Cryptocurrency exchange Binance announced on Wednesday that it had been granted a license to operate in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The company’s presence in the Middle East has been building up lately, with a crypto service provider license in another Gulf market, Bahrain, coming in earlier this week.

Under the Dubai virtual asset provider (VASP) license, Binance will be allowed to set up an office in the emirate and provide digital asset exchange services to pre-qualified investors and financial firms under the newly adopted regulatory guidelines.

Dubai is one of the seven emirates constituting the federation of the UAE. It accommodates 22 VASPs, with a new virtual asset exchange (VAX) license introduced in the emirate’s special economic zone. The first crypto company to get one was FTX, which announced the development earlier this week. Binance followed the steps of its competitor almost immediately.

This move comes as part of Binance’s ascendant strategy in the Middle East. On March 15, the crypto exchange reported obtaining a license to operate in another Gulf country, Bahrain. It will allow the world’s largest exchange by volume to provide trading, custody and portfolio management for Bahraini customers.

Both Bahrain and the UAE (and Dubai, in particular) embrace an innovation-friendly approach and compete for the status of the region’s most crypto-supportive jurisdiction. In January 2022, the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) successfully trialed JP Morgan’s crypto payment system.

The introduction of the new crypto legislation in the UAE in March 2022 was a…

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