Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange, said it had gained a license to operate in Dubai, only days after it secured the first global crypto asset provider license in Bahrain.

World no.3 crypto exchange FTX was the first crypto exchange to secure a license in Dubai, earlier this week. Both exchanges will now operate their regional businesses from the port city.

Binance had said in December it was cooperating with the Dubai World Trade Centre Authority to set up a blockchain hub in the city. Today’s license is likely further progress to that end.

The move comes on the back of growing crypto interest in the Gulf. The United Arab Emirates (UAE), the economic hub of the region, has sought to become a crypto haven like Singapore by passing friendly regulation.

Earlier this month, Dubai passed its first ever law to regulate the crypto sector, and formed a regulatory body for virtual assets. Bahrain also recently introduced banking regulation for cryptocurrencies.

But while crypto regulation has made headway in the Gulf, statistically, it has lagged other regions in usage. The UAE was ranked 100 out of 157 in the global crypto adoption index compiled by blockchain research firm Chainalysis. Bahrain was ranked 143.

Global crypto adoption on the rise

The Gulf’s opening up to crypto highlights the growing popularity of the medium across the globe, especially in the wake of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Ukraine was the first country to officially solicit donations in cryptocurrencies.

Concerns over Russians using crypto to dodge economic sanctions also pushed the United States and the European Union to fast track crypto regulation.

President Joe Biden last week signed an executive order to promote the development of blockchain technology in the country. Earlier this week, a key EU crypto regulation came closer to being passed by the parliament. EU lawmakers also voted against a proposed ban on proof-of-work tokens.

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