FTX Looks to Onboard Institutional Investors in UAE

FTX aims to attract institutional investors in UAE into its platform after being regulated by VARA.

ftx boarding dubai uae travel
  • After being approved by the Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA), FTX is targeting institutional investors in the UAE.
  • The exchange plans to expand its reach across the entire Middle East region.
  • The firm intends to provide substantial services to retail clients as well as institutional investors.

FTX is aiming to attract institutional investors in the UAE after being licensed by the Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA) to operate in the region, according to Dubai media outlet Khaleej Times. On October 17th, CEO of FTX Sam Bankman-Fried expressed his excitement about the approval and the company’s upcoming moves to expand the exchange’s presence in Dubai.

Reportedly, FTX gained approval from the Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) in July, becoming the first digital asset service provider to gain a ‘Minimum Viable Product’ (MVP) license in the region. Looking to capitalize, FTX is taking the front foot in its expansion strategy.

Attention on Institutional Investors

Following its approval, the cryptocurrency exchange intends to prioritize bringing institutional investors aboard. The move represents the first step in FTX’s takeoff plan in the United Arab Emirates.


It seems that the cryptocurrency exchange isn’t content to limit its expansion to the UAE, however, with FTX reportedly seeking to extend its reach across the entirety of the Middle East.

Echoing this strategy, Chairperson for FTX MENA Mohammad Hans Dastmaltchi shed more light on the development plans.

"As soon as we announced we are regulated and are opening an office in UAE, we were contacted by big institutional organisations in the Emirates from across a wide range of industries, such as airline, hospitality, finance, and real estate, among many others," Dastmaltchi explained.

Dastmaltchi believes Dubai and the UAE have done an “impressive job” of establishing a regulatory framework, and considers Dubai to be the world’s fastest-growing market.


He claimed that FTX and UAE are popular among institutional investors and professional traders, remarking that this popularity made it easier for FTX to communicate with investors.

In relation to this, the cryptocurrency exchange does not intend to limit its regional operations to institutional investors alone, and the firm reportedly plans to extend a substantial portion of its services to the retail sector.

"Our license expands to retail customers as well. However, it will be a gradual scale-up to ensure that we approach the retail market within the guidelines set by the Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (Dubai's sector regulator)," Balsam Danhach, Chief Executive Officer of FTX Middle East and North Africa revealed.

The Middle East and UAE Are Fast Becoming Crypto Hot Spots

Lately, the reputation of the Middle East as an ideal destination for virtual assets investment has seen significant growth. A Chainalysis report reveals that crypto trade volume in the Middle East registered at $271.7 billion worth of cryptocurrency between July 2020 and June 2021, representing 6.6% of global activity.

To some extent, the growth of cryptocurrency in the region has played a part in attracting cryptocurrency organizations looking to extend their services to Dubai, with OKX, Blockhain.com, Binance, and FTX among them. Meanwhile, FTX itself has grown in size and stature, gaining approval to operate in regions like the Bahamas, Australia, Cyprus, Switzerland, Japan, and Singapore.

On the Flipside

  • While FTX has been expanding into new regions, its operations on home soil have stalled, as state authorities in Texas investigate whether FTX is in compliance with securities laws.

Why You Should Care

As exchanges like FTX continue to expand globally, more people will be exposed to cryptocurrency, which is still a new concept for many.

The recent move could also serve to increase employment opportunities in the Middle East.


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This article is for information purposes only and should not be considered trading or investment advice. Nothing herein shall be construed as financial, legal, or tax advice. Trading forex, cryptocurrencies, and CFDs pose a considerable risk of loss.

Soumen Datta

Soumen has been a dedicated researcher and writer in the field of cryptocurrencies for the last few years. Even though Indian crypto regulations are still unclear, he believes that India will continue to innovate in the years to come. He loves to play his guitar and sing along in his spare time. He holds bags mostly in BTC, ETH, BNB, MATIC, ADA.