’s Dubai-based entity, CRO DAX Middle East FZE, has secured full operational approval from Dubai’s Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA), making it the first crypto exchange to be allowed to operate with fiat currency in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). 

According to the April 9 announcement, the operational approval granted by VARA follows’s successful fulfillment of pre-operational conditions outlined in the virtual asset service provider license awarded to CRO DAX Middle East FZE in November 2023. said its next step is to introduce its exchange for institutional investors. It will cater to institutional clients and qualified retail investors with services including spot trading, staking brokerage and over-the-counter (OTC) offerings around settlements for selected markets.

Eric Anziani, president and chief operating officer at, told Cointelegraph:

“Being the first global crypto operator operational with fiat in the UAE is a significant milestone and reflects our dedication to working closely with regulators to advance the industry responsibly.”

He also said that launching its institutional services exchange will be “fundamental” to the company’s continued growth in the region.

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Stuart Isted, general manager of’s Middle East and Africa branch, echoed Anziani’s sentiments, emphasizing the company’s dedication to collaborating with VARA to advance the crypto industry “responsibly.” was founded in Hong Kong in 2016 and operates out of Singapore. However, it has been expanding its global reach over the past year. 

In February, Anziani spoke with Cointelegraph about how Europe’s implementation of the Markets in Crypto-Assets Regulation (MiCA) could expedite the expansion efforts of major cryptocurrency exchanges across Europe. The legislation comes into effect this year.

Later that month, it was announced that paired up with Latin America’s biggest investment bank to promote BTG Pactual’s BTG Dol stablecoin by pairing it with digital assets like Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) on its trading platform.

On April 2, it announced that it would launch its cryptocurrency trading app to South Korean retail investors on April 29.

The exchange has also faced scrutiny from regulators after the Dutch central bank revealed that it fined for registration violations. The exchange filed an objection to the fine but went on to register and continue operating in The Netherlands.

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