Binance crypto exchange announced to its UAE users, that after receiving its VASP license from Dubai’s virtual asset regulatory authority for their local crypto exchange in Dubai, users in UAE need to transition their accounts to Binance FZE in UAE.

Part of the onboarding requirements is that all UAE resident users will need to update their KYC information by 15th December 2024.  

As per the blog post affected users will receive continuous updates and communications regarding the process at different stages from now until all UAE resident accounts have been successfully transitioned. The transition process will not affect users’ current account access and they can continue to use products and services already available on Binance’s Global Exchange until 2024-12-15. After this date, the user’s account will transition to Binance FZE, but the login credentials (email & password) and UID number will remain the same. Users are reminded to update their KYC information at the earliest to avoid the restriction of their account to withdrawal only

All UAE resident users who update their KYC information before 2024-10-30 will be automatically entered into a Prize Draw to share $500,000 in BTC rewards, with the ultimate prize being 1 BTC! Winners will be selected through the BNB Smart Chain hash value on 2025-01-01 23:59 (UTC) and announced via email. 

Binance UAE users will be able to access t bank deposits and withdrawals in local fiat currency (AED) and more than 300+ virtual assets, UAE resident users can rest assured knowing that all products already available on the Binance Global Exchange will also be available on Binance FZE.

DWF Labs, a proprietary high frequency trading firm with offices in UAE, China, Singapore, and Hongkong as well as Binance the biggest crypto exchange globally have vehemently denied all accusations made in a recent article in the Wall Street Journal that there was market manipulation and an ensuing cover up.

The WSJ article discussed accusations that DWF Labs had carried out market manipulation allegedly discovered by a now ex-employee of Binance.

As per the article the fired employee, along with his team, was tasked with identifying and investigating suspicious trading activities. They reported that certain “VIP” clients, including those trading over $100 million per month, were engaged in prohibited practices such as pump-and-dump schemes and wash trading.

Wash trading is a type of market manipulation that can artificially inflate prices and lead investors to believe there is greater market liquidity than there actually is. Widespread crypto wash trading profoundly distorts markets, erodes investor trust, and skews financial market indices

The unnamed former Binance insider claimed that the exchange’s investigators identified $300 million worth of wash trading by DWF Labs in 2023, involving cryptocurrencies including the Yield Guild Game (YGG) token.

Binance concluded that the evidence of market abuse by DWF Labs was insufficient. As per WSJ article shortly after the report was submitted, the head of the surveillance team was dismissed.

The allegations against DWF Labs first surfaced in September 2023 after unusual on-chain activity was noted by the cryptocurrency community. Wintermute, another algorithmic trading firm, accused DWF Labs of misrepresenting their market activities. Yoann Turpin, co-founder of Wintermute, criticized DWF Labs during an interview at Token2049, arguing that they mislabel what are essentially over-the-counter trades as investments

In reply to these accusations both Binance and Dubai based DWF Labs have come out with statements denying these charges and defending their practices.

In a blog post on DWF Labs website, the firm noted, “DWF is a proprietary high-frequency trading firm founded in 2018 by a collective of academically distinguished researchers and professional quantitative traders from a top proprietary trading firm. Our organisation has deep expertise in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and advanced statistical methods, all of which we harness to execute high-frequency trading strategies across a vast array of digital asset products, including spot, perpetual contracts, and options markets. Our trading activities span over 60 centralised and decentralised venues, making DWF a prominent player in the financial technology landscape.”

The blog adds,” From day one, our goal has been to always uphold the highest standards of transparency, trust, and integrity.”

DWF Labs is trusted by over 700 companies, platforms, and institutions. The company states that it provides liquidity to markets for more than a quarter of the 100 largest crypto-native projects and our reach spans across the entire crypto ecosystem. They note that they are committed to supporting bold entrepreneurs by providing liquidity, contributing to Total Value Locked (TVL), operating validator nodes, and making venture investments.

