Major crypto exchange FTX has announced it has gone live as the first institution of this type which secured a full license to operate in the United Arab Emirates (UAE)."As the first licensed crypto exchange in the UAE, we're super excited to expand our operations and grow FTX's presence in the region," the business said in a tweet. The exchange will operate in the region under the name of FTX MENA FZE. The entity also said that, during its minimum viable product (MVP) phase, its "services are only available to qualified retail investors, accredited investors and institutions"."This enables us to deploy regulated crypto derivatives products and trading services to qualified institutional investors across the region," according to the company. In September 2022, rival major exchange Binance announced it received the Minimal Viable Product (MVP) license from Dubai’s Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA) after securing a provisional license last March. "Committed to strong investor and market protection principles, Binance will cater to a clientele approved by VARA who can now benefit from the local banking channels unlocked by this first-of-its-kind regulatory license. Users will benefit from increased levels of consumer protection by trading on a regulated platform under the supervision of VARA in Dubai,” Binance said in its statement. The latest developments come as the UAE’s authorities are advancing work on introducing the nation’s central bank digital currency (CBDC). In late October 2021, the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates (CBUAE) announced it had finalized mBridge, the world's largest pilot of CBDC transactions in cooperation with the Digital Currency Institute of the People's Bank of China, its Chinese counterpart. Other partners included the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, the Bank of Thailand, and the Bank for International Settlements, the central bank said in a statement. "This project – the first pilot use of wholesale CBDCs in the MENA region – reflects the CBUAE’s drive to create world-class financial infrastructure and innovative payment systems, which comes in line with UAE leadership’s directives to support the UAE’s economic competitiveness and empower the diversity and growth of the nation’s financial sector," according to the CBUAE.It is noteworthy the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is the globe’s fastest-growing market, and the UAE is the third-largest crypto market in all of the region, found a recent report published by blockchain analysis company Chainalysis.
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