Dubai’s VARA approves OKX’s ‘preparatory’ license for exchange expansion.

The Middle Eastern branch of cryptocurrency exchange OKX has announced that it has received a preparatory license from Dubai’s Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA), which will allow the firm to expand its operations in the region. The approval has allowed the exchange to increase its staff in Dubai to 30 people and open an office in the World Trade Center building. The license, which was granted in July 2022, allows the firm to offer products and services in the region. OKX has stated that the license is an important part of its global regulatory compliance strategy. The preparatory license enables the exchange to fulfill certain requirements before becoming operational and plans to offer spot, derivatives, and fiat services, as well as U.S. dollar and United Arab Emirates dirham deposits, withdrawals, and spot-pairs.

Other global crypto firms, including Coinbase, have also looked at the UAE as a potential new market as regulators and lawmakers in the US have been cracking down on digital assets. In June, the US Securities and Exchange Commission filed separate lawsuits against both Coinbase and Binance, and New York Attorney General Letitia James announced a ban on CoinEx from operating in the state.

In March, OKX announced its plans to cease operations in Canada by June 22, along with other crypto exchanges including Binance and Paxos, citing guidelines from the country’s regulators.