DWF Labs cooperated with DMCC (Dubai Multi Commodities centre) to support crypto startups and was named most active lead investor in 2023. It is also Bybit’s top liquidity provider according to their statements.

DWF Labs claims in its blog post that it has supported the integration to institutional wallets: TON <> Fireblocks , Conflux <> Fordefi, as well as Hackathons: TON, Viction, Conflux (U-Hack), Bybit x DMCC x DWF Labs including ecosystem funds and grants: Airdao, ZigCHAIN, TON, Theta, Algorand, Flare, EOS, Floki, API3, Kava, Gala Chain, Klaytn.

In a strong worded sentence, DWF Labs stated, “Establishments and fake media will not root the movement that Bitcoin started in 2009. We are in crypto for the very reasons why the establishments want to get rid of us.”

On another front Binance also faced the allegations with their own statement saying “Binance emphatically rejects any assertion that its market surveillance program has permitted market manipulation on our platform. We have a robust market surveillance framework that identifies and takes action against market abuse. Any users that breach our terms of use are off-boarded; we do not tolerate market abuse.”

Binance notes that over the last three years its team has offboarded nearly 355,000 users with transaction volumes of more than $2.5 trillion for violating their terms of use.

The crypto exchange added, “We have 190 million users. They can rest assured we do not favour any individual user, no matter how big, over the safety of the platform.  That said, these are not decisions we take lightly. We do deep investigations, using multiple tools, and only offboard clients when there is sufficient evidence, they have violated our terms of use. A recent independent investigation from Inca Digital into Binance’s market surveillance practices validates the effectiveness of our approach, finding “minimal signs of anomalous trading activities.”

Whether these allegations are part of a wider 21st century witch hunt or whether these are true representation of reality, what is for sure is that the crypto ecosystem as it grows is coming under increased pressure from the establishment!

Binance is and has blocked tens of thousands of suspicious cryptocurrency transactions in the UAE with many brokers and exchanges using Binance because of its significant liquidity pool, yet the crypto exchange is still facing regulatory scrutiny with Canada’s regulator recently fining Binance for non-compliance with the laws related to money laundering and terrorist financing.

This comes as Meera Judge, the Dubai-based director of regulatory licensing and policy at Binance speaking to Lara on the Block noted that while Binance is doing all it can to ensure utmost compliance, when it comes to exchanges working with Binance is up to them to ensure their own compliance.

By the end of February Binance had registered 178 million registered users, with $3 billion in net inflows between November 2023 and February 2024.

Lara on the Block asked Judge these questions after an interview with her appeared in AGBI magazine where she unveiled that Binance has blocked tens of thousands of suspicious crypto transaction in the UAE.

Judge told Lara on the Block, “Binance continues to go above and beyond industry standards to detect bad actors through proactive measures and collaboration with private and public entities. Binance takes any use of its platform to facilitate “illicit” activity very seriously. It has invested substantial resources in talent and tools to reduce this exposure even further, making Binance an industry leader in this respect.”

She adds, “We have worked hard to build a robust compliance program that incorporates anti-money laundering principles and tools used by financial institutions to detect and address suspicious activity. We proactively block users from sanctioned regions and do this through KYC and a variety of KYC/AML tools and vendors including, but not limited to, Jumio, Onfido, WorldCheck, Elliptic, and CipherTrace.

As Judge explains, their due diligence process includes screening users against extensive database via Refinitiv World-Check that contains major sanctions and terrorism lists. She adds, “This is done on an ongoing basis to ensure that we keep bad actors out of our platform.”

Binance is utilizing a team of 500 compliance officials worldwide, with 100 of them dedicated to transaction monitoring.

Judge believes that Binance’s operational stability is critical to the stability of the broader market, stating that Binance is the largest exchange in the world and is considered a systemically important financial infrastructure.

