The major cryptocurrency exchange Binance has withdrawn its application for certain operations in Abu Dhabi. This decision comes as a result of a request from the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), the regulatory body responsible for overseeing these operations. The request, which came into effect on November 15, 2022, was officially withdrawn by Binance on November 7, 2023.
Binance had initially received permission from ADGM to manage a collective investment fund, which involves pooling assets from multiple clients or sources. However, there were certain conditions that needed to be met before the service could be offered. ADGM’s conditions specifically stated that Binance should not hold or control client assets or engage with retail clients. Binance was also granted permission to offer custody services, a filing that has not been withdrawn as of November 15, 2022. Similar to the previous application, Binance is prohibited from serving retail clients based on the conditions set by ADGM.
It is worth noting that Binance appeared to have a strong presence in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, with an emphasis on Abu Dhabi. In April 2022, the company received preliminary approval to operate as a full broker-dealer in Abu Dhabi. This move was accompanied by Binance’s efforts to hire over 100 positions in the area, indicating their intention to expand operations in this market. However, with the withdrawal of the application, it seems that Binance has shifted its focus away from Abu Dhabi.
A spokesperson from Binance provided a statement to CryptoSlate regarding the withdrawal of the application. The statement mentioned that upon evaluating their global licensing needs, Binance concluded that the application for operations in Abu Dhabi was no longer necessary. The spokesperson praised Abu Dhabi as a leader in the virtual and digital assets ecosystem, highlighting its commitment to innovation and responsible growth. Additionally, Binance expressed its dedication to working with regulators in the Middle East and other regions. However, there was no clarification as to whether retail services are currently or will be available in Abu Dhabi.
Contrary to speculations, Binance’s decision to withdraw the application in Abu Dhabi is not related to a recent investigation settlement with various U.S. agencies. This settlement coincided with the resignation of Binance’s former CEO, Changpeng Zhao. A spokesperson from Binance clarified that the withdrawal of the application was made by BV Investment Management, a unit within Binance, which was also confirmed on the company’s website.
The withdrawal of the application for operations in Abu Dhabi by Binance showcases the changing regulatory landscape surrounding cryptocurrency exchanges. While Binance initially had aspirations to expand its presence in Abu Dhabi and the MENA region, it has now shifted its focus elsewhere. The statement from Binance emphasizes the company’s commitment to working with regulators and highlights the innovative environment in Abu Dhabi. However, it remains uncertain whether Binance will provide retail services in Abu Dhabi in the future.