Cryptocurrency exchange Kraken latest to set up shop in Abu Dhabi(Cryptocurrency:BTC-USD)

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Cryptocurrency exchange Kraken on Monday has gotten a Financial Services Permission license to operate its trading platform in Abu Dhabi, the company told CNBC. The company will also set up its regional headquarters in the crypto-friendly region.

After gaining approval from the Abu Dhabi Global Market agency, Kraken’s virtual asset platform will offer “Dirham pairs for investors in the region,” Curtis Ting, Kraken’s managing director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, told CNBC.

Specifically, Kraken, which has more than 8M users globally, will provide direct funding and trading in UAE dirhams against bitcoin (BTC-USD), Ethereum (ETH-USD) and other cryptos. “For us, it’s really important to facilitate access to global markets and global liquidity by making sure that investors and traders in the region have access to local currencies,” Ting told CNBC.

The move comes after its rival FTX had received a license in mid-March to operate its trading platform in Dubai, one of the largest crypto markets in the world. “It’s frankly amazing some of the talent the UAE has attracted in the last 12 to 24 months during COVID,” Ronit Ghose, global head of fintech and digital at Citi, told CNBC. “Is it really beginning to establish itself as both a crypto hub and a Web3 hub,” he added.

Looking at crypto prices, bitcoin (BTC-USD -2.3%) is sliding to $38.7K Monday morning amid a broader risk-off day, and ether (ETH-USD -3.0%) is dipping to $2.86K.

In February, the UAE said it will issue national crypto licensing and develop a mining ecosystem in an effort to lure some of the largest digital asset providers.