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New Binance CEO Richard Teng Pulls Out of UAE Despite Working as a Regulator in Abu Dhabi

Last Updated December 8, 2023 3:24 PM
James Morales
Last Updated December 8, 2023 3:24 PM

Key Takeaways

  • Binance has withdrawn an application for a financial services permit in Abu Dhabi.
  • The firm claims the application was no longer necessary.
  • It is unclear whether the move signals a retreat from the emirate.

Home to one of Binance’s largest global offices in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates is an important market for the crypto exchange. In July Binance became the first exchange to receive a crypto broker license from Dubai’s Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA). Moreover, the firm recently employed former Abu Dhabi regulator Richard Teng as its new CEO. 

Given Teng’s previous role heading up Abu Dhabi’s Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA), it is all the more surprising that Binance recently pulled  its application for a financial services permit in the emirate.

Binance Abandons Abu Dhabi License Application

Initially filed in November 2022, had it been approved, the now-withdrawn application would have granted Binance permission to manage a collective investment fund in the Abu Dhabi General Market (ADGM).

Commenting on the move, a Binance spokesperson said that after assessing the firm’s global licensing needs, “We decided this application was not necessary.”

In other words, Binance appears to have deemed the additional ADGM registration to be superfluous to its needs. 

The firm is already licensed to offer crypto exchange and custody services in the UAE through its MVP license in the Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC). Meanwhile, it has permission from the FSRA to offer crypto custody services to businesses and investors in Abu Dhabi.

Doubling Down On Dubai

While the additional ADGM permit might have made it easier for Binance to serve its clients in the emirate, the decision to withdraw its application suggests the firm is concentrating its UAE license base in Dubai.

With over 500 staff working from its DIFC office, Dubai is already Binance’s operational nerve in the UAE and wider Gulf region. Former CEO Changpeng Zhao (CZ) has often used the city as his home base, and in the past, even floated Dubai as a potential candidate for the company’s global headquarters.

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