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The world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange gets initial approval to operate in Bahrain

Cryptocurrency trading platform Binance has received initial approval from the Central Bank of Bahrain to be a crypto-asset service provider in the Kingdom, according to a statement issued by the company.

Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume, still needs to complete the application process, CEO Changpeng Zhao wrote in an email to Bloomberg.

This will be completed “in due course,” he said.

If successful, this will mark Binance’s first regulatory approval in the MENA region. The exchange is trying to expand its regional presence, particularly in the Gulf, where executives are preparing for a potential headquarters.

Abdullah Haji, director of licensing at the Central Bank of Bahrain, said the licensing is “a matter of formalities once Binance completes the incorporation requirements.” He described the Kingdom as “the ideal location for the stock exchange to set up its headquarters in the region.”

Bahrain, the smallest economy in the Gulf, is one of the first countries to adopt digital assets in the Middle East. Rain Financial became the first licensed crypto asset platform in the region when it received approval from the Central Bank of Bahrain to operate in 2019.

Earlier this year, the Monetary Authority of Bahrain granted another license to Manama-based CoinMENA.

Binance’s move underscores its increasing focus on the Middle East. Bloomberg previously reported that in recent months, company executives Conversations with organizers in the UAE About a possible headquarters in the state.

Last week, Binance struck a deal with the Dubai World Trade Center Authority to cooperate in regulating virtual assets.

Binance Holdings was founded in China in 2017, and has not established a global base yet. Instead, Zhao has set up companies in locations where the platform operates.

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