OKX secures VASP license from Dubai’s VARA

Rick Steves

“This license was a crucial step for OKX as we move from a trust-based system to one that is trustless and empowers users to take control of their financial future.”

OKX Middle East Fintech FZE, the Dubai-based subsidiary of cryptocurrency exchange and Web3 technology leader OKX, has announced the acquisition of a Virtual Asset Service Provider (VASP) license from the Dubai Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) for VA Exchange Services.

The license, though currently non-operational, is contingent on meeting VARA’s conditions and localization requirements, paving the way for OKX Middle East to offer spot services and spot pairs to institutional and qualified retail customers via the OKX App and OKX.com exchange.

It was last Summer that OKX secured its provisional virtual assets license to operate in Dubai, which allowed the company to offer exchange products and services to pre-qualified investors and professional financial service providers under strict oversight and mandatory FATF compliance controls.

“MENA region holds immense potential”

Rifad Mahasneh, OKX General Manager for the MENA Region, said: “The future of digital assets and capital markets lies in the hands of regulated entities, and Dubai, along with VARA, has succeeded in establishing a distinctive environment that fosters the growth of Virtual Asset Service Providers. The MENA region holds immense potential to become a hub of excellence for Web3 and virtual assets. We eagerly anticipate the chance to further enhance the already flourishing ecosystem throughout the region.”

Tim Byun, OKX Global Head of Government Relations, said: “Dubai and VARA are world leaders in crypto regulation by establishing the most timely, comprehensive and built from-the-ground-up framework for virtual assets and Web3. This license was a crucial step for OKX as we move from a trust-based system to one that is trustless and empowers users to take control of their financial future. Dubai is an important market for us, and we’re excited to build strong relationships with our users and contribute to the development of its crypto and Web3 ecosystem.”

OKX boasts the trust of more than 50 million users and is a top partner for English Premier League champions Manchester City FC, McLaren Formula 1, Olympian Scotty James, and F1 driver Daniel Ricciardo. The company also holds a significant partnership with the Tribeca Festival, aiming to bring more creators into the Web3 space.

OKX adjusts to new FCA rules for UK-based users

In the United Kingdom, OKX announced new rules for its UK-based users in response to regulatory requirements set by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Since last week, UK users are required to complete an investor questionnaire to confirm their understanding of the risks associated with buying and trading digital assets. Additionally, a second questionnaire will assess the suitability of crypto investments for each user. Users who fail to complete these questionnaires or show their understanding of the risks will become ineligible to hold an OKX account.

OKX has taken steps to limit its token offering to approximately 40 assets and has implemented conspicuous risk warnings on its platform interface to comply with the forthcoming FCA regulations. The platform is delisting several privacy-focused cryptocurrencies, including Monero (XMR), Dash (DASH), and ZCash (ZEC).

The UK new regulations will impact crypto companies’ ability to engage with local customers, requiring them to be registered or authorized by the FCA when reaching out to U.K. clients. Under the new rules, the financial watchdog introduced a 24-hour “cooling-off” period specifically for first-time investors. This pause allows investors to take a step back and reconsider their decision before proceeding with this type of risky investment. Additionally, the practice of offering ‘refer a friend’ bonuses will be prohibited.

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