Bahrain's CoinMena receives provisional licence to operate in Dubai

Platform lets users buy, sell, store and receive digital assets, as well as deposit and withdraw in their local currency

FILE PHOTO: Representations of the Ripple, Bitcoin, Etherum and Litecoin virtual currencies are seen on a PC motherboard in this illustration picture, February 14, 2018. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo
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CoinMena, the Sharia-compliant crypto assets trading platform, has secured a provisional virtual assets licence to operate in Dubai.

The digital assets exchange company, which is licensed and regulated by the Central Bank of Bahrain, has obtained the provisional licence from Dubai’s Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (Vara).

The move will allow CoinMena to continue its operations in Dubai while it undertakes the in-depth process of applying for a licence, in accordance with official requirements, the company said in a statement on Thursday.

“We are pleased to welcome CoinMena to the growing virtual asset ecosystem in Dubai. Vara is committed to supporting leading regional enterprises dedicated to building strong foundations for this future economy,” said Helal Almarri, director general of the Dubai World Trade Centre Authority, which houses Vara.

“We appreciate the knowledge and experience that CoinMena brings as a platform focused on the Mena [Middle East and North Africa] region and look forward to their active participation as Vara builds a best-in-class virtual assets regulatory environment in the UAE, for the world.”

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.

In March, Dubai adopted the first law in the emirate that regulates virtual assets. In the same month, the Dubai Financial Services Authority, the regulator of the emirate’s financial hub, published its regulatory framework overseeing crypto tokens, or cryptocurrencies, for public consultation.

The Middle East is one of the fastest-growing crypto markets in the world. It received $271.7 billion worth of cryptocurrency between July 2020 and June 2021, which represents 6.6 per cent of global activity, Chainalysis data show.

Founded in 2019, Manama-based CoinMena secured a licence to operate from Bahrain's central bank in January last year. It lets users buy, sell, store and receive digital assets securely, as well as deposit and withdraw in their local currency.

Updated: June 16, 2022, 3:11 PM