This however according to Judge doesn’t mean that Binance is responsible for the compliance of other crypto exchanges. She tells Lara on the Block, “Binance’s liquidity pool is significant, so many other broker-dealers and exchanges tend to use us, which is why we face additional scrutiny. Given that Binance’s liquidity pool is significant it is used by other broker-dealers and exchanges however it’s up to them to ensure their own compliance. Binance goes above and beyond industry standards, and we encourage others in the industry to endeavor to do the same.”

Binance has over the past years increased its efforts towards compliance especially as it works to gain regulatory status in several countries. It recently was awarded a regulatory license in the UAE. Earlier this year, Binance noted that it increased year-over-year spending on compliance from $158 million to $213 million, purchasing a raft of new software systems to block and report suspicious transactions. Binance also decided to bring back executive Steve Christie as its deputy chief compliance officer.

Despite all this, On Thursday May 9th 2024, Canada’s financial crime watchdog levied a fine equivalent to $4.38 million against Binance for compliance failings. The Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada imposed an administrative penalty on Binance for non-compliance with the laws related to money laundering and terrorist financing.

The regulator, known as Fintrac, found administrative violations including a failure to register as a foreign money-services business and allegedly failing to report large virtual currency transactions of C$10,000 or more in the course of a single transaction, along with the prescribed information.

In 2023, Binance pleaded guilty to violating U.S. anti-money-laundering requirements and agreed to pay a $4.3 billion fine. The exchange also faces civil charges in a SEC lawsuit.

So while Binance has been trying to do so much to increase its compliance, and while Binance now holds a regulated license in the UAE blocking hundreds of thousands of suspicious crypto transactions, and as it announces its registration with the Indian Financial Intelligence Unit after the region banned the platform and over nine others in December 2023, it is still facing the heat in other countries across the globe.

Updated on May 13th 2024 with feedback from Binance

Binance FZE, the Dubai entity of the biggest global virtual assets services provider and crypto exchange, has received the Virtual Asset Service Provider (VASP) license from Dubai’s Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA). This license, subsequent to the previous issuance of the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) License in July 2023, marks a significant milestone for Binance.

Binance CEO Richard Teng stated, “As we secure the esteemed full market VASP License, it notably amplifies our unwavering commitment to advancing the financial landscape through compliance and innovation. This achievement embodies our dedication to transparency, regulatory compliance, and responsible growth in the dynamic digital assets domain.

Furthermore, it bears testimony to the innovative spirit of the UAE, as it continues to embrace the transformative economic implications of blockchain technology for its residents.”

The transition from an MVP License to a VASP License allows Binance FZE to extend its product offering and expand its services to the retail market, in addition to qualified and institutional investors. Binance FZE can now offer individual customers a broad portfolio of virtual asset products that includes spot trading, margin trading (for qualified users), and staking products.

Binance FZE General Manager Alex Chehade said, “This is a major milestone that validates our commitment to providing secure, compliant, and top-tier services to our users. It underlines Dubai’s position as a forward-thinking city – acknowledging and embracing the
financial potential that blockchain technology brings.”

Upon initiating operations under the new VASP License, Binance FZE will significantly enhance its current services beyond spot trading and fiat services. This license allows diversifying trading services exclusively for qualified and institutional investors only, where these segments are eligible to engage in margin and derivatives products, including futures and options. Presently, these services are strictly restricted to those that meet the qualified investor criteria.

Binance already has a license in Bahrain. Its license in UAE, follows the licensing of several other crypto exchanges including international players such as OKX, and The competition just got fiercer in the UAE.

This announcement also comes as Binance sets to return to India.

Registered in UAE’s Abu Dhabi Global Markets, the new board of Directors of Binance is headed by the former Barbados ambassador to UAE Mr. Gabriel Abed.

Binance MENA Holdings, registered in ADGM has appointed Gabriel Abed, who served as ambassador of Barbados to the United Arab Emirates, as chairman. According to ADGM website Abed was appointed on March 8th 2024. Could this mean that Abu Dhabi is the headquarter of Binance?

Binance listed the Board of Directors on its website.

