Sharia-compliant CoinMENA gets Dubai’s broker-dealer license

abdelaziz Fathi

CoinMENA, a cryptocurrency exchange headquartered in Bahrain, has received a Virtual Asset Service Provider (VASP) license for VA Broker-Dealer services from Dubai’s local regulator to operate and offer its services in and from the Emirate.


The MVP license means that CoinMENA can offer a range of virtual asset related services to retail and institutional investors in Dubai within its internationally benchmarked legislative framework for virtual asset service providers (VASPs).

Dubai’s Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA) issued the operating license to CoinMENA after reportedly meeting all of the operational, technical, and security requirements outlined by the local regulators.

The approval allowed the exchange to conduct a spectrum of virtual assets business under the regulatory authority of VARA, which serves as the single custodial entity mandated to license and govern crypto activities in Dubai. This includes offering exchange products and services to pre-qualified investors and professional financial service providers under strict oversight and mandatory FATF compliance controls.

Commenting in a joint statement, CoinMENA’s co-founders Dina Sam’an and Talal Tabbaa said: “Thanks to the regulatory clarity from VARA, Dubai is becoming a global hub for crypto and digital asset financial services. We are delighted to have received a license from VARA, which further strengthens our market position and gives confidence to our users and investors.”

“Dubai is at the forefront of crypto growth and innovation, launching various initiatives to push the adoption of the digital asset in the region. Working with VARA will enable us to better serve our institutional and retail users in the Emirate as well as reduce fiat to crypto transaction costs,” added Tabbaa.

With the transition to an MVP approval, CoinMENA can open client money accounts with a domestic bank and provide various services to qualified customers. The exchange has been approved to deploy conversion between virtual assets and fiat currencies, as well as crypto payments and remittance services. In addition, CoinMENA can also act as a clearing house, operate tokens marketplace, and provide custodial services across the region.

CoinMENA already bags three crypto licenses, which were acquired within its first year of operations. The first approval was from the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) and the second in the European Union. The nod from VARA would be the fourth license and will enable the Sharia-compliant platform to offer its products and services to institutional investors in the Middle East and North Africa, or MENA, countries — including Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Oman.

  • Read this next

    Digital Assets

    Bitcoin nears $62,000, sparking retail buying frenzy

    Bitcoin dashed past the $61,000 barrier on Wednesday, a peak it hadn’t touched since the waning days of November 2021.

    Market News

    OPEC+ Extension of Oil Output Cut Causes Rally

    The dynamics surrounding crude oil are indeed fascinating, given its unique role as both a globally traded commodity and a vital energy source deeply influenced by the OPEC+ alliance’s decisions.

    Institutional FX

    DKK reports 226% growth in 2023 with eyes on African expansion

    “Our numbers are beginning to show how we are powering, the growth required by emerging markets, and we plan for the success of our strategies to continue to thrive in 2024.”

    Industry News

    ‘WTF’ as in ‘What The Fraud?’, Sumsub’s new podcast on digital fraud

    “We found a lack of informative podcasts talking about digital fraud threats and prevention for business owners. So, we decided to dive in and share our expertise along with industry top minds in the ‘What The Fraud?’ podcast.”

    Digital Assets

    Coin Metrics integrates market data from Cboe Digital

    “We are pleased to work with Coin Metrics and believe that having quality and timely data, and systems to analyze that data, will help crypto markets mature as well as evolve to become a core component of a diversified investment portfolio. We are focused on providing access and solutions to the spot and derivatives crypto market in a way which mirrors an investor’s experience with traditional markets.”


    AU10TIX launches KYB solution to address regulatory requirements

    “Our customers have been requesting a comprehensive KYB solution, because money laundering and fraud have become far too prevalent in the corporate world. Our unified KYB/KYC solution is essential for identifying bad actors and maintaining a safe business environment in 2024.”

    Digital Assets

    Japan Is Rapidly Emerging As A Global Leader In Compliant Crypto Payments

    Japan is often hailed as one of the most forward-thinking nations in the crypto industry, with its government taking a very positive stance on the potential of concepts such as Web3. 

    Digital Assets

    Kraken launches institutional arm

    “If you already work with Kraken, you know how much we care about offering high quality products and a client-first experience. We’ve been the leading crypto exchange for more than a decade and through Kraken Institutional, we’ll offer the same deep expertise and cutting-edge technology to propel trading excellence for institutions.”


    Centroid integrates with brokerage solutions provider GTN

    “We are thrilled to integrate GTN into Centroid Bridge, our multi-asset connectivity bridging engine. This integration allows our clients to gain access to the wide range of multi-asset products offered by GTN.”