Binance plans first crypto license in Middle East, Bahrain

The news follows the departure of the director of the MENA scholarship, Omar Rahim.

The Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB), the country’s financial watchdog, has granted approval in principle to Binance to launch an operation as a provider of crypto-asset services to the Kingdom of Bahrain.

Binance had applied for a license from the central bank as part of its plan to become a fully regulated centralized cryptocurrency exchange.

Binance becomes compliant in the MENA region

If the Central Bank of Bahrain confirms its decision to approve Binance, the CBB will be the first regulator in the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region to authorize a Binance entity.

The regulatory license process is not yet complete. Binance is required to complete the full application, which should be completed on time.

The news follows the departure of the director of the MENA scholarship, Omar Rahim. He joined Binance in June 2020 as the exchange grew in the region to fill a gap in the region’s digital asset market by making it easier to access its services and infrastructure.

Binance’s MENA operation is escalating. In October, the cryptocurrency exchange appointed Mark McGinness, a former DFSA executive, as its senior regulatory liaison. The appointment comes amid efforts to raise regulatory red flags and reinvent itself as a regulated financial company.

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Regulatory hurdles continue for Binance

While Bahrain’s central bank approval in principle is certainly a positive sign for the world’s largest crypto exchange, the company continues to face significant crackdown and fines for operating without authorization.

Turkey was the latest country to fine Binance. According to the Anadolu news agency, the local unit of the cryptocurrency exchange Binance was fined 8 million lire ($ 751,314) for violations found during liability inspections.

This was the first such fine imposed by Turkey’s Financial Crime Investigation Council (MASAK). The financial watchdog became the authority overseeing crypto asset service providers in May.

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