The Middle Eastern branch of OKX, which is the second largest cryptocurrency exchange in terms of trading volume, received an MVP Preparatory License from the Dubai Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority. This will allow it to prepare for the day when the license will be operational.

OKX Middle East is already based in the Dubai World Trade Center and plans to increase its staffing to 30 people, with an emphasis on local hires.

The company stated in a release that once the Minimal Viable Product license (MVP) becomes fully operational, OKX Middle East would provide spot, derivatives, and fiat services. This includes U.S. Dollar and United Arab Emirates Dirham (AED), deposits, withdrawals, and spot-pairs.

Tim Byun said in an exclusive interview that “Dubai is very important to us and it serves as our regional hub (for the Middle East and North Africa) and UAE.” “[Dubai] probably has the most comprehensive and current regulation to date. VARA is the only responsible and dedicated regulator. We think this is a big plus.

Coinbase, for example, is looking to Bermuda as a base. Binance also praised Dubai in a recent interview with CoinDesk. Binance, on the other hand, praised Dubai in a recent interview with CoinDesk as a possible base.

Binance and OKX have both sided with Dubai while shuttering their operations in Canada . Byun stated that OKX is still committed to Canada and Ontario Securities Commission.

He said, “We will not leave Canada.” He said, “We’re progressing in our application to become a broker-dealer with the OSC.” Although it is a “long road,” the exchange plans to return as soon as they can.

Byun explained that his company, OKX, based in Seychelles, expanded into the U.S. very early with a separate brand, OKCoin.

Byun stated that “for OKX, we’ve always blocked U.S. clients and we are therefore not active in the U.S.” We will decide when and how to enter the U.S. market in a compliant and appropriate manner. We believe that there are many opportunities outside the U.S. This is why we love Dubai, the Bahamas, Gibraltar, France and the EU as they release the Markets for Crypto Assets legislation in 2024.

Byun replied: “I cannot speak of any specific, plausible or future action.”

Sheldon Reback is the editor.