CoinMENA, the Bahrain-based cryptocurrency exchange, has been granted a Virtual Asset Service Provider (VASP) license by Dubai’s Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA). This license empowers CoinMENA’s Dubai subsidiary, CoinMENA FZE, to operate and offer services within and from the emirate.
Regulatory Milestone for CoinMENA
CoinMENA’s VASP license, obtained a year after securing a provisional license, authorizes the platform to provide virtual asset broker-dealer services. The announcement shared highlighted the regulatory clarity achieved through VARA, positioning Dubai as a rising global hub for crypto and digital asset financial services.
A notable aspect of the license is its provision for CoinMENA to cater to retail and institutional customers in the United Arab Emirates. This includes the facilitation of deposits and withdrawals in UAE dirhams, streamlining trades by eliminating foreign exchange factors.
Co-founders Emphasize Regulatory Collaboration
CoinMENA’s co-founders, Dina Sam’an and Talal Tabbaa, emphasized the importance of building “strong relationships” with local regulators. They praised Dubai’s position at the forefront of crypto growth and innovation, citing various initiatives promoting digital asset adoption in the region. Tabbaa stated,
“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.”
Strategic Partnerships and Ongoing Commitments
The exchange disclosed existing partnerships, including collaboration with the digital banking platform Zand. Notably, CoinMENA has been a regulated entity under the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) since 2021, holding a category-3 crypto asset service provider license. This license enables the provision of services across the Gulf Cooperation Council member countries.
Impact on User Base and Competitive Landscape
Responding to inquiries, a CoinMENA spokesperson clarified that the new license primarily affects users based in the UAE. The Bahrain entity will continue serving the remaining customer base. CoinMENA now joins a growing list of active VASP licensees, indicating a competitive landscape that is expected to intensify further. The spokesperson remarked,
“We are under no illusions that Dubai aims to become a global crypto hub, and as such, we expect many global players to come in.”