Gabriel Abed as Chairman of the Board (Independent Board Member), a globally recognized technology entrepreneur, seasoned board member and former diplomat specializing in the intersection of regulatory innovation and financial technologies. He has over 13 years of experience within the blockchain industry and has navigated complex financial landscapes within regulated environments across several industries and countries

In 2013, Mr. Abed was the founding CEO of Bitt, the trailblazing company that introduced one of the world’s earliest Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs). In 2016, he co-founded Digital Asset Capital Management (DACM), a hedge fund that quickly became best-performing in its category. Today, he continues to be a leading authority on digital economy affairs, regulation and blockchain technologies.

In April 2018, Mr. Abed was appointed as the Special Technology Advisor to the Honourable David Burt of Bermuda. In 2020 he had a leadership role in the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Cryptocurrencies’ Regulatory Framework Group. He was also a board member of the Barbados Stock Exchange and of ANSA Bank (Trinidad). Mr. Abed serves as an honorary member for the Barbados Financial Services Commission’s subcommittee for FinTech.

Mr. Abed graduated with honors from the Ontario Technology University, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Information Technology, majoring in Network Security. Due to his contributions to blockchain and regulation technology, Mr. Abed was also conferred an Honorary Doctorate in Law by the University of the West Indies.

As per Binance website, “As Chairman of Binance’s Board of Directors, Mr. Abed remains dedicated to forging multilateral relationships across governments, governance, technology and regulation.”

Xin Wang appointed as Independent Board Member. Xin Wang is a qualified lawyer in the State of California and a Solicitor of England and Wales with extensive experience in leveraged, acquisition and project financings as well as mergers and acquisitions (M&A). Ms. Wang serves as an independent board member of Binance’s Board of Directors.

Ms. Wang is the CEO of Bayview Acquisition Corp, a special purpose acquisition company listed on NASDAQ. She also serves as consulting partner at BHR Partners, a firm that focuses on strategic private equity investments in cross-border M&A deals with specific focus on high-end manufacturing and natural resource sectors. Prior to BHR, she served as Counsel with the international law firm of White & Case. Ms. Wang received her Bachelor of Commerce from McGill University and Juris Doctorate from Boston University School of Law.

Arnaud Ventura appointed as Independent Board Member. Arnaud Ventura is Managing Partner of Gojo & Company, a Tokyo Based investment holding company. He is a serial entrepreneur focusing on businesses that generate strong social impact. Mr. Ventura founded and led two of the leading financial inclusion groups worldwide, PlaNet Finance and Baobab (formally known as MicroCred Group), a microfinance holding company which he led as its founder and CEO till 2019. Mr. Ventura was also the Founder of mBank Holding, a mobile banking-based group and of the Positive Economy Forum, a series of events focusing on developing a positive economy. Mr. Ventura is Co-Founder and President of the France-China Young Leader Programme and the France Asia Foundation. Mr. Ventura is a French-American Young Leader Fellow and a WEF Young Global Leader. He is a graduate of one of the top French engineering schools.

Mr. Ventura is also an Independent Board member with: NSIA Group and MANZI Holding; Ard Financial Services, where he is also chairman of the Audit & Risk committee; and, Humo Bank, where he also chairs the Risk committee. Mr. Ventura is also the Chairman of the Board of Binance France, a registered VASP in France.

Richard Teng :is the CEO of Binance; previously serving as CEO of Binance Singapore and held roles looking after the MENA region, the European region, and ultimately all regions outside of the U.S. as the Head of Regional Markets at Binance.In this role, he led regional teams to secure strategic partnerships, foster an ecosystem of innovation, and expand the cryptocurrency ecosystem within the respective regions. Prior to joining Binance, Mr. Teng was a former regulator. He was the CEO of the Financial Services Regulatory Authority at Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), where he showcased his capabilities as one of the world’s foremost innovative regulators. Mr. Teng’s vast experience also includes previous roles as the Chief Regulatory Officer of the Singapore Exchange (SGX) and Director of Corporate Finance at the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). Mr. Teng received his Masters in Applied Finance (Distinction) from the University of Western Australia and a Bachelor of Accountancy (1st Class) from Nanyang Technological University.

