BitOasis, one of the earliest cryptocurrency exchanges to set up in the UAE, said it has applied for a new licence from the Dubai Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (Vara).
It said it received provisional approval to operate in the emirate as it undertakes an in-depth process of applying for a licence in accordance with the requirements set by Vara, the company said in a statement on Wednesday.
Dubai-based BitOasis has so far carried out cryptocurrency trades in excess of a total of $4 billion.
“We will continue to strive to offer our customers the most customised platform for their local needs in accordance with regulations that will best protect them both now and as the industry evolves,” Ola Doudin, co-founder and chief executive of BitOasis, said.
This month, Dubai became the first in the region to adopt a law to regulate virtual assets in an effort to provide investors a safe environment while embracing emerging technologies as interest in them grows.
Vara serves as the single custodial entity mandated to licence and govern the burgeoning cryptocurrency sector in Dubai, including all mainland and free zones, excluding the autonomous Financial Free Zone at the Dubai International Financial Centre.
Cryptocurrency exchange Bybit also said on Monday it received approval to conduct virtual assets business in Dubai and plans to set up its global headquarters in the emirate.
Singapore-based cryptocurrency exchange crypto.com also said it will establish its regional hub in Dubai.
Dubai's Vara stressed that the new regulations are meant to support UAE home-grown enterprises, said Helal Saeed Almarri, director general of the Dubai World Trade Centre Authority that houses the regulating authority.
“Building strong foundations for the global future economy, Vara is pleased to facilitate the onboarding of BitOasis into our ecosystem. We value the new sector-knowledge and experience-driven learning that BitOasis brings as a platform that has been built in and from Dubai and scaled successfully across the region.”
“Even as BitOasis works through their specialised Vara licensing, we want to ensure they are able to continue to credibly service their existing business, in so far as they are appropriately licensed by the relevant UAE authorities.”
BitOasis offers two services, according to its website. Its Core platform allows users to buy, sell and trade in more than 20 cryptocurrencies with zero per cent fees.
Its higher-end Pro service lets users trade more than 40 cryptocurrencies in fiat pairs in real time with sophisticated trading charts and order types. Both can be managed and tracked on the go.
The company was founded in 2015 and has about 60 employees based across its network of offices in Abu Dhabi, Amman, Istanbul, and Riyadh.
BitOasis operates a virtual asset platform focused on the GCC and Mena regions, serving English and Arabic-speaking audiences.