DUBAI: Binance Holdings, the largest crypto exchange by trading volume, will offer its products to top institutions and accredited investors in the first phase of its operation in Dubai, the regional head of MENA, Richard Teng, told Arab News.
“We want to become the platform that builds tools to bring about faster crypto adoption and improve freedom of money in the region,” said Teng while adding that the company plans to serve a larger clientele by offering more products.
The prospects seem brighter with the crypto exchange last week receiving its official license from Dubai’s Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority. The company can now operate and expand in the region under the emirate’s ‘test-adapt-scale’ model for digital asset markets.
“It is an extremely innovative approach from the Dubai government. It recognizes that crypto is quite different from securities, digital tokens, and commodities and proposes a dedicated framework that can serve different parts of the value chain, manage risks and support innovation,” he added.
Teng’s beaming confidence is not based on his hardwired optimism. He has spent 20 years in the regulatory space and understands the region well. He was the CEO of Abu Dhabi Global Market for six years before taking over the mantle of the regional head of one of the world’s largest crypto platforms.
“Working with the Dubai government you realize how well the country supports innovation, crypto adoption, and blockchain development, which is helpful since these factors will become the pillars of several segments of the economy in the future,” said Teng.
Cryptocurrencies have been in the news recently for their unprecedented role in the Russia-Ukraine war. The Ukrainian government raised millions of dollars to fund its fight against the invasion, turning the spotlight on the tokens. As long you had Internet and a computing device, you could transact.
“Cryptocurrencies will be the future of finance and financial services. They are playing an important role in cross-border payments,” said Teng while adding that it currently poses a considerable challenge because the fees for making payments across borders are incredibly high.
We want to become the platform that builds tools to bring about faster crypto adoption and improve freedom of money in the region
Richard Teng, head of Middle East, Binance
However, Binance is working toward a crypto-friendly ecosystem that is inclusive, transparent and secure. Last December, the company signed a partnership deal with Dubai World Trade Center Authority to help it set up and regulate an international virtual asset ecosystem, making an excellent case for a public-private partnership in the digital space. It is also hiring 100 positions in the UAE to keep up the momentum in the region.
“We are working closely with institutions to make sure the next generation is ready for crypto, blockchain and tokenomics,” he said. The company will soon be introducing training programs in the region on the markets and how to trade responsibly.
Also, as part of its effort to instill faith in the currency, Binance runs an emergency insurance fund that protects customers, called Secure Asset Fund for Users, or SAFU. Launched in 2018, the fund now stands at over $1 billion. If any user suffers a loss due to illegal activity such as hacking, the company compensates for the loss.
Yet, there is a fair amount of skepticism among potential investors about the concept of a decentralized world of finance and its high volatility. It’s a matter of time when mature businesses and nations embrace the innate strengths of the crypto business and profit from it.