OKX Latest Exchange to Win Dubai Virtual Asset License

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South Korea-based cryptocurrency exchange OKX has received a provisional virtual-asset license from authorities in Dubai.

The license will enable OKX to provide services and some products to investors throughout the United Arab Emirates. With the approval, OKX plans to set up a regional hub in the city, according to General Manager Lennix Lai.

“OKX is committed to building out both its team and necessary infrastructure in the UAE,” Lai said. OKX’s choice of Dubai came down to the market’s growing local crypto ecosystem and “balanced regulatory framework.”

Along with Turkey and Lebanon, the UAE has become among the largest crypto markets in the region, according to data compiled by Chainalysis. The Gulf nation is seeking to attract some of the world’s biggest cryptocurrency and fintech companies from around the globe. 

OKX latest in a string of approvals this year

In fact, OKX is merely the latest in a string of approvals by authorities in the UAE so far this year. American crypto exchange FTX became the first crypto exchange to win over Dubai.

It has since been followed by crypto trading platforms Crypto.com and Bybit, which announced its expansion plans on March 28.

In March, Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange by volume, was granted a license to conduct operations in Dubai, after receiving a similar approval in Bahrain.

It has since expanded its operations in the UAE, following further approval in Abu Dhabi. The company’s CEO, Changpeng Zhao, said Dubai had become the firm’s HQ by any common interpretation.

Binance’s success has also inspired other finance professionals to move to the UAE to strike out into crypto.

According to one former banker, the environment in the UAE made it the transition to cryptocurrencies particularly appealing. “We have witnessed the UAE making a huge push in developing world-class infrastructure and a regulatory environment for crypto firms to thrive and call home,” he said.


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Nick is a data scientist who teaches economics and communication in Budapest, Hungary, where he received a BA in Political Science and Economics and an MSc in Business Analytics from CEU. He has been writing about cryptocurrency and blockchain technology since 2018, and is intrigued by its potential economic and political usage.

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