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Dubai’s VARA Approves Binance to Offer Virtual Asset Exchange Services

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Binance is set to begin virtual assets-related operations in Dubai next month after securing an Operational Minimum Viable Product (MVP) license from the local regulator, it announced on Monday. The approval from the Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) is the first of its kind giving the exchange's Dubai subsidiary, Binance FZE, a first-mover advantage in the United Arab Emirates jurisdiction.

The CZ-led exchange previously secured a Provisional MVP license last March and a preparatory MVP license six months later in September. The latest MVP status will allow Binance FZE to deliver regulated exchange and broker-dealer services to eligible market participants under VARA-designated standards.

“Operating within this regulated ecosystem, we are committed to ensuring secure and seamless customer migration, with robust Know-Your-Customer and Customer-Due-Diligence as part of the rigorous onboarding remediation as stipulated by VARA,” Richard Teng, Head of Regional Markets at Binance, said. “Our priority is to be able to operate this first fully regulated exchange in, and from Dubai, in a FATF-compliant ecosystem, setting the stage for global scalability with uncompromised user assurance.”

Dubai's recent accelerated efforts to make the Emirates a global digital assets hub have appealed to several crypto firms, including exchanges. Companies intending to set shop in Dubai must complete a four-stage licensing process that involves a demonstration of commitment, responsible intent and due diligent practices Binance has concluded three stages, pending the Full Market Product (FMP) status that succeeds the MVP status.

“With this operational MVP license, all users onboarded through this platform can expect access to a trusted and regulated service that prioritizes security alongside compliance with highly specialized, tier-one virtual asset regulations under VARA.” Alexander Chehade, Binance Dubai’s General Manager, said.

Binance's approval in Dubai comes days after the exchange suffered setbacks in other jurisdictions – the exchange withdrew its application to earn licensure by the German financial regulator BaFin. Binance's employees in Australia were also investigated by local authorities who searched the offices last month.

In a Web3 conference held in Tokyo last week, CEO Changpeng Zhao communicated that Binance is planning to re-enter Japan in August. The return comes two years after the exchange suspended full services, citing a warning from the domestic market's regulator (FSA).

Sam is a financial content specialist with a keen interest in the blockchain space. He has worked with several firms and media outlets in the Finance and Cybersecurity fields.