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Crypto exchange OKX receives regulatory license in Dubai

2min Read

The Middle Eastern division of OKX has received an MVP preparatory license from Dubai’s Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA).

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  • OKX Middle East has established a new office at Dubai WTC and expects to increase its staff size to 30.
  • Crypto exchanges are considering their options all around the world, in light of the recent enforcement action by the SEC.

Dubai’s Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) has granted OKX’s Middle Eastern division a Minimal Viable Product (MVP) preparatory license, permitting it to prepare for when the license gets active.

OKX Middle East will provide spot, derivatives, and fiat services, including US dollar and UAE dirham deposits, withdrawals, and spot-pairs, once the license is fully operational.

The firm has already established a new office at Dubai World Trade Centre and expects to increase its staff size to 30, with an emphasis on local hiring and senior management.

Regulatory enforcement leading to exodus?

Crypto exchanges are considering their options all around the world, in light of the recent lawsuits brought against crypto exchanges by the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC). Coinbase is establishing an offshore center in Bermuda as it received a license to operate.

The Seychelles-based firm OKX has shut its shop in Canada for the time being.

Tim Byun, OKX’s global head of government relations, said that the exchange was not dropping out of Canada. It was progressing with its license as a broker dealer with the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC).

The OSC is a regulatory agency administering and enforcing securities legislation in the Canadian province of Ontario. While it may be a long road, the exchange will get back to Canada as soon as possible, he added.

As far as OKX’s operations in the U.S. are concerned, Byun said that the company expanded quite early in the country with a separate brand, OKCoin. For OKX, it has always blocked U.S. customers and is not active in the U.S. It will make a decision about the U.S., when and if to enter that market, in an appropriate manner, Byun said.

According to a Chainalysis report published in 2022, Middle East & North Africa is the world’s fastest-growing crypto market. Dubai is also steadily transforming into a crypto hub.


Saman Waris works as a News Editor at AMBCrypto. She has always been fascinated by how the tides of finance and technology shape communities across demographics. Cryptocurrencies are of particular interest to Saman, with much of her writing centered around understanding how ideas like Momentum and Greater Fool theories apply to altcoins, specifically, memecoins. A graduate in history, Saman worked the sports beat before diving into crypto. Prior to joining AMBCrypto 2 years ago, Saman was a News Editor at Sportskeeda. This was preceded by her stint as Editor-in-Chief at EssentiallySports.
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