Roger Wang: is the top product expert in Binance and a founding member of the organization. He developed the cutting-edge technology that drives Web3 innovation through the Binance platform. He is responsible for the design and implementation of the exchange platform and wallet system, ensuring its security, stability, and scalability. He has been working in the financial industry for over 10 years. Prior to joining Binance, Mr. Wang played a leading role in the development of the credit booking, analytics and marking systems in Nomura and the equity system in Morgan Stanley.

Heina Chen: is a Senior Executive and Co-Founder of Binance. With deep Web3 experience, Ms. Chen manages the clearing, settlement and treasury at Binance and is also responsible for the strategy implementation, company policies enhancement and business operation management. Ms. Chen has over 14 years of operations management and entrepreneurial experience. The breadth of her experience includes overseeing the whole back office covering Finance, HR, Admin, Clearing, and Treasury functions for the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange. Prior to Binance, Ms. Chen was Chief Operating Officer and Co-Founder of Bijie Tech, a software development company providing exchange-as-a-service platforms to other exchanges. Ms. Chen has a Master EMBA from the National University of Singapore and Bachelor’s Degree in Finance and Accounting from Shanghai University of Finance and Economics.

Rock He: dedicated himself to the digital currency field in 2014 and joined Binance in 2017 as one of the founding team members, where he has led a number of business units including one of the most critical, Fiat, for the on-ramps and off-ramps. Mr. He has over a decade of experience in team management and more than four years of experience in Internet and media companies leading operations, branding and business.

Mr. He has more than 10 years of experience in the blockchain industry, including as an independent researcher, with strong institutional knowledge with respect to Binance’s product offerings and product development strategy. Mr. He oversees daily business operations, including the setting of key performance indicators, and ensuring teams achieve their performance targets. Mr. He focuses on plans to increase efficiency and reduce operational costs; coordination with the regional and global management team to ensure alignment; and, ensures operational processes stay compliant with local laws and regulations. Mr. He has a Master EMBA from the National University of Singapore.

The Global Advisory Board comprises of the following members:

Max Baucus, USA, Former U.S. Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China; Former U.S. Senator Montana; Former Chairman of Senate Committee on Finance

HyungRin Bang, Korea, Advisor of the Korea Presidential Committee; PR/Communications Advisor of Yoon Seuk-Yul’s 2022 Presidential Campaign; Former CEO, SoftForum Inc.; Former Executive Director, Hyundai; Former Executive Director, Samsung;

Henrique de Campos Meirelles, Brazil, Former Minister of the Economy, Former President of the Central Bank of Brazil, Former Chair of J&F’s board of directors, Former Member of the Board of Directors of Azul Brazilian Airlines, Former President, BankBoston; Former President of Global Banking, FleetBoston Financial; Former Board member, Raytheon Corporation, Bestfoods and Champion International. Former Member of the Council of Lloyd’s of London; Former Chairman of Lazard Americas.

Adalberto Palma, Mexico, Honorary Board Member of The Aspen Institute Mexico; Former Senior Advisor at the Chief of Staff Office to the President of Mexico; Director of Business Development at BEworksMX Consulting; Former President of the CNBV; Founding Chairman of The Center for Excellency in Corporate Governance; Independent Director of the Institute for Savings Protection; President of Bankers Trust Mêxico, Colombia and Venezuela; Managing Director of Citibank Mexico.

