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The Middle Eastern crypto exchange Rain, backed by Coinbase, announced that its Abu Dhabi unit secured a license to offer crypto brokerage and custody services in the UAE.
According to reports by Reuters, Rain, a Middle Eastern crypto exchange based in Bahrain, and backed by Coinbase, announced today its Abu Dhabi unit secured a “license to operate a virtual assets brokerage and custody service for clients in the United Arab Emirates.”
Rain Expands Offerings into UAE
Obtaining the license means that Rain’s unit based in the Abu Dhabi Global Market financial free zone may now offer institutional and a limited number of retail clients in the UAE services to buy, sell, and store their virtual assets.
Yehia Badawy, Rain’s co-founder, said in an interview with Reuters that the license further allows the exchange to open a bank account in the UAE and permits its clients in the region to fund their own accounts provided they use a local payment network.
Badawy noted that local asset managers have been reluctant to work with crypto firms who do not have domestic operating licenses but said they would now confidently deal with such firms. He further stated:
“We can capture more demand from institutional investors using this licence.”
Badawy founded Rain with three partners in 2017 with the backing and support of venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins and Coinbase Ventures.
Rain has seen significant growth after it raised $110 million in a Series B funding round in 2022, placing the firm’s value at $500 million. The firm indicated that the funds were earmarked for regional expansion.
Growing Number of Crypto Firms Attracted to UAE
The current crisis and regulatory uncertainty in the US prompted many crypto-related firms to explore other regions to expand to, and the UAE appears to be a popular option.
Binance recently said it was considering a move to Dubai due to the UAE’s pro-crypto stance and policies. Alex Chehade, Binance Dubai’s General Manager, said the region is a prime destination for crypto businesses.
The US-based crypto exchange Gemini also said it would “soon” start the process of obtaining a crypto service license for customers in the UAE. Gemini cited “hostility and [a] lack of clarity” on US regulations as motivation for its decision.
Coinbase also believes that the UAE is an attractive region for establishing its business amid ongoing difficulties with US regulators. The exchange expressed its interest in establishing an international hub in the UAE with its CEO Brian Armstrong, who believes that the country is well positioned to expand and serve the market in Africa, Asia, and, naturally, the Middle East. Armstrong also praised the country for its “forward-thinking” approach to crypto regulation.
Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.