FTX obtains full approval for Dubai’s crypto license under VARA

Rick Steves

The MVP license allows FTX to deploy regulated crypto derivatives products and trading services to Qualified Institutional Investors across the region.

FTX Exchange FZE, a subsidiary of digital asset exchange FTX Europe and the Middle East division of FTX, has received approval to enter Dubai’s ‘Minimum Viable Product’ (MVP) programme for Virtual Assets under the oversight of the Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA).

Many crypto asset firms have applied to the VARA license and so far have obtained pre-approval, until now. FTX has effectively become the first Virtual Asset Service Provider (VASP) to receive the MVP license to operate its Virtual Asset (VA) Exchange and Clearing House services in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

FTX applied for the license earlier this year and obtained a provisional licence as it prepared to trial complex crypto derivatives dedicated to professional institutional investors in the UAE.

MVP license allows FTX to offer crypto derivatives

The MVP license allows FTX to deploy regulated crypto derivatives products and trading services to Qualified Institutional Investors across the region.

The authorization also grants FTX permission to act as a Clearing House, operate an NFT Marketplace, and provide Custodial Services under tightly prescribed parameters for specific class of consumers.

H.E. Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General of Dubai World Trade Centre Authority, said: “We are pleased to onboard FTX as the first VASP to enter the operational phase of the VARA MVP Programme. VARA’s operating model, based on our unique test-scale-adapt principle designed for secure and sustainable growth, is reflective of Dubai’s commitment to creating a globally interoperable model for the ‘future economy’. The MVP Phase, exclusive to select, responsible international players like FTX, will allow VARA to prudently structure guidelines and risk mitigation levers for secure commercial operations. We look forward to FTX’s active participation in this next stage of collaborative global VA innovation”.

Sam Bankman-Fried, Chief Executive Officer at FTX, commented: “The approval for FTX to receive the first MVP VASP license from Dubai’s prudential supervision regime to fully operate our exchange is a tremendous honor and landmark achievement for our team. Our mission is to lead the way in growing the digital asset industry in countries and jurisdictions that possess a robust digital asset framework.”

Patrick Gruhn, Head of FTX Europe, said: “Over the last several months, we at FTX Europe have been working alongside regulators to secure the first official VASP-MVP licence to operate in the UAE region. The approval from Dubai’s VARA is yet another milestone for FTX Europe, and we look forward to expanding our presence within the Dubai, UAE and MENA regions as a result.”

Mohammad Hans Dastmaltchi, Chairman of the Board of FTX Exchange FZE, added: “We are honored to be the inaugural MVP licence holder of the esteemed VARA Ecosystem. We are grateful and obliged to have our operating licence. This would not have been possible without the progressive business environment in Dubai, the thorough and trustworthy regulatory guidelines provided by VARA, and the outstanding support from their team. We are motivated and committed to being a constructive and responsible participant in the VARA ecosystem and looking forward to growing and strengthening our regional office in Dubai”.

The Middle East division of FTX will now be able to provide access to derivatives, options and volatility products, and tokenized stocks, among other products.

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