chain value, representing 7.2% of the world’s total transaction volume. 

The United Arab Emirates is listed as the second largest crypto economy for the MENA region, trailing behind Turkey and ahead of Saudi Arabia, Iran and Morocco.