Kraken obtains an operating license in the United Arab Emirates

Kraken has received a full license to operate its regulated trading platform in the United Arab Emirates, and it will set up its regional headquarters in Abu Dhabi. Additionally, it is set to become the first cryptocurrency exchange that will allow users to directly fund their accounts and trade in the currency of the United Arab Emirates, the dirham.

A big win for Kraken

Kraken has grown significantly in the Middle East, a region where cryptocurrencies are rapidly gaining popularity.

Kraken has acquired a full license to operate a regulated trading platform in the United Arab Emirates, after obtaining regulatory approval from Abu Dhabi Global Market and Financial Services Regulatory Authority. In an interview with US broadcaster CNBC, Kraken’s managing director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Curtis Ting, said the US-based cryptocurrency exchange would set up in consequence in Abu Dhabi, where it will be able to offer exchanges of virtual assets with pairs of dirhams.

This makes Kraken the first cryptocurrency exchange to offer direct funding and trading in Emirati dirhams, which Ting highlighted as essential for the local population:

“Right now there’s a lot of excitement around cryptocurrencies, but if you want to have a place where you can actually get wet, you really only have two options. For now, you can buy and hold cryptocurrencies, perhaps from brokers, on some exchanges that offer them at a high price – or you can trade, but only in dollars, euros or in pounds sterling. You can’t really do it in your local currency”.

He went on to note the importance of facilitating liquidity and access for those in the UAE by giving them access to their local currency. The Middle East already accounts for around 7% of crypto trading volume globally; Ting said that number could increase 10 times once local currencies become available for funding and trading.

Meanwhile, Binance, which eclipses Kraken in size, is taking steps in the UAE’s other major city, Dubai, to make it a global crypto hub, after signing a deal with the Trade Center Authority. Dubai World Cup last December.

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