David Plouffe, USA, Business, Non-Profit and Political strategist; Author, Member of Various Boards of Directors; Former Campaign Manager Senior Advisor to President Obama in the White House

Christin Schäfer, Germany, Founder and Managing Director of acs plus; Former Group Risk Operating Officer, Erste Group Bank; Former Global Head of Quantitative Solutions, Deutsche Bank, Member of the Data Ethics Commission, German Federal Government

Lord Vaizey, UK, Member of the House of Lords; Former Minister and Member of Parliament

David Wright Europem Chair, EUROFI; Former Secretary General, IOSCO, Former European Commission; Deputy Director General Financial Markets, European Commission

Prior to this Binance offloaded its venture arm Binance Labs.

Binance crypto exchange has offloaded its venture capital and incubation arm, Binance Labs. The company spun off its venture capital arm earlier in 2024.

Binance Labs announced its independence as a venture capital fund, now overseeing a portfolio valued at over US$10 billion. The fund, which has invested in more than 250 projects across 25 countries, boasts a return-on-investment rate exceeding 14 times.

The venture capital entity has detached from the world’s largest crypto exchange, according to Bloomberg. On its website it not clearly states that it operates independently and is not part of Binance Group. Based on records from the Internet Archive, the change appears to have occurred between February 19 and February 24.

Although the reasons behind this restructuring remain undisclosed, Alex Odagiu, Investment Director at Binance Labs, emphasized that the entity has severed its ties with the broader Binance group. However, it will maintain its licensing agreement to utilize the Binance brand.

Binance Labs has actively been investing with investments in Babylon, Ethena Labs, NFTPrompt, and others.

The spin off which happened end of February before Binance CEO sent out his 100 Day letter was not mentioned by the CEO at all.

On the first of March 2024, Binance’s CEO Richard Teng, wrote a public letter entitled “My First 100 Days Leading Binance”. While he covered the growth in user base reaching 178 million registered users, and the $3 billion in net inflows between November 2023 and February 2024, he didn’t cover the regulatory woos still facing Binance, and for that reason what he didn’t write is seemingly as important and what he did write.

In his letter he states, “Indeed, our user-focused DNA continues to be the driving force behind people’s trust in Binance and the corresponding growth of our user base, with more than 178 million registered users as of today. Moreover, since our resolutions with US regulators, we continue to demonstrate a very strong financial performance. As reported by Bloomberg based on the data from DeFi lama, we recorded net inflows of more than $3 billion between late November and late February, outpacing what our biggest competitors took in over the same period.”

When he did speak about regulation he acknowledged once again that regulation is an indispensable part of the lifecycle of all innovative sectors. He also noted that robust regulatory frameworks must be built on basic principles of maximizing protection for users while fostering a safe and sustainable ecosystem that can grow responsibly.

In his one note with regards to licensing, he states that over the past three months, (100 days) Binance has made “significant headway” in negotiating licenses and authorizations.

The only result he had to put on the table was Gulf Binance, an exchange and brokerage platform in Thailand, a joint venture between Binance and Gulf Innova. Gulf Binance successfully launched its full operations, extending access to digital assets to potentially millions of Thai crypto users and crypto-curious.

What was not said in the 100-days letter is as important as what was said. For example, Richard Teng didn’t speak about any of the licenses that were currently underway, or of the issues still plaguing Binance in other jurisdictions.

When it comes to MENA region, while Binance holds a license in Bahrain, to date it has not been able to receive its full VASP license from Dubai’s virtual asset regulatory authority. This stall comes as more and more crypto brokers and exchanges are receiving licenses in the UAE, one of which is M2 in Abu Dhabi and several others in Dubai including CoinMENA, and OKX.

OKX which has grown its market share over the past year, also just received an in-principle approval for a Major Payment Institution license from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), and officially launched its Turkish exchange in February. OKX has rapidly expanded globally, launching localized platforms in markets like Brazil.

While Binance for example was absent from applying for a license in Hong Kong. 24 companies vied for licenses to operate digital-asset exchanges ahead of the looming May deadline. Hong Kong attracted players such as Bybit, OKX, and Since then, Hong Kong’s markets regulator has recently warned the public about the crypto exchange ByBit and several of the products it offers to investors.

