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Binance receives approval in principle to operate in Abu Dhabi

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Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange by trading volume, received in-principle approval to operate in Abu Dhabi, marking its third regulatory approval in the Middle East region after Bahrain and Dubai.

The Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) approval in principle allows Binance to operate as a broker-dealer for digital assets, including cryptocurrencies – another milestone for the crypto exchange, which intends to operate as a fully licensed entity.

ADGM serves as an international financial free zone within the capital of the United Arab Emirates, which historically has played an important role in the regulatory and supervisory oversight of financial services provided in its territory. ADGM reciprocated Binance’s efforts to obtain regulatory licenses globally, stating:

“The IPA is part of Binance’s plans to establish itself as a fully regulated virtual asset service provider in an internationally recognized and well-regulated financial hub.”

The ADGM also shared its intention to issue similar regulatory approvals for local and global crypto companies to further position Abu Dhabi as a “rapidly growing hub for virtual assets and digital economy.”

ADGM CEO Dhaher bin Dhaher also welcomed the move, pledging to support Binance’s efforts to establish its presence in Abu Dhabi.

Aside from Binance, well-known crypto exchange FTX was previously granted operating licenses in Dubai, the second largest city in the United Arab Emirates after Abu Dhabi.

Related: Abu Dhabi publishes draft recommendations for NFT trading

On March 22, ADGM released a consultation paper proposing that ADGM-licensed companies be allowed to facilitate NFT trading in the jurisdiction.

As Cointelegraph pointed out, the FreeZone’s top regulator, the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA), described NFTs as intellectual property rather than “specified investments or financial instruments” in the ADGM consultation paper.

However, allowing NFT trading will most likely require licensed entities to comply with ADGM’s anti-money laundering (AML) and sanctions rules.