Despite being the Gulf’s smallest country, Bahrain is one of the Middle East’s most forward-thinking innovators in the cryptocurrency space as one of the region’s first users of the technology.
Coinciding with this, Binance Holdings Ltd. has gained in-principle authorization from Bahrain’s central bank to operate as a crypto-asset service provider in the country, according to a statement from the firm.
Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, the chief executive officer of Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume, stated the company is currently working through the application process in its entirety, adding that the project will be finished “in due course.”
“The Central Bank of Bahrain has demonstrated leadership and forethought in addressing crypto as a future asset class. I am grateful for the support from the Central Bank of Bahrain and the broader Bahrani ecosystem during the process. The approval recognizes Binance’s commitment to comply fully with regulatory requirements and our broader commitment to anchor operations and activities in Bahrain.”
Bahrain is the ideal location for a regional HQ
Whatsmore, Abdulla Haji, director for licensing at the country’s central bank, stated that after Binance has completed the necessary prerequisites for formation, the licensing process would be “a matter of formalities.” During his talk, he referred to the Kingdom as “the ideal location” for the exchange to establish its regional headquarters.
Bahrain has been a pioneer in the use of digital assets; in 2019, Rain Financial Inc. became the region’s first licensed crypto-asset platform, having received authorization from the Kingdom’s central bank to begin operations in the country. This was followed by CoinMENA, which was awarded another license by Bahrain’s monetary authorities earlier this year.
Binance’s decision demonstrates the company’s heightened emphasis on the Middle East; previously, officials had met with authorities in the United Arab Emirates in recent months to discuss the possibility of establishing a headquarters in the nation. With Binance announcing last week that it has reached an agreement with the Dubai World Trade Centre Authority to collaborate on virtual asset regulation.
Elsewhere, we recently reported that Turkish regulators had fined the local Binance for allegedly failing to comply with digital currency legislation pertaining to consumer information. A fine of 8 million Turkish lira ($750,000) was levied on the exchange that operates under the name BN Teknoloji by the Financial Crimes Investigation Board (MASAK).