Crypto derivatives firm Deribit moves to Dubai after winning VARA approval


Deribit, one of the world’s largest exchanges offering options and futures for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC), is relocating to Dubai after securing new local regulatory approval.

The Dubai subsidiary of Deribit group, Deribit FZE, has received a Virtual Asset Service Provider (VASP) license from Dubai’s Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA), Deribit announced on April 2.

The new license allows Deribit to offer crypto trading services in Dubai, covering both spot and crypto derivatives trading, such as futures and options.

Deribit’s VASP license will remain non-operational until the company fully satisfies all remaining conditions and selects localization requirements defined by VARA.

According to the announcement, the exchange will soon share launch plans, terms and the exact timing to start operating under the new licensed entity.

Once operational, Deribit will serve institutional and qualified investors in Dubai. The exchange will also continue to serve its retail clients from its broker affiliate in Panama, which is a member of Deribit FZE in Dubai, until further notice.

In addition to winning the license, Deribit will be relocating its global headquarters from Panama to Dubai, appointing its former chief commercial officer Luuk Strijers as the new CEO.

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According to Deribit co-founder John Jansen, the obtaining of the conditional VASP license from VARA is “not just a regulatory milestone” but rather a sign of the company’s commitment to providing a secure and transparent platform.

“As we anchor our operations in Dubai, we’re not only extending our reach but also reaffirming our resolve to remain the platform of choice for trading,” Jansen noted.

Cointelegraph approached Deribit for a comment regarding the VARA license but did not receive a response at the time of publication.

Deribit is a major cryptocurrency exchange that is focused on derivatives trading. The exchange was founded in 2016 and has emerged as one of the largest crypto derivatives platforms alongside giants like Binance and Bybit.

As of April 2, Deribit is ranked the fifth-largest derivatives exchange, with $1.9 billion traded daily, according to CoinMarketCap.

Top 10 largest crypto derivatives exchanges. Source: CoinMarketCap

Established in March 2022, VARA is the primary regulator of crypto-related activity in all zones across the Emirate of Dubai, including Special Development Zones and Free Zones but excluding the Dubai International Financial Centre.

Since launching the regulatory framework, VARA has issued multiple crypto trading licenses to companies like Binance and OKX.

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