The Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) in Dubai has requested crypto exchange Binance and other international firms to provide additional information regarding their ownership, management, and auditing processes as part of their permit application process.
This move ensures companies comply with the “highest” regulatory standards while promoting innovation within the crypto and digital asset industry. Dubai has proactively adopted and promoted blockchain development and other related technologies.
However, the government recognizes the importance of robust regulations to safeguard investors and prevent illicit activities such as money laundering and terrorist financing. As Binance expands its operations in the Middle East, CEO, Changpeng “CZ” Zhao has established Dubai as his base.
In addition to scrutiny from VARA, Zhao has also faced regulatory pressure from US regulators. Recently, Binance has been sued by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission for allegedly violating derivatives regulations and maintaining “sham” compliance procedures. The company expressed its disappointment and surprise at the lawsuit.
Binance Has Delayed Providing The Necessary Information To VARA?
Reportedly, VARA requests this information about Binance’s ownership, board procedures, and auditing practices in detail, but the request is taking longer to fulfill. This is because Binance is one of the largest crypto exchanges in the world, and its operations are quite complex.
The exchange holds numerous companies and local entities within its corporate structure. The exchange had previously mentioned its intention to hire an auditor for its balance sheet. The decision was pushed back as the exchange faced certain challenges in finding a suitable firm to handle the responsibility.
Binance wants to offer cryptocurrency trading in Dubai through Binance FZE but has been delayed stating operational concerns. The company is working on upgrading its license to an Operational Minimal Viable Product (MVP), which will allow it to offer services to institutions and qualified investors before applying for a Full Market Product (FMP) permit.
VARA is the regulator that handles the licenses and will start issuing FMPs at the end of June. Once approved, companies can offer crypto trading to all investors. The ownership information for Binance FZE has yet to be made public.
UAE Regulators Target Unlicensed Crypto Exchanges
To improve its standing with the Financial Action Task Force and be removed from the “grey list” of jurisdictions considered inadequate in detecting illicit funds, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is taking action against unlicensed crypto exchanges.
According to several sources, regulators have reportedly targeted several over-the-counter crypto exchanges operating without licenses in Dubai. Currently, only four companies, including Binance, Komainu, Hex Trust, and Crypto.com. However, the UAE foreign ministry has not yet been informed about this.
Currently, Binance and the other three companies are only permitted to offer preparatory minimum viable product permits, which means they still need to be authorized to offer locally regulated digital-asset services in Dubai.