Crypto exchange Binance will provide fully regulated services to its first country in the Middle East thanks to a license granted by Bahrain’s central bank.
Bahrain was able to issue the license through the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC). The world’s largest exchange and CEO Changpeng Zhao announced its crypto asset service provider license on March 14.
#TeamBahrain†#Binance has been awarded the first global crypto asset provider license from the Central Bank of Bahrain in the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC). pic.twitter.com/Ndnb4xhA5y
— CZ Binance (@cz_binance) March 14, 2022
Binance’s new license will allow it to offer crypto services including trading, custody and portfolio management to clients in the smallest economy in the Middle East. Last December, Binance received a roll call approval to operate in Bahrain. That approval has now become a full license.
The Governor of the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB), HE Rasheed Al Maraj, said the bank is “developing regulations aligned with global trends” that “enable innovation and best practices”.
The license allows Binance to continue its expansion efforts in global jurisdictions while complying with local regulations. Last week, CZ stated that it wanted Binance to “identify and invest in” traditional companies in every economic sector worldwide, with the express intention of tying them to cryptocurrency.
Despite its relative size to other countries in the region, or possibly because of it, Bahrain has been one of the most crypto-friendly countries in the Middle East. The CBB successfully trialled JP Morgan’s crypto payment system Onyx in January.
Coin-Crypto reported on Jan. 10 that the use of cryptocurrency-based payment systems will help the CBB address what Governor Al Maraj called “existing inefficiencies in the traditional cross-border payment industry.”
Related: Binance Gets Green Light From Canada And Bahrain
Landing licenses to operate in any region will certainly help Binance achieve its goals in that regard. The most recent notable acquisition was news media publisher Forbes last month for the princely sum of $200 million.
The CBB’s move also puts the country ahead of Dubai as the region’s crypto hub. Bahrain’s financial crypto regulations are certainly ahead of those in Dubai, where crypto exchanges are not yet able to offer services to its residents.
However, CEO of Bahrain-based crypto exchange CoinMENA, Talal Tabbaa, told: CNN in February that although the central bank now has more advanced crypto regulations, “If banking were solved, Dubai could be the number one destination for crypto.”
The Dubai banking problem may be resolved this year as United Arab Emirates (UAE) Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has created a legal framework for crypto in Dubai. Coin-Crypto reported that the prime minister said the framework would protect investors and design “highly justified international standards” for the governance of the crypto industry.