Shaikh Zayed mosque in Abu Dhabi, UAE

UAE opens licensing applications for cryptocurrency companies

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The United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) Securities and Commodities Authority said Monday it has started accepting applications from cryptocurrency businesses for operating licenses in the region.

See related article: UAE central bank to issue CBDC, promote digital asset growth

Fast facts

  • On top of the license from the UAE authority, digital asset companies wishing to pursue business in Dubai, one of the seven emirates of the UAE, need to acquire a license from Dubai’s Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority. 
  • Companies that are already registered in the financial-free zones of the country are not required to apply for the two licenses, according to the announcement. UAE’s financial-free zones offer financial incentives and independent regulatory frameworks to attract businesses, especially those in the financial sector.
  • Dubai released its latest crypto regulatory framework in February as part of policies to attract investment from crypto platforms and others in the digital asset industry and become a regional hub for the sector. In the same month, the Securities and Commodities Authority was assigned to supervise the digital asset industry.
  • Singapore-based exchange Crypto.com said on March 20 that it received a so-called Minimum Viable Product Preparatory License from Dubai, which allows businesses to test and develop their products and services for up to six months. 
  • Hong Kong-based crypto custodian Hex Trust gained the preparatory license in November, and officially launched its operations in Dubai in February. 
  • While Binance received its preparatory license in September last year, Dubai authorities asked the global exchange for more information regarding its management before granting the operational permit, Bloomberg reported on April 5. 

See related article: Singapore-based Crypto.com gets preparatory license to expand services in Dubai



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