Crypto exchange Binance has announced that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Dubai World Trade Centre Authority (DWTCA) with the aim of establishing an industry hub in Dubai. 

“With the MoU, Binance will help advance Dubai’s commitment to establishing a new international Virtual Asset ecosystem that will generate long-term economic growth through digital innovation,” the exchange said in a prepared statement. 

It added that the primary goal was to help various crypto and blockchain-related business “to become licensed in Dubai.”

It is important to note, however, that this MoU is not a license for Binance to operate in Dubai. In contrast to a license, MoUs are agreements between parties that are seen as the starting point for negotiations. 


They are not legally binding, but rather simply signal that the relevant parties have reached an initial agreement and the foundation has been laid for both to move forward. 

When it comes to licenses, the exchange’s quest is ongoing. 

Where is Binance looking to be licensed? 

Binance has had a difficult time satisfying regulators around the world. 

Regulators in Holland and Japan issued consumer warnings about the exchange this year. The Cayman Islands and Italy both announced Binance is not licensed to do business in their respective jurisdictions as well. 


The exchange faced enforcement action in Malaysia after regulators said the exchange was operating illegally in the country. 

In the United Kingdom, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) issued a consumer warning against Binance Markets Limited—Binance’s UK entity—in the summer. Later, the FCA said the firm was “incapable” of being regulated after it failed to provide basic information to the regulator. 

Recently, Binance withdrew its application for a license in Singapore, where CEO Changpeng Zhao (CZ) lives. 

Since this string of regulatory shortcomings, Binance has renewed efforts to gain a license elsewhere. The exchange has said it is trying for an FCA license again—with no success yet.

We have asked Binance where exactly they are pursuing licenses, but to date, the exchange has not responded to Decrypt’s requests.

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