Binance says withdraws of Abu Dhabi license ‘unrelated’ to US settlement

abdelaziz Fathi

Binance has withdrawn its application for a crucial financial license in Abu Dhabi, signaling a strategic reassessment amidst increasing regulatory scrutiny.

The withdrawn application, initially filed a year ago and retracted on November 7, sought permission for the firm to manage a collective investment fund, as per Abu Dhabi’s financial regulator’s website. Despite speculation, the Binance spokesperson claimed that this decision was “unrelated” to the recent U.S. settlement.

Binance holds regulatory permissions in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi and has actively participated in shaping the region’s crypto regulations. Last year, Binance announced the recruitment of over 100 positions in Dubai.

“When assessing our global licensing needs, we decided this particular license, held by BV Investment Management Limited for the management of a collective investment fund, was not necessary and therefore voluntarily applied to cancel it,” a Binance spokesperson said.

Changpeng Zhao, Binance’s former CEO, who is a Canadian citizen born in China, was also granted UAE citizenship and has been linked to property ownership in Dubai. Richard Teng, the new CEO, speaking at a Financial Times conference, stated that the company’s Middle East and North Africa headquarters are located in Dubai and hinted at an upcoming announcement regarding the location of its global headquarters.

In a broader context, this year has seen Binance retracting from several markets, including Germany, Cyprus, and the Netherlands, and facing operational restrictions in Belgium. However, the company established a Polish entity to serve clients in Belgium and emphasized its focus on key EU markets like France, Italy, and Spain in anticipation of the EU’s forthcoming crypto asset regulations.

Abu Dhabi is one of the most sophisticated regulatory frameworks for digital assets providing clarity for entrepreneurs and their customers. In terms of the fintech landscape in the Middle East, the UAE in particular is already showing strong signs of support for fintech, as well as some early success stories.

While continuing to focus on regional expansion, Binance’s pursuit of an IPA (and eventual FSP) was its third approval in the Middle Eastern region after Bahrain and Dubai, the second biggest city in the UAE after Abu Dhabi.

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