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Binance pulls out of licence application in Abu Dhabi

binance abu dhabi Reuters/Benoit Tessier
Binance's former CEO Changpeng Zhao pleaded guilty to criminal charges and stepped down on November 21
  • Decided it was ‘not necessary’
  • Follows CEO stepping down
  • Still applying for licence in Dubai

Global cryptocurrency exchange Binance has withdrawn its licence application from Abu Dhabi Global Market, the main regulator in the UAE capital, but still wants to join an international exchange in Dubai.

The troubled crypto operator withdrew its application on November 7, according to the regulator’s website.

“While assessing our global licensing needs, we decided this application was not necessary,” a Binance spokesperson told Reuters.

Binance applied for the licence a year ago with the Financial Service Regulatory Authority of Abu Dhabi Global Market, under its BV Investment Management unit. 

Its spokesperson said the application withdrawal was unrelated to the firm’s recent settlement with the US government over allegations of breaking anti-money laundering rules.

Former Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao pleaded guilty to criminal charges and stepped down on November 21.

Anton Golub, the Dubai-based founder of blockchain company SwissAssetDAO, told AGBI last month that the US settlement will not “will not result in big changes for how Binance operates” in the UAE, especially because it is applying for a licence with the Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority, the Dubai regulator.

Binance has recently withdrawn applications in Germany, pulled back from Cyprus, departed the Netherlands, and ceased operations in Belgium, adhering to regulatory directives.

Despite being a major global platform for digital asset trading, Binance’s market dominance has diminished. Spot trading volumes dropped from 55 percent to 32 percent in November 2023, according to CCData. Its derivatives market share has declined from over 60 percent to 48 percent.

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