Binance one of the biggest global crypto exchanges has withdrawn and dropped its license application with Abu Dhabi’s ADGM ( Abu Dhabi Global Market) while it retains its license application at Dubai’s VARA ( Virtual asset regulatory authority).
This comes exactly one year after Binance received a Financial Services Permission (FSP) from the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) of Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), the international financial center of the UAE’s capital emirate.
The withdrawn license would have allowed Binance to manage a Collective Investment Fund, under conditions that BV Investment Management Limited may not hold or control Client Assets; and BV Investment Management Limited may not deal with Retail Clients as defined under the FSRA Conduct of Business Rules (COBS).
This should not be a surprise given that recently Richard Teng, Binance’s new CEO during the FT Crypto and Digital Assets Summit, would not name the location of the company’s headquarters yet admitted that Binance’s Middle Eastern headquarters is in Dubai, while its European headquarters is in France.
He suggested that the location of the global headquarters would be disclosed when deemed appropriate.
So it seems that Binance is putting all its license eggs in one basket in the UAE, with Dubai’s VARA. Some have speculated that most probably they will receive the license in Dubai and thus do not need to have one in Abu Dhabi. Yet the License in Dubai is still not in the bag.
In early December Dubai’s virtual asset regulator came out with a statement, saying that it is continuing to asses and monitor Binance activities to strict regulatory requirements, rigorous KYC and due diligence. As per VARA, Binance FZE crypto exchange currently only holds a Minimum Viable Product [MVP] Operational License with VARA, which allows them access to a restricted client base. As such to date, Binance has on boarded approximately 180 qualified investors and institutional clients.
As per Reuters, the exchange deemed it unnecessary given the reassessment of global licensing needs.
Binance’s custodial license application within ADGM is still active until May 2024.
Binance is not the only crypto exchange to have withdrawn its license in ADGM, BitOasis also withdrew its license in ADGM, as has DEX.
This comes after M2 became a fully licensed crypto exchange from Abu Dhabi UAE which can offer retail clients crypto exchange services.