Cryptocurrency exchange Binance has opted to withdraw its license application in Abu Dhabi, citing a reassessment of its global licensing requirements. The move, as stated by a Binance spokesperson, aligns with the exchange’s strategy to ensure regulatory compliance while streamlining operations to meet evolving global needs. Although Binance (AD) Ltd. had previously obtained conditional financial services permission from Abu Dhabi’s Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) for crypto custody services, the decision to withdraw the application reflects the exchange’s focused approach.
Binance clarified that the withdrawal from Abu Dhabi is unrelated to the recent $4.3 billion settlement and CEO Changpeng Zhao’s resignation over U.S. anti-money laundering law violations. Zhao, a UAE citizen, resigned as part of the settlement, but the Abu Dhabi decision is stated to be an independent strategic move.
This year has witnessed Binance withdrawing from licensing processes in Germany and Cyprus, alongside exiting the Netherlands. The exit from Cyprus was characterized as a strategic realignment to concentrate on fewer regulated entities in the EU, with emphasis on France, Italy, and Spain, in anticipation of the European Union’s forthcoming crypto asset regulations. Regulatory challenges have led to Binance discontinuing operations in Belgium, canceling its U.K. regulatory authorization, and initiating the divestment of its Russian business. In Australia, regulators revoked the financial services license for Binance’s derivatives business, and in the Philippines, the securities regulator initiated steps to block Binance.
Despite the regulatory landscape shifts, the Binance spokesperson emphasized the exchange’s commitment to collaborating with regulators globally, reiterating its goal to provide world-class services and offerings, particularly in the Middle East and beyond.