The United Arab Emirates is set to provide federal licenses for virtual asset services providers by the close of the first quarter to attract the world’s biggest crypto companies.
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The Securities and Commodities Authority is in the final phase of amending the law to allow VASPs to set up full-scale operations.
Binance Holdings Ltd, the world’s largest crypto exchange by trading volume, is among the crypto exchanges considering a bigger presence in the country.
A nationwide licensing system for virtual-asset companies could assist the UAE to compete with rival financial centers such as Hong Kong and Singapore, which are close to developing fully regulated environments for crypto trading.
Some of the country’s financial free zones have started issuing permits for VASPs. Dubai Multi Commodities Centre has approved 22 as Abu Dhabi Global Market approved six, and Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority has more than one.
In a push to attract more business, the UAE finalized a risk assessment on virtual assets late last year, comprising 14 public-sector agencies and 16 private sector stakeholders.