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Binance is on track for its 1st Gulf-region expansion after getting regulatory approval in Bahrain

Binance CEO, Changpeng Zhao.

REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi

  • Binance received tentative regulatory approval from Bahrain to become a crypto asset service provider.
  • This puts the world’s largest crypto exchange on track for its first expansion in the Gulf region.
  • Binance also obtained a crypto-financing license in Canada.
  • Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell

Binance Holdings has received tentative regulatory approval from Bahrain to become a crypto asset service provider, putting the world’s largest crypto exchange by volume on track for its first expansion in the Gulf region.

The in-principle approval still requires Binance to complete the full application process, the company said in a statement Monday. The green light came after Binance applied for a license as part of its plans to become a fully-regulated exchange in the kingdom. 

“The approval recognizes Binance’s commitment to comply fully with regulatory requirements and our broader commitment to anchor operations and activities in Bahrain,” CEO and founder Changpeng Zhao said.

If finalized, Bahrain’s central bank will become the first regulator in the Middle East-North Africa region to OK a Binance entity, the company said.

And while Bahrain is the Gulf’s smallest economy, it still represents a significant step for Binance, which has been attempting to establish its presence in the region. In November, Zhao told Bloomberg he bought his first home in Dubai to show support for the crypto-friendly city.

More recently, Binance on December 21 signed a memorandum of understanding with Dubai to establish a digital assets industry hub, the company said in a statement.

Binance thus far has been facing regulatory scrutiny for failing to comply with varying regulations per jurisdiction. Part of the difficulty stems from its lack of physical headquarters. Binance, since its founding in 2017, has allowed employees to work remotely.

But Zhao, more commonly called CZ, finally admitted in September the company needed to address this problem. Executives of the firm, have been publicly discussing their search for a headquarters. The United Arab Emirates, for instance, is a possible candidate, Bloomberg reported in December.

In related news, Binance also obtained a crypto financing license in Canada as confirmed by CZ on Twitter. The new subsidiary will handle virtual currencies, money transfers, foreign exchange dealings.

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