The latest TokenInsight report reveals that 2023 witnessed shifts in market share and trading volume among top exchanges, with Binance’s numbers decreasing from 54.2% to 48.7% while OKX’s and Bybit’s increasing by 4.3% and 2.2%, respectively. While Binance still holds number one position in terms of market share according to CoinMarketCap, Bybit now holds number three and OKX fourth.

Teng also doesn’t mention the ongoing battle in Nigeria. Most recently, Nigerian authorities are urging Binance to provide details about its most prominent 100 users within the nation amidst a continued clampdown on the platform. The request is a focal point in discussions between Binance and Nigeria, with the government perceiving the exchange as a key obstacle hindering its attempts to strengthen the national currency, the naira.

In response to the crypto exchange’s attempts to engage in dialogue with Nigerian authorities, two senior executives, Tigran Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla, were reportedly detained by local prosecutors. Notably, the executives remain in custody despite Binance’s decision to delist all naira transactions and halt peer-to-peer naira transactions in late February.

Then there is Binance U.S., where the SEC alleged Binance.US was not abiding by the terms of a consent order in its case against the U.S.-based crypto exchange and its global parent. As per the SEC the company did not prove to the SEC’s satisfaction that Binance global employees did not have access to U.S. customers’ assets.

Consequently, the 100-day letter shows that Richard Tengis is nothing like his predecessor CZ. Teng would rather stay quiet to the hurdles facing the company within the last 100 days, obstacles that most likely will have an effect on license applications in countries such as the UAE.

As he talks of success and how it should not be taken for granted, and of his plans to welcome in institutional investors offering them the range and quality of services that would make them as he says, “stick around for the long haul”, one cannot but wonder if the 200-day letter will be written.

According to a recent interview by Zawya, with, Bandar AlTunisi, Head of Development at Binance in Saudi Arabia, high level digital currency regulation could come out in Saudi Arabia tomorrow or in a month’s time.

He states, “With discussions on cryptocurrency ongoing at several Saudi government bodies, Saudi Arabia, is looking forward to possible “high-level” regulation for digital currencies in the country this year.”

AlTunisi said there had been growth over the past seven years.  “It could be tomorrow, it could be in a month’s time, but once they’re ready, they will move quickly, which is what excites us about the Saudi market. I am hopeful about this year, but it is dependent on a lot of different factors,” he said.

Bader Al Kalooti, Head of Binance Middle East, Africa and Southern Asia (MEASA) and Turkey, said: “It is still very early. Relatively speaking, this is a nascent industry. The way these things tend to work, you will have disruptive technology roll out, then it takes a while to demonstrate that there is a product market fit, that people want this technology, then the regulations catch up.”

Dubai and Bahrain were early movers, he said, and other markets will catch up, although it will not happen overnight.

Bodies involved in studying potential crypto regulation include the Saudi Central Bank (SAMA), the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT), which will be involved from a blockchain point of view, and the Capital Markets Authority (CMA).

Saudi Arabia also launched the Financial Sector Development Programme in 2018, under which the development of cryptocurrency regulation could also fall.

The creation of such regulation would be followed by a period of understanding how the regulations will be applied, AlTunisi said. Saudi is a priority market for crypto in general as well as Binance, he said.

“There is no other major exchange that has boots on the ground in Saudi in the way Binance does,” he adds, “Saudi is one of those places where once they move, they move big/. We really anticipate that there is going to be movement soon, and once they do, it is going to be a huge catalyst for growth in the industry.”

LaraontheBlock spoke withNaquib Mohammed, Founder and CEO of MRHB Network, who recently started operations in KSA, explained, ” We have been in meeting with stakeholders from SAMA ( Saudi Central Bank) on a regular basis. SAMA is working on regulations, but there is nothing happening anytime this year.”

MENA is home to three of the top 30 countries receiving crypto in Chainalysis index: Turkey (12), Morocco (20), and Iran (28). However, Turkey dominates in terms of raw transaction volume, but interestingly Saudi Arabia comes in third in terms of crypto value received, with UAE coming in at number two and Turkey taking number one place.

