Kraken receives Abu Dhabi licence to function as crypto MTF, custodian

abdelaziz Fathi

Cryptocurrency exchange Kraken has received the Financial Services Permission (FSP) from the Abu Dhabi Global Market’s (ADGM) regulator, which allows it to operate as a multilateral trading facility (MTF) and custodian for virtual assets.

Obtaining an MTF license allows the Kraken-owned firm to expand in ways that more closely resemble a traditional exchange, integrating multiple third-party buyers and sellers.

The new approval allows Kraken to provide a full-fledged regulated eco-system for virtual assets approved by the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA), including services such as trading, settlement, custody, and wallet services.

The San Francisco-based company is now one of the few platforms in the UAE that operate with its own order book and liquidity, which enables it to provide clients with tighter spreads and less commission. Additionally, it will be the first crypto exchange to offer UAE investors the ability to invest, trade, withdraw and deposit virtual assets (Bitcoin and Ether) directly in local AED currency.

Affirming its commitment to the UAE, Kraken, which claims a client base of more than 9 million across 60 countries, has chosen the ADGM free zone to establish its Middle East headquarter.

Abu Dhabi has 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.

Binance received its in-principle approval

“We are delighted to have received full approval, and to soon launch regulated AED markets that will sit adjacent to Kraken’s industry-leading ecosystem of crypto products, including staking, spot markets across 120+ crypto assets, regulated futures, and our forthcoming NFT marketplace. We are excited to expand our products and services in the MENA region in the months and years ahead,” said Curtis Ting, Managing Director of EMEA at Kraken.

Dhaher bin Dhaher, CEO of the Registration Authority, ADGM, added: “We congratulate Kraken in securing its financial licence from the FSRA and warmly welcome them to ADGM’s fast-growing international virtual assets community. As an International Financial Centre and business enabler, ADGM has been doubling-down its efforts in accelerating new growth and investment opportunities, like the virtual assets sector, while supporting the financial sustainability and the economic diversification of Abu Dhabi.

This milestone comes shortly after Binance received its in-principle approval (IPA) from the Abu Dhabi Global Market’s (ADGM) Financial Services Regulatory Authority. The licence allows the crypto giant to operate as a broker-dealer in digital assets. Once Binance has satisfied all IPA conditions and receives its Financial Services Permission (FSP), it will be able to offer its services to customers outside the GCC region, as well as the currently-serviced GCC region.

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