Kraken Receives United Arab Emirates License to Operate Crypto Exchange

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  • The Abu Dhabi Global Market has licensed Kraken, making it the first global assets exchange group in the UAE to receive a full financial license from the ADGM
  • The new license means new exchange options for current and future Kraken crypto clients
  • Abu Dhabi's "progressive" stance on cryptocurrency is attracting top exchanges to secured licensing in Abu Dhabi and Dubai

Kraken's new license points towards access to global markets and global liquidity for investors.

The Abu Dhabi Global Market, or ADGM, recently approved an FSP license for Kraken, one of the most well known and utilized cryptocurrency exchange platforms in the United States. This makes Kraken the first US exchange platform to receive their full financial license from the ADGM, allowing them to operate a regulated virtual assistant exchange program in the financial free zone. Kraken met all approval requirements to operate as a multilateral trading facility and has officially established their Middle East headquarters in Abu Dhabi. According to an interview with CNBC's Dan Murphy, Curtis Ting, Kraken's managing director of EMEA commented, "We are delighted to have received full approval, and to soon launch regulated AED markets that will sit adjacent to Kraken’s industry-leading ecosystem of crypto products. These include staking, spot markets across 120+ crypto assets, regulated futures, and our forthcoming NFT marketplace."

New exchange option for clients

A UAE license means a new exchange option for current and future Kraken exchange clients. Kraken will become the first global virtual assets exchange group in the UAE to offer clients the unique ability to invest, trade, withdraw, and deposit virtual assets directly in dirhams. This will give Kraken's more than 8 million global users access to local currency in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, supporting their goal to facilitate access to global markets and global liquidity. 

The Middle East attracts top exchanges 

A Chainalysis data study showed the UAE making up 7% of global trading volumes, ranking them third by volume in the region. As one of the fastest growing cryptocurrency markets in the world, the Middle East has caught the eye of several other exchanges looking to adopt a more "progressive" and friendly approach towards cryptocurrency business. 

For example, Binance, one of the world's largest exchanges by trading volume, has started creating a presence in the Middle East. Earlier this year, it was approved by the UAE to begin operations and will be recruiting for positions in Dubai. Bybit was given approval to open a new Dubai headquarters in March of 2022 and FTX secured a virtual assets provider license, planning to operate in the country as well. Some other exchanges planning to expand to the Middle East include and BitOasis. 

The bottom line

Kraken has officially become the first global virtual trading assets group to obtain its full financial license, opening doors to new investment opportunities and global liquidity for clients. With the Middle East becoming known for their more progressive outlook on cryptocurrency and their pro-regulation status, many big name exchanges are expanding there.

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