The Blockchain Center, which seeks to embed blockchain education into academic curricula across the globe by offering training programs for university educators, has partnered with Binance Academy; to expand its Global University Outreach program to included Jordan based Al Ahliyya Amman University.

The Blockchain Center and its initiatives across the glove aim to revolutionize blockchain education by integrating Blockchain Compliance and Blockchain Engineering into the curriculum of universities worldwide.

Al-Ahliyya Amman University, known for academic excellence, will now have access to a wealth of resources curated by Binance Academy and the Blockchain Center. In addition to providing training for university professors, the Blockchain Center will also offer expert-led workshops, seminars, and collaborative research opportunities. This program will provide students and faculty with firsthand experience in the dynamic landscape of blockchain technology.

Bandar Altunisi, Head of Development  Binance Academy in Saudi Arabia, “As a key player in the Global University Outreach Program, together with the Blockchain Center we are excited to welcome Al-Ahliyya Amman University to our network. This collaboration signifies our shared commitment to advancing blockchain education and empowering the next generation of industry leaders.”

The Global University Outreach Program, initially launched in 22 universities in Kazakhstan, plans to expand its reach to over 200 universities across more than 50 countries. With a focus on blockchain engineering and compliance, the initiative seeks to educate over one million students globally by 2026.

“Education is crucial in driving the adoption of blockchain technology into our daily lives,” remarked Aigerim Gilmanova, Head of Education Initiatives at the Blockchain Center. “By extending our program to Al-Ahliyya Amman University, we are fostering an environment where students can explore, experiment, and innovate within the field of blockchain technology.”

“This partnership aligns with our mission to stay at the forefront of technological advancements and provide our students with the skills they need for the future,” said Ahmad O. Hourani, Marketing and Communications Unit Director at Al-Ahliyya Amman University. “We look forward to contributing to the success of the Global University Outreach Program and advancing blockchain education globally.”

Despite the uphill battle that has faced Binance in 2023, in their recent 2023 yearend report, the company stated that they had increased their customer base by 30 percent, with 40 million new users. Binance now has a total of 170 million users.

As per the report, the company is focused on its user base and on strengthening their compliance program. The report states, “We are making important steps toward becoming a truly compliance-led organization. Above all else, we were able to maintain the trust of our growing community, which is fundamental to our mission of advancing the freedom of money globally.”

Binance added, “In 2023, we invested some $213M in our compliance program, up 35% from last year’s $158M\ But money alone does not capture the entirety of our commitment. Binance dedicates significant product and engineering resources to compliance. For example, we have built our own case management system in a matter of months, as well as an internal transaction monitoring engine and built in-house tools to help semi-automate the investigations process.  We have applied improved market surveillance controls, especially around wash or circular trading, to our trading platforms, including NFT marketplace, to ensure that the markets that we offer are fair and equitable for all participants.”

In the USA as per the terms of their settlement, Binance will hire an independent anti money-laundering consultant and will be subject to a multi-year financial monitorship, ensuring we receive strong compliance guidance. Binance’s corporate governance structure will evolve as well. A board of at least three independent directors, accountable to all stakeholders, will be the steward and governing body of the organization.

Binance hold licenses, registrations, and authorizations in 18 jurisdictions around the world.

But the crux of their efforts has been once again towards compliance. It invested in localized KYC vendor and product solutions to enhance the user experience and make the onboarding process seamless. They also embedded 10+ electronic ID (eID) solutions globally. Striving to deliver the best user experience, they added  support for 298 new ID and proof-of-address documents across 64 countries this year.  

The crypto exchange also processed over 58,000 law enforcement requests, serving some 13,000 registered officials worldwide through their Government Law Enforcement Request System. This is an improvement over 50,000+ requests that Binance handled in 2022.

Binance still awaits to receive a license in the UAE, and formally make the UAE one of its regional headquarters as a licensed entity.