Binance is now a licensed virtual asset service provider in Bahrain

  • The score is Binance’s first regulatory approval in the Gulf as a VASP
  • The exchange has been courting the Middle East with initiatives in countries within the region, including Dubai

Binance, the largest crypto exchange by trading volume, is stretching its wings in the Middle East further.

The exchange announced on Monday that it had won full approval from the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) to legally operate in the Kingdom of Bahrain. By receiving the licence, Binance became the first crypto asset provider allowed to offer fully regulated services within the larger Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC).

The Bahrain approval comes amidst efforts by Binance to seek regulatory approval and compliance around the world. CEO of the exchange, Changpeng Zhao, explained that the approval shows Binance’s commitment to ensuring the consumer is protected via regulatory ropes. The exchange is concurrently implementing strict anti-money laundering tools and anti-terror financing mechanisms.

“I’m proud of the hard work of the Binance team to meet the stringent criteria of the Central Bank of Bahrain, not just locally but globally by ensuring that we meet and exceed the requirements of regulators and protect users with strong anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing policies,” CZ said in the official press release.

Win-win agreement

The new licence would allow Binance to offer crypto trading and custodial services to a new consumer base. The exchange would also now provide customers with portfolio management services.

On its part, Bahrain intends to use the Binance brand to help grow its blockchain and crypto spaces with the ultimate goal of becoming a major business hub. According to the CEO of the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB), Khalid Humaidan, partnering with industry movers such as Binance is key to achieving this ambition.

“Team Bahrain has built a world-class infrastructure to support the fast-growing blockchain and crypto industry, with robust regulations and diverse talent within the financial services, fintech and technology sectors. Collaboration with industry leaders such as Binance will further enhance our mission to establish the Kingdom of Bahrain as a leading business hub,” he said.

Pushing into the Middle East

Binance is seeking to capture the Middle East crypto market and has launched a number of initiatives to this effect.

 According to a recent report by Bloomberg, the crypto exchange is currently in talks with the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) free zone to gain a licence to operate as a virtual asset service provider.

This follows an MoU that the exchange reached with the DWTC last December to help establish a regulatory framework in a bid to hasten the creation of a digital assets hub in Dubai.

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