One of the biggest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world, OKX, announced on Tuesday that it has received a regulatory licence in Dubai that would enable it to provide bitcoin services to retail customers.

OKX Middle East has been granted a Virtual Asset Service Provider (VASP) licence by Dubai‘s Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) to provide exchange services. When it is operational, it will allow OKX to offer institutional and qualified retail clients spot services and spot-pairs services.

The UAE is working hard to establish itself as a major global centre for the cryptocurrency sector. VARA was established in March 2022 to oversee Dubai’s developing virtual asset market.

According to Rifad Mahasneh, General Manager of OKX for the MENA area, “we are looking at this as a game changer because we are able to target both retail and institutional clients in the UAE and allow them to deposit and withdraw in their local currency.”

“We are working with VARA towards completing a few conditions before we can launch and we are working to do so over the next few weeks,” he stated.

The largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world, Binance, was recently taken down by Apple from the App Store after the Finance Ministry issued a show-cause notice to nine of these virtual digital asset (VDA) service providers for breaking money laundering regulations in their own countries. Additionally, the corporation deleted OKX and Kucoin, among other apps.

Nine offshore VDA service providers, including Binance, received show-cause notifications from the Financial Intelligence Unit of the Finance Ministry last month for conducting business in the nation in violation of money laundering regulations.

Because these cryptocurrency companies have been conducting business unlawfully in the nation, the Finance Ministry requested last month that the IT Ministry block their URLs. After being found guilty of violating anti-money laundering regulations, Binance is currently the subject of an investigation in the US.

“The apps of several offshore VDA exchanges have started getting blocked on app stores,” stated Ashish Singhal, co-founder and group CEO of PeepalCo, in reference to the elimination of offshore exchanges. It appears that the proposed action regarding offshore VASPs and the show cause notice issued by the Financial Intelligence Unit – India (FIU-IND) on December 28, 2023, are now in force.”