Binance signs Dubai deal to work on international crypto framework

The parties said they will work together to build a regulatory and legislative framework for virtual assets. PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) - Cryptocurrency exchange Binance has inked a deal with the Dubai World Trade Centre Authority to collaborate on a new international ecosystem for global virtual assets.

The parties said they will work together to build a regulatory and legislative framework for virtual assets. Dubai is aiming for crypto exchanges, blockchain and distributed ledger technology businesses, and a range of digital currencies and assets to become licensed in the city.

Under the memorandum of understanding, Binance will share its experience in collaborating with global regulators, the company said in an announcement on Tuesday (Dec 21).

The world's largest cryptocurrency exchange has been strengthening ties with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) over the past few months ahead of the agreement, The Business Times reported last week.

Chief executive and co-founder Changpeng "CZ" Zhao recently bought a home in Dubai and met key officials in the blockchain and virtual assets industry. On Twitter, he has been vocal about his fondness for the city's "pro-crypto" stance.

Binance's Singapore chief executive Richard Teng spent six years leading the Financial Services Regulatory Authority at Abu Dhabi Global Market, and is understood to have travelled to Dubai recently.

Singapore was reportedly an option for the company's global headquarters but Binance's Singapore unit has withdrawn its crypto licence application in the city-state and will shut down operations in February.

Meanwhile, Binance has been in talks with Dubai and Abu Dhabi about a potential headquarters in the Gulf Arab nation, Bloomberg reported late last week based on sources.

Dubai has been looking toward non-oil growth to drive economic sustainability. Its government on Monday said the Dubai World Trade Centre will become a comprehensive zone and regulator for virtual assets and crypto.

It aims to enforce rigorous standards for investor protection, anti-money laundering, "combating the financing of terrorism" compliance and cross-border deal flow tracing.

Mr Zhao said in a statement on Tuesday: "Today, the adoption of crypto and blockchain technology remains in its infancy, but through our leadership position and expertise, combined with the long-term vision of Dubai, we plan to develop a regulatory framework appropriate to fit the fast-moving and progressive nature of virtual assets."

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