Abu Dhabi Licenses Kraken To Operate As Crypto Exchange


Kraken has become the first global virtual assets exchange group in the United Arab Emirates to receive a full financial license from the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM). 

“Kraken is the first global cryptocurrency exchange to receive a Financial Services Permission (FSP) license to operate a regulated virtual asset exchange platform in the ADGM to service the needs of the Middle East and North Africa region,” ADGM said in a statement Monday. 

The regulator said Kraken has met all approval conditions from the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) of the ADGM to operate as a Virtual Asset Multilateral Trading Facility (MTF) and custodian in Abu Dhabi and the wider UAE.

ADGM is an international financial center and free zone in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE.

Kraken has established its Middle East HQ in ADGM, the statement said. 

“Kraken will be the first global virtual assets exchange group in the UAE to offer investors the ability to invest, trade, withdraw and deposit virtual assets (Bitcoin and Ether) directly in local AED currency,” it said. 

Curtis Ting, managing director of EMEA at Kraken, said, “The UAE is one of the most financially innovative jurisdictions in the world, with region-leading crypto participation rates by both consumer and professional investors. The ADGM and its financial regulator have been true pioneers for global crypto regulation.” 

“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,” Ting said. 

Earlier this month, global cryptocurrency exchange Binance received in-principle approval from ADGM to operate as a broker-dealer in virtual assets. 

The UAE has emerged as a preferred jurisdiction for crypto exchanges. FTX, one of Binance’s top competitors, received a virtual asset service provider (VASP) license in Dubai last month.

Illustration shows representations of cryptocurrency Bitcoin

Photo: Reuters / DADO RUVIC