Binance’s efforts to become fully regulated may soon be rewarded after the firm received in-principle approval from the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) to run operations in the Kingdom of Bahrain.

In an announcement on Monday, Binance said that CBB is “the first regulator in the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region to grant an in-principle approval to a Binance entity.”

The “in-principle approval” from CBB means that the exchange is still required to go through the full application process.

Abdulla Haji, CBB’s director for licensing, confirmed the move telling Bloomberg that once Binance completes the establishment requirements, licensing is “a matter of formalities.”


According to Haji, the Kingdom of Bahrain is “the perfect place” for Binance to set up its headquarters in the MENA region.

"Recognition and approval from national regulators, such as the Central Bank of Bahrain, is essential to build trust in crypto and blockchain and help further improve mass adoption,” said Changpeng Zhao, founder and CEO of Binance.

Rain Financial, a cryptocurrency exchange backed by BitMEX among other investors, became the first licensed digital asset services provider in Bahrain after securing CBB’s approval in 2019.


The announcement also comes amid Binance’s shift away from a decentralized corporate structure to one with operations centered in one jurisdiction.

Following today’s announcement, and a recent agreement in Dubai, the Gulf region is now looking like a top destination.

Last week, Binance signed a memorandum of understanding with the Dubai World Trade Centre Authority (DWTCA) with the aim of establishing a digital assets industry hub.

Binance’s regulatory hurdles

It has been a challenging year for Binance and its entities as regulators in the UK, the Netherlands, Japan, Italy, and several other countries across the globe issued warnings of the exchange’s unlicensed operations.

Some jurisdictions even launched enforcement action against Binance for illegal activities.

Most recently, Turkey's Financial Crimes Investigation Board (MASAK) fined Binance’s local entity nearly $750,000 over allegedly violating anti-money laundering rules.

Earlier this month, the exchange withdrew its application for a license in Singapore, stating it will now refocus its operations in the city-state into a “blockchain innovation hub.”

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